You don’t know me, only I do, or do I?

© Jenn Shallvey

© Jenn Shallvey

You only know as much about me as you see and hear. You do not know what goes on inside of my head, my every thought, notion or whim. No the private world is private for a reason.  

In revealing or sharing there is always the filter of conscious choice. This choice is sometimes influenced by emotions. If we are afraid we hold back in fear. If we are angry we hold back in resentment. If we are happy we hold back in contentment.  

To reveal and open up about what goes on inside takes courage, effort and vulnerability.  Even with this intention not all will be revealed.  As we are processing events in our lives what we experience is raw and percolating until right. When right, then sharing is conditional on the forum, support and perceived reception. We weigh up the risk and return. Maybe not consciously yet definitely considered.

This does not have to be so. Yet it is. We are human not perfect.

When is it right to share? To whom is it right to share? What is right to share?  These are questions that only you can answer for your self. In my case I have found that it takes a multi pronged approach-self directed, supported and open. Sharing and opening up about self is a learned skill. It is also one that requires modelling from others and unconditional support. 

In my experience I have found many ways to support my own opening. From journaling to full scale personal retreats with a group of strangers. I have done it all to find my way. Each step has been one step of unravelling, revealing, claiming and owning me. Sometimes painful, often healing and regularly liberating. I think this is why I commit to growth. The freedom of letting go of what holds me back is such a powerful reward that it is all worth it.

What am I pursuing? I am seeking to be me. In me is this knowing that there is more to me than what I show, tell or do. There is a disconnect, a gap that I am always closing. The gap arises in simple as well as complex situations.  A simple one might be a decision to go somewhere like an event with someone. Inside me is a knowing that says no way. But I go. I end up having a miserable time because I did not listen. The event was not for me, at least in the stage and state of my being at the time. 

A more complex situation might be the dance in a relationship, whether friend or partner, whereby you catch yourself not sharing all. The dance is partly an avoidance of conflict and partly a lack of clarity in self. Asserting self requires strength in knowing self. What is revealed here is a reluctance to be me fully and instead a compromise for safety and comfort.  It might be learned from past failed attempts or it might be misperception self created in your head.

In all situations there is only one antidote – love. Yes that word. Love for self. Love for the other. Not romantic love, but platonic all encompassing empathetic you and I are the same love.  This is not an easy place to get to hence the retreat into the disconnect. You see for me when I genuinely connect into that feeling inside of me of love I do not have fear.  This is the place from which I aim to share.

All is still private. All is still self controlled in the reveal. Yet the intention and space opens up to more possibility, more authenticity. Yes it is from this place that we are more genuine, real and authentic.

In other words authenticity is love. Love of self in all your glory. Love of others in theirs. We suspend judgement, comparison, criticism, copying of others. We let go of internal critics, complainers and blamers. We simply connect and share.

Reality check. Not that easy. Hence my assertion that you really don’t know me, only I do.  Yet the rub is that because I am still learning and becoming me I do not really know me 100% either.

So the journey of authenticity is about closing this gap. It is about knowing me better so you can know me too.