“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.” Marianne Williamson
Many moons ago I took an intro to psychology class at Cedar Valley Community College. In that class we learned about two guys, Joe and Harry, who had a famous window. In psychology this window describes in part the processes of human interaction and personal awareness. The graphic above succinctly shows how we tend to share information about ourselves with others – or not. It also teaches us that we don’t know everything there is to know — about ourselves or anyone else for that matter. Shocker, I know.
The most frightening pane in the window to me is the piece which indicates our blind spots – What we don’t know about ourselves, but others do. It’s much like the Emperor’s proverbial new clothes. Completely out of our awareness we’re walking around letting it all hang out!
If you have surrounded yourself with loving, kind and compassionate friends and family these blind spots can be revealed, if needed, through loving feedback. (I should mention that it’s generally a good idea to proceed with caution if and when pointing out others’ blind spots. Unless we have been specifically asked for this kind of feedback it can register as harsh criticism and do harm that we did not intend.) We should likewise be careful who we ask should we desire to become more aware of a blind spot. We should also check our motives. Are we truly wanting feedback because we’re ready to accept this part of ourselves with kindness and non judgment? or do we simply want to add another weapon to our self critic’s arsenal of tactics designed to keep us small?
I’ve heard it said that other people’s opinions of us are none of our business. I would answer with another well known quip, “Consider the source.” Being open and vulnerable to new information about ourselves shared in love and kindness can be a growth opportunity. However, if I seek “feedback” from individuals who have continually hurt me or criticized me harshly and/or proven time and again that they have anything but my best interest in mind, the information I receive will be erroneous at best, and quite possibly cause irreparable damage to me and to the relationship. Choose wisely.
I have lately found myself struggling in this arena. And I believe I’m struggling with the “other people’s opinions who are none of my business” piece of it all. You might recognize these folks as the “somebodies” out there. In my head the conversation goes something like this, “What if you post that on Facebook and “somebody” doesn’t like it?” “What if you write that post and “somebody” disagrees?” “What if you tell your friends about the workshop you’re facilitating this summer and no one wants to attend?” “What if people think you’re crazy?” “What if you’re not good enough or smart enough or this enough or that enough?”
And then I have to rest. Because all that what-if-ing wears. me. out. Then I either laugh a little or cry a little and try once again to get over myself. I ask someone who loves me to remind me that I am enough. And on a really good day, I become that somebody who loves me and can tell me, “I am enough.”
With my Whole Heart,