Because when we put our true selves on the line, show up and open up to let the world experience who we really are, we are “susceptible or capable of being wounded or hurt.”
Vulnerable, big time.
We all know this. Why else spend so much energy on dressing ourselves up in roles and camouflage, erecting impenetrable walls, so folks can’t see who we really are? A losing game…and not a fun one, for us or the universe.
I was reminded of this the other day in dance class. Most of the very conscientious, talented dancers focused on doing things correctly, or perfectly, however they defined that. What got lost was their selves. When they danced the long phrase it became an exercise: dry, soulless.
In the midst of a large group, one dancer immediately stood out as she imbued the movement with her. The well-intentioned exactitude surrounding her was no match for her expressiveness, displayed through musicality, focus, and a few small gestures she added. She made the dance phrase her own, a piece of art reflecting her inimitable self.
Today, the wise teacher admonished us to try doing the phrase again as if we had never been shy about anything. She reminded us, brilliantly, that what we danced would go out into the universe in that form, with that intention, and that we needed to create something that reflected who we are, not some watered-down or highly edited version of what we thought we should look like.
What a difference that made! The dancing was vibrant, exciting, compelling to watch. You could feel the energy in the studio sizzle.
Why wait for that invitation to show ourselves? Sure, there are times when it is just too dangerous–emotionally or even physically–to reveal ourselves. But all too often we stay in that familiar place of non-disclosure, dishonesty and even stinginess. As Brené Brown so sagely observes, “Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.”
Yes, it’s risky to share our authenticity. But with the alternative, we rob ourselves of the experience of being and expanding who we are in the world. We miss out on vibrancy and true connection. We rob the universe of our one-of-a-kind magic. And we know that staying cloaked offers illusory benefits, at best.
Here’s to rocking out our selves whenever we can. Like everything else, it gets easier with practice. And the treasures that await are priceless. As Brené Brown’s notes, “Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.”
See you out there!
“The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.”~Joseph Campbell
Photo credit: Top–Nikki Carrara; 2nd–Arthur Fink; 3rd–Rich Davis