Stop Hiding & Be You!

Do you keep a travel journal? I do. As a lifelong learner, I find I am always learning and growing, so I record noteworthy lessons. Recently during my travels, a message kept repeating itself throughout my conversations: Stop hiding and be you!

These words were my go-to phrase during my journey. Because I found so many were in need of hearing these words, I would like to share them with all of you.  They’re a reminder which we should repeat to ourselves daily, ones I need to hear often as well!

Returning after a long absence to my hometown and other cities where I’d spent most of my life, I reflected on how far I’d come in my self-discovery journey; I’ve come to see the world with a new lens. Before, I’d spent so much time hiding the true ‘me.’ Now, though, I’d returned to my roots to pass on what I’d learned to my friends, loved ones, co-workers, classmates, and acquaintances: to remind them to stop hiding!  To take the risk to show their true self to others! Whether this means to open up and share their story with someone, to be more visible online, to wear colour, to put on a bathing suit, to sing out loud, to voice their opinion at a public forum! Whatever! For them to summon up the personal strength to be and show the world who they really are!  

In so many ways, people around the globe are hiding their beautiful selves. The world is missing out on so much – they are hiding their brilliance and beauty because of their fear and/or shame.

If you are in this spot, I have to remind you: You are beautiful! You are smart! You are talented! You are you! Don’t hide.

Sometimes your beauty, talent, and presence make others uncomfortable; as a result, they criticize you or isolate you. You see, I’ve gone through this too.

For example, a while back, one person’s comment triggered my awareness to the impact I was having on others. The person said: “You are beautiful, you are educated, and you get along with everybody – what problems could you have?!”

Their comment implied that, of course, I could have no personal issues as I “had it all.” They made me feel as if I was shining too bright, was too brilliant; that I didn’t deserve my talents.  They made my life seem too perfect; my personal issues deserving of little attention; and that I should be ashamed of who I was, instead of being proud.

My life was far from perfect.

For years, I was ashamed of “me.”  I downplayed myself to reduce criticism, make others happy, and fit in. I hid and dimmed my light.

However, that is the worst thing I could have done! It ate away at me, and I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t truly living.

When you don’t know better, you think others’ criticism is true and that their pain and discomfort is your fault; like the caring person you are, you want to make them feel better so you downplay you, put them front and centre, and put yourself last. I did this for a long while – but I learned a huge discovery that now keeps me shining daily!

One day, I realized that people’s judgment is not about me – it’s a reflection of them, of the insecurities and struggles they are dealing with! This realization changed my life!

Now, I’m shining bright and the energy is infectious! I feel alive!

My recent travels showed me that many are still caught in the hiding game. If this sounds like you, remember: You shouldn’t dim your light because it’s making someone else uncomfortable. Keep shining! Others’ criticism has nothing to do with you – it’s about them; it’s about their insecurities and their personal battles. They need to deal with their issues, and it is not your job to fix them.

You playing small doesn’t heal their personal struggles – it actually sustains them as they are avoiding their issues. In other words, they are hiding too.

Stand tall and be you! You being you brightens the world! It makes your critics face their issues and stop hiding. It’s a win-win for both of you.

When you go after your dreams, others will get jealous, will try to pull you down, and will judge you. Listen to me – it’s not your job to change their opinion! Don’t waste your time trying to win them over or caring what they think!

You see, they know you are valuable and they know your worth – that is why they are spending their time and energy trying to bring you down. But now it’s time that you know your own worth!! So that you can focus on enabling your own brilliance, your own dreams, your own beauty! Don’t care about or spend your thoughts listening to the critics. Be proud of yourself!

Life is so short! Why are we wasting our time trying to please others? How better would life be if we were kinder?!

That is why I am so empowered to keep you going. I want you to shine! I want you to write your book and make people laugh. I want you to sing your heart out and heal the world. I want you to observe nature’s wonder and share your images for others to see. I want you to dream your uniquely-special dream and showcase it to the world! I want you to reach your full potential!!

Never lose your light. Keep shining! You don’t know whose life you’re brightening! Stop hiding and be you! You rock!