June 15th, 2017
When you want to hide (but don’t do it…do this instead)
A couple weeks ago I *thought* I got pink eye. It turns out it was a stye, which I thought would be better, except of course that my stye turned into what looks like a giant whitehead zit/huge bee sting on my eyelid.
And from the way I’ve been acting and feeling about it, you’d think that I committed the most shameful sin.
Meaning…I’ve been more-than-embarrassed. And I’ve been wanting to hide myself behind sunglasses, or stay at home, or not see any of my friends, and definitely not meet the family of a very cute guy.
And as I’ve been dealing with this for the past couple weeks, I’ve been faced with something that I didn’t realize was really present for me…which is that I care A LOT about what other people think.
I’ve distilled it down to what my main concern is, which is…
“What will people think of me when they see this?”
I imagine that what they might think is that I’m gross. Or that I’m defected. Or that maybe this is just my eye and then they’ll feel bad for me to have to go through life with a giant whitehead on my eyeball. I imagine that they’ll be uncomfortable looking at me. Or not want to look at me at all. Or that they’ll make fun of me when I turn around. I imagine that they’ll think I’m contagious and not want to hug me.
And I imagine that I’ll feel invisible, less worthy, less attractive, and more of a burden. In general.
I didn’t expect these complex emotions to arise, simply from a silly little stye but they did. And it made me think so much about life in general. And perfectionism. And perhaps an epidemic that is just lying under the surface for us all, or right in front of our (stye-filled) eyes…
Which is that we all hold ourselves up to such an impossible standard, that we set up a system for ourselves where we’re never enough.
When we have something that we consider to be a “blemish” or “not acceptable” or something that someone might judge us about, we want to hide and avoid. And we feel less important, desirable, or worthy.
This has happened to me in other areas of my life, like when I’ve gained weight, felt depressed, felt confused in life, not been creating anything I deem as amazing, I don’t feel beautiful or attractive, I’m not in the “stage of life” I feel like I should be in compared to others, and a whole slew of other scenarios.
And in all these scenarios in the past or present, I want to hide what’s happening, not go out, and definitely not tell people.
They are all variations of hiding myself so that I don’t have to face what someone else might think of my situation, or what I, deep down think of myself.
Which simply, is that if I’m not perfect, or acting in a way I deem to be acceptable, I’m not worthy of being in the world or being loved. (not literally…don’t worry).
I’ve noticed my desire to hide a lot the last couple weeks. I haven’t wanted to deal with my assumptions about what someone else might think of my eye. So that I don’t make them uncomfortable by having to look at it. So I don’t put them in that awkward situation of having to deal with my imperfection. So I don’t have to feel like an outcast.
And in these moments I realized how much of a perfectionist I am, and the ridiculously high and impossible standard I hold myself up to. I mean…if I can’t even get a stye, which literally has nothing to do with me, without feeling like I’m worth less, then what does that mean for the rest of my life and what does that mean for all of our lives? What does that mean when I make a mistake? Or accidentally hurt someone I care about? Or make a wrong move? Or show the depth of my emotions and feel like maybe I revealed too much?
It means that none of it is acceptable and should be grounds for “hiding.” But what I’ve been noticing is that when you hide your stye (or any other life blemish) you also hide your light.
Because you can’t both hide and also shine.
And then I wondered how many things in all of our lives we do this with. How many times we shy away from something or someone because we don’t think we’re “ready” or “right” or “good enough.” How many times we don’t start dating or start businesses until we’ve lost weight or learned more. How many times we miss opportunities for connection, or for deepening our love and acceptance for ourselves simply because we’re embarrassed of who we are or what’s going on with us. How many times we turn down our “shine” because we decide to hide instead.
I think way more than I ever realized. And that makes me sad for us all.
It sounds really silly but this little stye has taught me a lot.
It has taught me to (at least try to):
- Accept myself even when I’m not “perfect”
- Show myself to people even when I don’t feel “perfect”
- Have honest conversations about my insecurities with my loved ones (including a conversation where I pre-empted a hang with a friend I haven’t seen in years by saying “I just have to tell you, I have a big stye on my eye and I feel super self conscious about that! Just wanted to put it out there!”
- Not worry so much about what other people think of me
- Not hide myself
And even though it’s only been two weeks, I feel like it’s an experience we can all learn from. I imagine that you too have some metaphorical “styes.” That you too have some areas of yourself or your life that you feel embarrassed about or want to hide.
And if you do, I hope this acts as a reminder that no matter what is going on and where you’re at in your life, you are worthy of being loved and accepted.
And also…that the world needs your shine. The more real people we have in the world, the less we all feel so alone with our “imperfections.” And really…I want to be at THAT party. With you. And your stye and whatever else you have going on.
In my mind I just went to a virtual party where everyone shows up with a “Hi My Name Is…” sticker but instead it says “Hi, My Insecurity Today Is….”
