“Being seen” has become a common term that is thrown about quite casually – but what does it imply at a deeper level? We’ve all been socialised to keep parts of ourselves (the undesirable ones) hidden, and as women, we’ve been taught (whether overtly or subtly) to be quiet and not disturb the status quo.
So what does it mean to be seen for us as women? What does it mean for me, for you? Opening this can of worms inevitably takes us on a journey deep into the furthest reaches of ourselves, to places we had hidden so well we’d forgotten they were even there, to begin with.
Often when we ask this question of ourselves, “Where am I hiding?”, the answer is either immediately there, or there’s a kind of numb not-knowingness (a sure sign that we’re doing a great job at suppressing something).
If it’s immediately there (for example, something you deeply love but no one knows about) you’re golden – start exploring that thing. If there’s numbness you’ll have to sit with it, lean into it, seduce it gently out of the cave it’s been hiding in for so long.
Coming out of hiding
Coming out of hiding is a tender process and one that deserves a lot of self-love; after all, you are the one who decided to hide these pieces; we may have been socialized but free will is a real thing – we adapt and mould ourselves to fit society our family’s expectations to the extent that we choose to do so.
Many of us go through a big chunk of our lives being “good girls”; doing exactly what we’re supposed to (the education, the job, the house, etc.) and wind up feeling overwhelmed and somewhat baffled at why we’re not enjoying our lives more.
This realisation is often what propels us onto a journey of self-development in which philosophy, personal development, spirituality, coaching, therapy and all sorts of other complementary health modalities enter our lives. This is the first step to learning what we really want and what we’re not living.
The entrepreneurial journey
For those of us who start our own businesses (often as a direct result of this inner inquiry), we’re in for a fun ride. Being an entrepreneur will bring up all our hiding habits as the more authentic our business is, the more we will be called to step into our very personal, unique truth (which is scary as hell for most people). For that reason, the entrepreneurial journey is an intense container for personal growth.
Many of us (particularly women) suffer from imposter syndrome – this makes hiding very desirable. We feel we’re not smart/pretty/important/powerful enough to do The Thing (the thing that is calling us). Clearly , this is a lie, but it’s a lie that can sound convincing enough to stop some people from ever living the life they dream of (don’t let that be you).
It’s even possible to not realise we’re hiding until someone else calls us out – these are blessings even though they might be very confronting in the moment. Other people can often see us better than we can see ourselves and receiving their perspective can be very valuable (to be accepted at your discretion of course).
Things that can keep us in hiding
We can learn all the time, in every interaction; we are mirrors for each other so other people’s behaviour is always telling us something about ourselves. Developing a growth mindset and being radically committed to positive change means being open to the real-life feedback that is happening in every moment.
Our surroundings can keep us stuck, including people – strong commitments and habits make any kind of change harder. In particular, your people need to get on board with whatever changes you’re making or problems will ensue.
This is a time of redefining beliefs and belief structures, potentially questioning the very foundations of your metaphysical worldview. A massive overhaul of the way we see the world often accompanies transformation and learning to bare our souls definitely comes into that category.
Gentleness and patience
It’s a process that requires gentleness and patience and having people in your world who are modelling this is very helpful. In a way, they help to create a new culture that you can orient towards as you leave the old one (that encourages hiding) behind.
Understanding what we’re doing at a mental level is not enough – it has to become embodied, and the only way this happens is by bringing action into our life as a result of what we’re discovering. In other words, implementation.
Ultimately coming out of hiding means getting to know ourselves at the most intimate level of our being, getting clear about what we want for our lives and taking steps to make that a reality. There is nothing we cannot do if we believe we can!