Does this scenario seem familiar? Someone is genuinely trying to tell you something you NEED to hear – and you just can’t take it. You think they are trying to “fix” you or they just don’t understand how hard it is to be you. Maybe you’re the one talking and no one is listening? Why do you think we do this? Why do we shut down when it comes to things we don’t want to hear? If we understand this then we can do a better job of hearing the truth and telling it.
When we are confronted with something that we want to push away or reject it is an indication that we feel the need to PROTECT OUR IMAGE of OURSELVES. Did you know that you have an image of yourself that you use to interface with the world (we will call it the “Super-me”) and an image of you that is hidden from others (the “Inner-me”)? These images are both heavily affected by our childhood, our experiences through life, our interpretation of those experiences, and what we believe about the world and how it works.
Here’s something to think about… What if much of what you believe about yourself (the Super-me or the Inner-me) is largely false? What if you are misinformed about yourself – or maybe, you don’t even know the true you. It was once said, “When man found the mirror he began to lose himself.” The suggestion is that once we become aware of our “image” we lose touch with our true “self.” As we let our obsession with ourselves and what other people think of us take over, we forget who we really are, what it is we care about; we can even forget the things that give us joy. We start to shape ourselves after others and conform to what is popular, acceptable, or expected.
What if you were blind from birth? Do you think your awareness of self would be stronger? Do you think you would “see” the world differently? Blind and deaf, Helen Keller said, “What I am looking for is not out there, it is in me.” She knew that what she needed was inside her. She sought the truth that comes from knowing “self.” So what do we do when we realize we have lost vision for who we are or that we are defending our own image?
Truthfully, most people do not realize that they even have a blind spot much less total loss of vision. The Super-me has convinced them that it’s all good, but somewhere deep inside the Inner-me knows better. Most of us want to be authentic. Authentic means ”of undisputed origin.” For people, this is when the Super-me and the Inner-me agree and tell the same story – one whole person = authentic. If you want to be authentic, REAL, and one who does not walk around with a “nail” in their head, then you have to be willing to look at the truth about yourself. This is intimidating, but you have to become aware that you may believe some lies (good or bad) about yourself and then welcome the truth. Here are some ideas on how to do that:
Remember that TRUTH is where the freedom is. There is great safety in knowing the truth because you cannot be manipulated or misguided there – either by yourself or someone else. The Truth is steady ground. You can stand firm there – unafraid because you Know! Hidden things are what breed fear. Knowing the truth is the only way to be authentic and fearless.
Ask before you have to be told – It is easier to hear something you have asked than to have to accept something you are being told. Go to someone you really trust and ask them if they will help you see your blind spots. Ask them to tell you calmly and kindly and to give you time to process what they are saying.
Be willing to look in the mirror – be open to what they have to say and watch how you feel when they tell you. If your defenses are high, then you are defending your image of yourself. If you recognize that what they say is true, then be brave and open enough to admit it.
If you are defending your image then ask yourself why. What does it mean to you to have this spoken of you? Does it mean you are bad? Or foolish? Or a failure? What is making your guard come up? Is the image you have of yourself accurate? If so, why does it threaten you?
Ask your heart to tell you more about this. You don’t have to come to a conclusion right away, but notice over the next days and weeks what comes to mind. Our hearts know the truth and will speak to us if we will let them. The more you give room for quiet, the more you will hear.
Return to the messenger. As you get better understanding about this, go back to your trusted friend and tell them what you think about the root of the problem. See if they can help you see yourself more clearly? Keep working at it over time until you are satisfied that you have better insight into yourself.
Acknowledge your own Courage! It takes enormous courage to look at your own shortcomings but it is the only way to truly know yourself. Take a minute to thank yourself for being strong enough to look at the hard things.
Celebrate the return of TRUTH!! You see, when we believe lies about ourselves it is like trying to see with one eye closed. We only have partial vision. Even though it feels scary to face the truth…the reward is that you get to keep that truth in trade for the lie and TRUTH = STRENGTH.
So why should you risk it? Why should you track down the truth? You should hunt down Truth like it was the Hope Diamond because it will make you strong and courageous. It will give you back your hope and confidence. It will help you see clearly and leave you with no regrets. Even if the truth is UGLY, remember that right behind it is where the Goodness is. If you have to face an ugly truth about yourself – then do it, because what they say is true, “the truth will set you free.”
Do you really want to go around with a “nail” in your head? Be brave and take a long look in the mirror. It will lead to freedom and it is what Goodness would do.
Do you have the courage to look in the mirror?