As human beings, we often judge and try to hide aspects of ourselves that we view as imperfect or unworthy. We spend our entire lives trying to change these parts of us to fit a certain mold of what we think we should be.
Interestingly, at the same time, we desire to be seen and acknowledged for our struggles and pain. We want others to understand our hardships and to recognize us as brave for overcoming them. We long for people to see our brilliance, but we fear them discovering our weaknesses and shortcomings.
We showcase our achievements readily, but we work tirelessly to conceal our sources of embarrassment and shame. The thought of someone discovering these aspects of ourselves can cause immense anxiety.
But how can we truly be seen if we only present a filtered version of ourselves? And how can we be seen if we cannot even see ourselves?
It is precisely these hidden parts of ourselves that cause the most pain. We enjoy admiring ourselves in the mirror when we feel confident, but it can be difficult to do so when we are not pleased with our appearance. Similarly, we are proud of our financial stability when things are going well, but fear and dread the thought of a financial crisis.
We take pleasure in sharing our accomplishments but avoid facing our mistakes and feelings of failure.
The solution lies in starting with ourselves. If we wish to be fully seen, we must be willing to see ourselves first. We need to confront our fears, guilt, and shame with self-compassion and forgiveness. We must embrace our faults, knowing they do not define us.
Only through self-recognition and self-love can we truly feel seen and accepted. And it is this self-awareness that allows us to extend the same compassion and understanding to others.