Do you ever hide away in fear of being ‘seen’?
Do you ever hesitate before speaking?
Do you ever stop yourself from doing something or saying something and you’re not sure why?
I’ve had an epiphany in the past week or so …
I’ve been in hiding for a long time …
I dug myself a deep hole when I was a child, for protection, security and quiet, and I hid in there until my life changed dramatically in my mid thirties.
My husband died suddenly, and that forced me to confront my demons and to gradually realise that the walls of earth I had built for protection were actually a prison cell.
Over the past few years I’ve found a way to open the cell door. Yet just in the past week, I’ve noticed I’m still in prison.
I’ve been gradually coming up and out over the past year, peeking my head through the front gates, but I’ve still held back… afraid, uncertain.
That hesitancy is costing me dearly … in wasted energy, wondering how much of me is visible, am I hidden well enough, could I run back inside if I really wanted to..?
One phrase that popped into my head is ‘The truth will set you free’ …
What am I afraid of …. really?
That people won’t like me if they ‘really’ knew me ?
That they could hurt me if they knew the truth?
That people would be shocked … wouldn’t think I was ‘professional’ enough if they knew ?
Or maybe that they could reject me, not accept the ‘REAL me’ ?
This is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to write, but I feel on the brink of something, like a young snake just about to shed its skin. I’ve come to realise that
Until I accept myself, exactly as I am (and be willing to speak about it), then I can never truly be free.
That phrase keeps whooshing through my brain…
The truth will set you free.
And I really want to be free.
And I can be honest now, even though part of me is scared witless; I have an unconditional feeling of safety and being nurtured, from deep within. And I have a deep trust and belief in the ultimate power of the Universe to keep me safe.
Here’s what I’ve been hiding:
All my life I’ve had significant challenges in both sensory processing and social interaction, and I believe I probably have Asperger Syndrome (a form of autism or ASD).
There, I’ve said it.
I’ve taken ownership of my own experience, and that’s powerful …
So what does that mean for me now ?
Like a butterfly emerging from its chrysalis, I can unfurl my beautiful, powerful wings and I can go wherever I want to go.
Because I’m still me, and the truth has set me free!
Do you long to be free?
Are there aspects of you that you’re keeping well hidden?
What is it costing you to keep hiding (even from yourself)?
How would your life be different if you could be open and honest with yourself?
What might enable you to feel safe enough to step outside your prison cell?
I had a guest blog published on the subject of having an unconditional feeling of love and connection with yourself.
I think the key to feeling safe with fears and difficult emotions, is to find a source of nurturing within yourself; a place, a ‘part’ of you that’s always available to love you and to listen to you.
How do you find a source of nurturing inside yourself ?
I was working with a client recently who was struggling to find a sense of nurture, mothering and safety inside herself, a place that would ‘hold’ anything she wanted to bring to the surface.
My suggestion to her, I would also give to you:
1) Imagine someone or something that you really love unconditionally (a pet, a partner, a child), and think about how much you love them.
Bring some detail into that experience of love; for example if it’s a person, imagine a scene in detail with you actively expressing your love.
- What does your love look like (for example, what are you doing when you express your love? Do you listen to this person when they want to talk about their worries, do you arrange nice things for you to do together?)
- What does your love sound like ? (for example, what do you say to this person when you’re expressing your love?)
- What does your love really feel like? (for example, if you’re picturing the scene and hearing the words, what internal feeling do you have? You might find you have a warm glow inside, or another physical sensation in your body.)
2) Practice bringing your experience of love into your awareness more often, engaging all of your senses, so that it becomes stronger and more powerful.
You can then use that feeling of love to support you when you want to be more open and honest with yourself.
If you can love someone else, then you have all you need to love and nurture yourself.
Then you’ll be more able to acknowledge your own truth, and accept yourself as you really are.
And once you feel safe enough to express what you really want to say, you can unfurl your own beautiful, powerful wings; the truth will set you free!
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Beautiful, Ann. I had a big sigh of relief reading this.
I am tired of hiding that I am what Barbara Sher calls a Scanner … a multi-passionate, multi-talented creative who can’t settled down and just do one thing. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me for the longest time – and now I get that there is nothing wrong, I’m just different. Oh.
Donna, thankyou for sharing! ‘Multi-passionate, multi-talented creative’- I feel the energy in those words! I’m so happy for you that you’ve found a way to express the real you 🙂
Ann, what a beautiful message. It brought me to tears.
There is so much in my life that I’ve hidden, if I began to list it all, it would fill volumes. I did it for my own safety, protection and self-preservation. It was a pretty good strategy for a kid. Worked like a charm.
Unfortunately, I kept using strategies that were no longer effectively working for me into my adult years. The learned behavior was no longer for protection, it was because it’s the only way I knew how to cope.
In the past year, I’ve been through what sounds like a similar process of coming out of my chrysalis – and every day I’m experiencing more and more how amazing it is to be freely, openly, unabashedly me. It’s not always easy; sometimes really scary. And when you have that deep internal nourishment – it’s okay. It works. You are so right.
Thank you for this message today. It touched my heart. I admire the courage and vulnerability it must have taken to write and share so publicly. Keep it up, it’s awesome to see the real you, to know who you are – all of you. What a beautiful soul.
Thankyou Steve for your heartfelt words, and for sharing your story too. It takes some time to really notice and deal with all those ‘learned behaviours’ doesn’t it? … an ongoing journey, with some twists and turns along the way, but how amazing it is to spread our wings and fly!! 🙂
Beautiful blogpost… So real and so nourishing and heartfelt to read… Thank you.
Your open and honest words resonated deep within Ann – reminding me to make the time for myself in a loving way. Grateful thanks
@Lisa – thankyou!
@Rosie – thank you for sharing – so glad it reminded you to spend loving time with yourself!
Beautiful, Ann, brave and strong and giving. It rings so true. I have spent a lifetime trying to be optimistic while constantly feeling I have to apologise for being me. I’ve recently recognised that it’s time to stop apologising for being not ‘wrong’, but merely different. It is time to unfold those wings. Thank you!
Thankyou Catriona! Yes, no more apologies …. start packing your flight bag, I’ll see you in the air! x 🙂
Beautiful, beautiful, honest and brave post.
It rings true for me too. I’m childless and I spent many years hiding this and therefore my true self from the world (and from myself it has to be said). It was only last year that I truly emerged. And now that I’ve done it it’s amazingly empowering and such a relief.
I love quotes that inspire & when I’m struggling the following gives me strength ‘Show Up, Be Seen, Own My Story, Write the Ending’. That’s what I want to do now.
Thanks so much.
@Lesley, thanks for sharing your story, and so lovely to hear that you too have emerged!
‘Show Up, Be Seen, Own My Story, Write the Ending’ – what a beautiful quote and heart song to live by! Thankyou 🙂
Ann what a beautiful heart-felt post. Walking your talk so openly I’m sure can only benefit your clients.
Wishing you all the best in spreading your wings – you are perfect just as you are…
Thankyou Kate! 🙂