As a kid, I loved playing hide and seek. I remember the thrill that came with going undetected, especially when hiding in plain site. My heart would pound with anticipation, as I wondered if I would be seen. I can still remember the joyous laughter when I was found! I secretly wanted to be seen.
Playing hide and seek in my adult life isn’t as thrilling or joyous. When I hide in plain site, there is no thrill in being afraid to speak out in networking meetings, fearing someone will ask me a question I can’t answer, or remaining invisible at community events. There are no childlike giggles on the way home from these events, knowing I went unseen yet again.
When we hide, our core fear is that if others know the whole of who we are we will be rejected, losing love, acceptance, and belonging. We set up hiding places to protect the pieces of us that we don’t want others to see. The fears that maybe we don’t belong, we don’t know enough, or that we are not enough leave us feeling un-valuable.
In this, the second of a 6 part series, I will briefly share another way we hide in hopes that you may notice it, appreciate the positive intentions behind it, and determine if it is keeping you from something you want.
#2 Emotional Self – How do we know if we are using our emotional self to hide?
1. Perfectionism is one way we use our emotions to hide. We may focus on unimportant information and requisites, perpetually being in the “planning stages,” rather than beginning a project. We try to anticipate every possible problem to make things perfect, never taking action. Another indicator could be beginning a task or project and abandoning it at the first speed bump with the idea, “If no one sees me make a mistake, they will believe that I am enough.” Some positive intentions of perfectionism is to protect us from being judged and unlovable.
2. Being more comfortable with disappointment than things going well can be another indicator that we are using our emotions to hide. Rather than risking vulnerability and putting ourselves in a place to receive, we convince ourselves that rejection and humiliation are inevitable. When we disappoint ourselves before anyone else can, this feels much more comfortable than taking a chance on ourselves. Some positive intentions here are to protect us from feelings of rejection, humiliation, and wasting our time and efforts.
3. Waiting for the other shoe to drop because things are going too well is another way we may be hiding with our emotions. Rather than enjoying our successes and creating more of them, we live in fear that at any moment it could all end. This slows down our progress and steals our joy. The positive intentions are to protect us from feeling like a fraud, that someone else deserves it more, or that if we get “too big” others will cut us down in some way.
If you feel you may be using your emotional self to hide, just notice it. I invite you to be grateful for the part of you that wants to keep you protected from being judged, rejection, humiliation, and wasted time and efforts.
Open up, release control and perfectionism and embrace faith. Let yourself feel, just for a moment, “I don’t know what’s going to happen. I can’t control everything. But I know that I am enough and there are unlimited possibilities for me. There is something far greater than me helping me.” Just breathe that in for a moment.
Next time, I will share how we use our professional self to hide.