The more you hide, the less you’re seen, the less likely it is for you to shine when it’s your time to shine.
Sometimes it seems like a good idea to hide the flaws. But sometimes the flaws can turn out to be the blessing that we need. It can be the thing that separates a someone from an everyone. I use to like sitting back and let everyone else do the talking and make the plans and I just go along. But I have learned that you can’t hide behind everyone, all the time. One day, if only for that one time you will not have the human shields that keep you from answering the hard questions and making the tough decisions. Being anonymous is a great place to be for those who do not like the lime light. However, if in the act of reaching the goals you have set, you you have to take the spotlight, hiding may hinder you from seeing clearly what you should grab a hold of.
It also make it easier for someone to be ignored, even if everyone can clearly see you. Even if it is clear how talented you are and how invaluable your contribution, there are many more less capable and talented persons who are willing to make the noise that will lead to change. Therefore, while someone is there resting in the knowledge of their worth, it just may not be enough to be recognized; sometimes there is necessary noise to be made:
While silence is golden, noise can tell the true story.
Don’ hide your light under a bushel (Matt. 5: 15-16). Sometimes it seems like it’s being humble to do this. We tell ourselves that we are modest and therefore being good. But, this can be an excuse to do nothing, in order not to be judged or accused of anything unpleasant. Hiding becomes a way to be present but absent at the same time. No one can say we are not there, but no one can accuse of doing anything while there.
Hiding can become a way to deny who you are and that can be a limiting experience. Regret not only comes from not doing what you want to do but also being what everyone expects you to be, except yourself. It’s best to stop, when hiding becomes a hazard to prevents you from living life to the fullest.
Well, this may seem a bit harsh but, listen to me for a minute.
We all want to belong somewhere to represent something and to realize that we have a community we belong to. All very human and hence very natural. However, as the picture above shows, just because you fit doesn’t mean you belong.
That image is genius for the simple reason that sometimes when we pray we pray to fit somewhere and not to belong there. Now we may not have thought before about the difference but it’s very important.
Now common sense says when you fit it means you want to be there you have inserted yourself in the mix but no one else may want you there except you. Imagine that situation – well most of us can because we have tried or are trying to fit in – you struggle all your life to be accepted somewhere where all you have experienced is a struggle and not triumph.
Now to belong, the word even sounds so right, so warm and inviting, is something different. To belong means that you want to be there and you are wanted there. In such a situation others will uplift you, support and guide you in the right way. There is no need to struggle because you are with people, whose support you fully have.
But guess what? We don’t need to fit in, because fitting in a choice that we make. We don’t need to do what everyone is doing or chasing the same dream. We don’t need to panic because we have reached a “milestone” and don’t have everything nicely figured out. We can throw away the goal post all together instead of just moving it! We certainly don’t need to chase anyone down to be seen; that leads to burn out. Plus, it means that you will never go beyond a certain point because you have limited yourself in a space you never belonged in the first place.
Instead, do what makes you happy, it’s hard for many but all we can do is work at it. Also it helps to be around people who you have things in common with, this too is hard for some, but again, not impossible. So, there is a running theme here, if you want to belong you have to step outside that comfort box and do the mileage.
I’m sure that if we really want to feel comfortable in our skin and experience some of that sublime joy that belonging brings. the work won’t seem hard at all. There is a quote that I wan leave you with a mind-blowing, earth-shattering quote:
What does it mean to prove yourself? Also, who stands to benefit the most from your doing so?
Sure there are persons who don’t care what others think of them or what they do. However, there are more persons who do. Those of us who do spend too much time worrying of been labeled a “bad persons”. Too much time is spent trying to appease everyone whose opinions we think matter and none on discovering things about ourselves.
Many feel they have to be constantly proving their worth based on the expectations of others or even their humanity. It becomes a tragic tale of trying to keep up with the Joneses when the Jonese do not really care. When we cannot keep up, many persons decided that there are things inherently flawed about them, that they are broken and irredeemable. Having this mindset, has led many persons to fall into the rabbit hole of a depression that is nearly impossible to ever truly get out of. Therefore, it is important to be aware of when you begin this descent, to break the fall so that you do not go too deep.
It’s difficult to be like someone else, because we are not suppose to. It’s hard to be successful, because we are operating on someone else’s idea of success. It’s hard to define who we are, because we think we have to be defined. It’s hard to prove ourselves, because we have nothing to prove.
In high school I had the bestest friend ever, and I often saw her as the complete opposite of me. When I was still loud, immature and still a tomboy, she was quiet, mature and lady like. When I was thrilled by a good cuss-out and fighting she was not amused. However, I loved her; she was nothing like me, at times she was so nice she made me so sick, in the best way possible. But I appreciated her because she made me realize that it wasn’t always necessary to be loud and rough and a general wild child. I on the other hand, think I helped her to be a little less uptight. At the end of the day, I did not see our differences at that young age as a barrier, but as a way we complimented each other. I had nothing to prove to her and neither did she to me, we just got each other and loved each other for our differences.
