As children, we work on growing into who we are. It’s difficult to hide our feelings, curb our hunger or disguise our weaknesses. When we are hungry, tired, or scared, we let out a cry in the hopes that our needs will get met. But as we get older, we learn what rejection feels like. Out of fear, we quietly curl up into ourselves. As a result, who we are gets buried under socially acceptable behavior.

It’s scary to release and express our unlovable parts. But if we allow ourselves the freedom to do so we invite love. The Book of Awakening author Mark Nepo beautifully depicts the journey of finding our true selves:

“When we bring up what we keep inside, it is sacred and scary, and the rest of us don’t know if we want to touch or not, like reaching from a ladder into a nest of baby birds. It’s too soft and sacrilegious. It seems a place where human hands do not belong. But I invite you anyway. Go on-let others reach in honestly-so we can say, ‘This is who I am when no one’s looking.’ For each of us is a fledgling that eventually, if fed, will fly.”

It is a risk to let the world know how you feel, to show your vulnerable side, to open what’s been closed for so long. But it’s also a risk not to do so. At one time, my greatest fear was that I would die without a single soul knowing truly who I was. To me, that is the greatest tragedy-not whether this person will dislike you or that person will judge you, but that no one would have the honor and privilege of knowing and loving you just as you are.

{Flickr photo by Roger Lynn}

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