We are often told as children to shut off certain behaviours. And we do. Many of us do so successfully. Some of us, however, struggle our whole lives because denying ourselves the right to be who we are is more stifling than we can handle.
So we act out. Some go bungee jumping with a group of like minded thrill seekers who understand the one-time deviation from responsibility. Some cheat on the spouses to whom they vowed they would be loyal. Some live closeted lives of compliance but indulge in alcohol, pornography, gambling, shopping or really any behaviour of excess. Some develop perpetual depression.
I truly believe that everything that exists requires expression. Returning to the genius of Gibran, “Everything that a man does secretly in the darkness of night will be clearly revealed in the daylight. Words uttered in privacy will become unexpectedly common conversation. Deeds which we hide today in the corners of our lodgings will be shouted on every street tomorrow.”
Your Hidden Self cannot be hidden from everyone forever. Your Blind Self is alive and well, pretending it doesn’t exist solves nothing. Suppressing your Unknown Self is an onerous task. … And I believe all of the obscured self (Hidden, Blind and Unknown) will come out eventually.
Fully and wholly being yourself requires self love and courage. But even if you do not have self love and courage, you don’t get to hide out in obscurity. Your denied self is pushing for freedom. Your denied self desires expression. So ask yourself, when your denied self does come out, do you want to embrace your true self or deal with the pain of self judgement and humiliation?
We humans are a strange breed. If we don’t clearly and intentionally choose how we want to feel about something, we will automatically adopt the feelings of others. So if your parents told you to stop dreaming about being a rock star and go to business school, you might stifle your musical creativity in favour of what your parents told you is more valuable. And, facing the possibility of exposing your creative musical side you may experience fear and a sense of foolishness. In other words, if you don’t choose to love yourself, every part of yourself, you will simply carry on with the judgement, shame, guilt, fear, embarrassment, etc. that others have told you to feel.
But you are not alone! And everything you fear to reveal about yourself is actually very normal and there are many others like you. That is why the most important part of Gibran’s comments is not the “darkness” but the “daylight,” not the “privacy” but the “common conversation,” not the “corners” but “every street.”
By hiding your true self you make it impossible to discover there is nothing to hide. Hold your head up high. Your true self will be exposed eventually, it’s inevitable. And when every bit of you is out in the open, you will discover then that you can and should be proud.