However, I have noticed that it is as we get older that live really does a number on us. As we get older we are expected to be a certain way and be living a certain live that just is not realistic; we are not the same. We all cannot pursue the same dreams and care about the same things. Persons who are trying to have that universal dream , have to be honest enough to know that in trying to prove something they may end up being impostors. The need to wear a mask becomes one of the by-products of proving things to others. We become ten different versions of a self we cannot come to terms with and end up being far from our compass.
Anger becomes another by-product. Many who are angry at the world, reach that point because it seems no matter how hard they try, they always fall short. So they become angry at friends, family, the old lady down the road, the man walking pass them, the children making too much noise and the lucky few who boast about their accomplishments. Everything and everyone becomes a problem, until the only thing they have is their anger.
In a fair world we would know we don’t need to prove a thing to anyone. Our worth and value have always been there. Who we are has been known to us from birth. To question this, means that we either have or we are trying to prove to others that we are who they think we should be. What we all need to do is temper our expectations of what we can do; not trying to be all and have all, but confident in being your natural self.
There is no need to be ashamed of who you are. Stop trying to convince yourself that you are that label you have been pinned with and realize that you can never be anyone other than who you are.
Some of us would take our time, if we knew that we are rushing to our deaths
― Mokokoma Mokhonoana
“Thank God it’s Friday”, never sounded as sweet as it does, when you’ve had a trying week.
So it’s important to remember to take things easy. At the end of the day we really can only do so much and no more. It’s amazing how terrible something appears to be until we are on the other side looking back at what was. Nothing seems as bad as it was when it’s over, and even for one perfect moment, there is a sense that there are no impossibilities.
Great, we have survived the week and we now feel invincible and we deserve to take the time to recuperate and seek a quiet moment to get ready for things yet to come. It really makes no sense to carry on with things that we realize are a burden to us. Instead, what we need to do is to let go of some of the baggage we struggled with this week. It’s okay to let go of missed opportunities and unrealistic dreams. It’s okay to grow a little older, because with it comes a little more wisdom. This is the wisdom to make choices that will enrich our live.
Also, while we are at it, let’s release all bad vibrations into the atmosphere and collect to ourselves, positive wholesome energy. After all, each day, week, month and year is another opportunity to finally attain your inner peace.
It is also easy to do and therefore we are more tempted to do so than not. If we had to take the time to consider and admit that “everyone doesn’t do the same thing”s, not “everyone think s the same way” and not “everyone care about the same things”, then we would have less of a concrete argument for some of the assumptions that we have.
It may seem that I am pointing the finger, and I am. However, it may comfort you to know that it is also pointed at me too, because we have all done this (or am I generalizing?). Sometimes we do it subconsciously and sometimes we are very deliberate about it. When we do not want to consider that there may be another side or some other reasonable explanation we sweep all doubts aside by generalizing. At this point we are unwilling to listen and we don’t care much about the truth.
So, we go around, sometimes not knowing that we are the hosts to faulty and over generalization, until we are forced to unmask it hiding within us. By that time, as is often the case, we have caused some direct or indirect damage to those who have to content with these generalization, because they have developed into prejudices and discrimination. And poor us for not knowing that using those sweeping generalization would result in a language of hate and sentiments of division and “othering”.
Also, can you imagine thinking that because someone is from a specific place or does a specific job, that you are better than they are. Only to find out, years later, that while you have been dangling on your last shoe string, they have been happily and successfully going about their business. That’s the irony of life, when we get caught up in the lies that have become truths in society. Many miss out on the opportunities because of what they thought of a place or of “certain” people!
I came across this quote and I think it is something that we all need to think on:
we cannot all become geniuses [and] we cannot all reach the same level.
The Joke’s on You:
I was talking to a friend who asked a students a while ago, how he would feel if he and the garbage collector got the same pay, if he was able to get the material things we’re told to aim for, such as the best car, a grand house and so on. The student was adamant that he would not accept that, because he and the garbage collector should not be getting the same pay, because he is more academically gifted. But then my friend also made the point that some bright or even brilliant sparks who look down on persons with technical skills, will never achieve as much as those persons. He further made the point that the act of looking down on persons for perceived shortcomings could be their way of addressing their own sense of inferiority.
Sometimes in generalizing we feed the us- versus- them complex. With this complex people are vilified, and their very complex and real problems are distorted because we refuse to accept that everything is not black or white. No one is completely good or bad and often times the most interesting accept to a person, and the part we need to pay attention to the most are the grey areas. However, many dismiss the possibility of grey areas in favor of half the truth or no truth.