And then I giggled thinking about what a conversation starter that would be. And how fun that would be to be honest and witness other people doing the same. And how much opportunity we’d have to connect. SOOOOO…if you want to play, in the comments below fill in the blank, “Hi, My Insecurity Today Is_________” and then follow it up with one thing you love about yourself.
I’ll go first…
“My Insecurity Today is my stye in my eye and one thing I love about myself is that I have a kind and tender heart.”
Now you go. I can’t wait to hear from you in the comments below. And if you know someone that needs to read these words, please feel free to “like” and “share” by clicking the buttons on the side of this page or copy/pasting the URL. Let’s all shine anyway.
Your partner in crime,
P.s. All the best stuff happens first over on my list so if you’re not already on it, make sure you pop your little namesy and email addressy right over HERE
My insecurity today is being in my bathing suit at the pool — bat wings exposed — and what I love about myself today is that I have a sense of humor about it.
YES!!!! Thank you so much Mary for sharing this!!! Sending you lots of bathing suit love and laughter. XO
Hi, My Insecurity Today Is that my face is puffy today – and what I love about myself is that I am happy and silly.
Greetings Miss Puffy Face! So happy to have your happy and silly self here. :)
My insecurity is that I refuse to acknowledge an insecurity. Because I feel it gives that insecurity power. And by doing this, not acknowledging any insecurities, I fear people will think me less open and honest.
Right after that was off my thumbs, I count at least one shared.
What I love about myself is that I am a kind and loving soul.
You just acknowledged it!!!!! Way to go!! :) One step forward. XO
You’re good – no matter anything else !!
My insecurity today is that I feel sad and vulnerable. I love that I feel my feelings and know that they will pass :)
I SO get that Karen! And I love that you feel your feelings too. That is so important. Sending hugs! XO
Hi, My Insecurity Today is my weight. What I love about myself today is my positive internal dialogue. I’m no longer beating myself up for choices I make. :)
Sending you a big virtual hug Kimberly and also I completely get it. Love that you’re working on your positive internal dialogue. So important! Sending hugs.
My insecurity today is that I have nothing to contribute. What I love about myself is my authenticity.
Thank you so much for sharing that with us Debbie. I have definitely felt that way before and want to send you some virtual hugs. I love your authenticity too. XO
My insecurity today is that I have a little bump to the side of my lip that I got from pulling out a little hair.
Is this a mustache?
What I love about myself is that I try really hard to help others.
Hey Ida! Sending you and your lip lots of love! Thank you for sharing that with us. :)
My insecurity is that I look way fat in photos. I have 10 chins, bags under my eyes and puffy face. I don’t see the how I feel part.
I feel fit, loved (by myself and others) and I feel sexy in my new body. I feel smart and capable. I feel like a warrior. I feel proid that I am going back to school. I feel like my body isn’t who I am. My body is only a vechile for my large and passionate heart.
We all feel thoe insecurities. I just fear that too many of us put our self worth in that same basket of thoughts. We compare ourselves to instagram models and The Kardashians. It ruins so much of who we are and what we really have to offer.
I feel empowered….
We need to
I agree with how much we compare ourselves to others. I think that has always been the case but it’s so much harder now that we have social media.
I love what you said about how you feel and can definitely resonate with how that feeling isn’t always what we see. It’s a dance. Thank you so much for chiming in and sending you lots of love.
Hi, my insecurity today is my abdominal separation caused by my pregnancy, that I’m supposed to have the tools to prevent and heal.
What I love about myself is my kind heart and myself as a mom.
Thank you so so much for sharing this Maggie. And it reminds me of how I used to feel in the beginning of being a coach. Which is that since I was helping other people with their lives, then I must have a perfect life, which obviously is laughable. :) Love that you shared this with us and sending lots of love. I love your kind heart too.
Honestly, assuming I had an insecurity, I’d deal with it myself, because I like to do things that way. What do I love about me? Hell, EVERYTHING! I’m madly in love with me. Always have been. If other peeps don’t like me, I don’t care. To quote one of my favourite tag teams of all times, The Road Warriors, “We got the belts, you don’t like it, we don’t care!”
I think it sums up me pretty well. “You” don’t like me, I don’t care. I think you’ve known me long enough to expect an answer like this, Sally.
I ADORE THIS ANSWER! And all of your answers that are filled with honesty and grit. I love this about you and I feel like YOU should be writing blogs. Teach us your ways! :)
Sally, you know I love and adore you, right? That said, I don’t think the world is ready for my honesty. I think I am a “feather-ruffler”. I don’t go out of my way to irritate people, but I think people prefer a much softer approach than I’m prepared to give.
My insecurity is a cold sore (that you can’t even see because it’s so small but I can feel it and it may as well be burning bright with the fire of a thousand suns for all to see). And what I love about myself is my tenacity and ambition coupled with a fierce loyalty and giving heart.
Love you a Sally!!
Love you AND your cold sore Jasmine! And you loyal and kind heart. I know all of those beautiful things to be true about you. Also, I get cold sores too sometimes and I feel the same way about them!!!!