Much of life can be confusing, deceiving and downright treacherous at times. The events that occur in our individual lives can rattle our thinking, strain our beliefs, stretch our emotions to their limits and turn our lives upside down. Sometimes we observe other people’s lives and fear that their realities could be ours one day. And so, we hide behind a variety of veils, often portraying a false reality. It is natural to hide from the threat of discomfort, trouble, disappointment, failure and trauma. Most likely, our experiences tell us that the veils we use to shield ourselves are flimsy. Wise, experienced and intuitive people see behind them and more significantly, we know what lies beneath. Moreover, our efforts to protect ourselves also keep opportunities, experiences, people and circumstances that could have a positive impact on us at bay. If we would only remove our veils and consider what is being offered, we will discover and enjoy more of our daily lives, our relationships, our careers and our dreams.
Do you hide behind these veils?
I don’t care.
But we do, don’t we? We care what people say about us - complimentary or derogatory. Can we genuinely disregard a scathing remark said to our face, a negative critical review of something we did with attention to detail and with passion or some fiery gossip about us, even if it is not true? Can we genuinely take a compliment and toss it out the window with ingratitude - believing that we deserved it or that it is simply someone’s admission of what we already know about ourselves? Can we baulk at people admiring us from afar and passing around positive expressions of praise for our work, discipline, persistence, passion? Of course we care. We are human, some things may hurt and others may compliment and encourage us. We do care.
This is how/who I am.
We can say this with pride and a sense of ownership but often, it is a statement shrouded in apology. Surely, we want to make a bold declaration, instead of the wimpy version with our heads bowed in the common body language of weak self-confidence. While we should try to change and improve when necessary, we should own who we are with pride and without any hint of apology.
I’ve always done it this way.
This is a cowardly declaration. It also shows disdain for and distrust in what’s new. We resist change in ideas, location, technology, systems and practices. Any change to our “normal” seems like a major life-altering risk. Change is good, deep down we know it. Yet our first response is to fight and show ourselves to be uncooperative, inflexible or just downright lazy. Let’s give new a chance.
Often, we hide behind this veil when we haven’t even considered an idea, an issue or some action. So how do we know that we can’t? New ways of thinking and acting send us into a self-sabotaging mode. We pull this flimsy veil, short-change ourselves and feel justified in our ignorance, our avoidance, our stagnation. We may have to resolve the issue behind our “I can’t” mindset. Nevertheless, we can make a start towards, “I can” by speaking the words to ourselves and taking one small action at a time. Like so many of our excuses and emotional barriers, these verbal veils are sparked by fear - fear of failure, fear of ridicule, fear of what’s new, fear of the future.... If we identify what we fear, we can begin lifting our flimsy veils and explore the wonderful experiences that permeate the journey of our lives.