These ideas are supported all around us. in the exchanges that people have on a daily basis. We see it in the archetypal, good guy versus bad guy. Then we perpetuate these beliefs in our interactions with others. We look for certain signs and wonders and deem those to tell the story of who a person is, until we are presented with a puzzle. But instead of interrogating our beliefs we deem it an anomaly and continue along in our faulty assumptions and generalizations.
But, we should also never forget that while we may not make generalizations about ourselves we buy into them. Based on how we look, what we have achieved and where we are from, we have accepted and live out a certain image of who others may think we are.So, not only are we prone to generalizing others, we also can become co-conspirators of our own generalization, without realizing the damage it has done to us.
I think that is why I love novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s speech, “The Dangers of a Single Story”, so much. It was listening to this speech that make me really question what I do not know about people and places. And while there is much that I still do not know or understand, at least I am more aware of this. Therefore, when I hear about such things as Ebola, I do not assume that all Africa is affected and when I hear about Haiti, I do not only visualize temporary tent camps. Live is complex because people are complex and you can never fully represent everything that is life and every person in your telling, even in a story that involves them. There isn’t enough time to consider all the facets of a person or situation and you can never fully complete the story of someone’s life. Something will always be missing.
While it is hard to prevent ourselves from always generalizing people places or a situation, we should never accept those information as the truth. We should never be complacent in making authentic the injustice of reducing someone’s humanity to a single idea. A single fable.
What if you just take the leap and go for what you wanted?
What’s the worse thing that could happen?
Is what if better than If only?
Being able to look ahead and operate from the what if may be a lot more promising than looking back at what was and regrettably sigh, if only. Sometimes we think we have made the only logical decision there is to make in a given situation. However, when we honestly cross-examine ourselves we admit that that logical decision was made from an illogical fear.
There are many of us who only recognize this after the fact, when there is nothing else to do but learn and do better. Some, hold stubbornly to the mistake and refuse to admit the naturalness in making decisions out of fear that we end up regretting. You see, when we think of what ifs, we are thinking of all the possible problems- as if life does not always have problems that we have to deal with. We may think it more sobering to think up all the possible obstacle before they happen so we maybe prepared.
However, we will never be prepared from the real thing, because at the heart of all our logical reasoning is a heart that desperately wants things to work out the way we want it to work out. We may say it doesn’t matter, until it does. Regret is terrible and can be debilitating when you see the possibility of what could have been if only we fought against your fear of what you do not know.
Staying on the shore and watching all the swimmers is not how you learn to swim. Therefore, staying safely indoors and watching everyone else make various attempts and doing stuff, is not how life was meant to be lived. Many persons love the internet because they can live vicariously through someone else. many sit and watch and wish they could be that person, go where they have been and do what they have done. How profound it would be for each of us to realize that what we get is the remains from their yesterday. That while we are there saying some day we will do the same. They have already moved on to the next thing and if we try to following we will get lost in the shuffle to the next thing. While we are there trying to catch up to a lifestyle two days old.
India. Arie, in speaking about her song, Break the Shell, indicates a time when she was “fighting to grow”, a process she found to be “dehumanizing”.
Many of us have walls that we need to scale but we find it scary to make that first move. We find it difficult to make a plan to get over those walls, much less to tackle it. Instead, what happens is that we spend too much time dreaming instead of planning an escape. Before we know it, it has gotten impossible to make a move towards them.
But the people who live there are strong, and the cities have walls and are very large. We felt as small as grasshoppers, and that’s how we must have looked to them.
Numbers 13: 28, 33
We become like the men who Moses sent to spy in Canaan; we allow ourselves to become so small that we make the wall more powerful than it ever had a right to be. We also make ourselves too small and too insignificant in the eyes of those who guard those walls and keep us trapped within.We begin to see ourselves through the eyes of others and belief that their view of us is the only image that matters. We begin to wonder if we can grow tall enough and strong enough to conquer them and then we begin to lie to ourselves, rather than test our faith, by putting our trust in the will of the Creator for us.
That wall we build to keep everything out, the good and the bad. When we think it’s safer to keep in and keep everything out, even the things we are meant to keep. That wall we nurture, ignoring everyone that is on our team, only we did not know, because we built it to high to really see and know and grow. The wall we used to judge too harshly, can only be destroyed when we stop and accept people for who they are and not how we feel about them.
That wall can cause us to stop stretching to avoid the pain that comes with too much movement, and stop trying to escape the hurt that jumping and missing brings. So we forget that that wall was never that great in the first place, and never that strong to begin with, until we gave it the power to be so.