While my parents were out of town last week, Mom asked me to stop by to water her plants. After watering all the flowers and pots in the front yard, I made my way around the back. Looking back at her text to make sure I’d done it all correctly, I noticed she was texting me again. But instead of more instructions for the job, it was screen shots from her video surveillance camera with the text, “Thanks for watering my flowers.”
Apparently Big Brother (or mother, in this case) is always watching.
It was just my mom, and I was doing exactly what I was supposed to be doing, but it really creeped me out. My heart raced a little bit. It felt like an invasion of privacy to know I was being recorded the entire time I was there. Like, who else is out there “watching” me?
I suddenly felt vulnerable.
And I didn’t like it. I’m not a person who worries about being “watched”, it’s not even on my radar. But in that moment I felt this strange emotion, because I’m used to living in a world where I feel mostly in control of who “sees” me and when. Most of us live with control of the filters in our lives. We get to decide when we allow ourselves to be seen. When decide whether we’ll show up and share ourselves with the world, or not.
Most of the time we choose the latter.
But receiving Mom’s text that day brought a keen reminder about how fiercely we protect ourselves, often without even realizing it. On an emotional level, we don’t put our whole selves out there, because it’s not safe. We’ve been hurt before and there’s certainly no guarantee that won’t happen again.
So we stay in the safe places.
We don’t go to events, like Girls Night Out, where we might not know anyone. We don’t speak up about things that matter to us, if we’re not 100% sure all our friends will agree. We don’t go to churches or gatherings where we don’t feel comfortable with the culture. But instead of keeping us safe, so we can live freely, we’re protecting ourselves from the very thing that can help us truly live.
Allowing ourselves to be seen.
“To let ourselves be seen, deeply seen, vulnerably seen, to love with our whole hearts, even though there’s no guarantee… to practice gratitude and joy in those moments of terror… to say ‘I’m just so grateful because to feel this vulnerable means I’m alive’… to believe that we’re enough. Because when we work from a place that says, ‘I’m enough’, then we stop screaming and start listening, we’re kinder and gentler to the people around us, and we’re kinder and gentler to ourselves.” ~ Brené Brown
As you go about your week, pay attention to the places you instinctively want to protect yourself. It won’t be easy, no doubt.
Let yourself be seen, even though there’s no guarantee.
Being fully seen and alive is worth far more than being safe.
to more love,
P.S. If you’re ready to practice in a “safe place” bring a girlfriend who loves you, and join us for all the fun at Ya-Ya Sisterhood GNO, next Thursday night. It’s a great first step in the right direction.