We all would like to strike the perfect balance of going under the radar and just sticking out enough to be valued for our contribution – it’s the balance that allows us to safely be part of the group and not be thrown out into the wild where we have to die.
You may argue you are not a caveman. BUT our thinking in this hasn’t really changed – evolution is all I say… and thus it’s predictable we spend a lot of our life worrying whether we showed up perfectly.
Consequently, we end up thinking that being fully expressed just isn’t a thing we should do. Instead we manage our presence, hide and show up just a bit, in the hope of getting it right.
Only it’s a) tiring and b) it doesn’t work.
See, it’s a bit like my grey pony trying to be bay by putting on a nice coat of mud. The bays still notice something odd shimmering. They won’t like the pony just because mud. If anything they’ll get even more suspicious. Honestly, I don’t think even the cavemen really appreciated people hiding and managing.
And yet, it’s SCARY to just stop with this and shine unapologetically.
I mean, imagine we decided to show up with our most authentic, raw self, starting tomorrow. Full-stop. And some people WILL not like it. What is likely going to happen? We get scared to death. (Quite literally!) Not being liked for who we pretend to be is one thing – we can always tune our appearance. Not being liked for who we ARE – whole other story.
Now you might argue that you know quite a lot of people wo go to the other extreme. They DO shine and attract attention, hell yeah. As someone who can do both quite well I can assure you: Oftentimes, it’s just as much a of a strategy as hiding. Presenting the perfect, polished version everyone will admire – a whole lot of work.
If “just do the other thing” isn’t the way out, what is?
Cavemen love people who feel comfortable in their skin. Surprise, surprise, we do, too. And unfortunately, getting there isn’t an easy fix – it’s a process. We get comfortable in our skin by stretching what is. By experimenting, going a bit too far one way, learning from it and then calibrate. We won’t find our natural, effortless presence without going a bit overboard one way or another first.
To some extent, we need to be willing to face the fears of not being loved as who we are. It’s a bit like oil and water dividing: Some people won’t like us (reminder: It usually means more about them than about us), but a lot of people will feel a ton more connected. Genuine shine just attracts.
Ultimately, it’s a choice.
Presence is such a multidimensional, multifaceted thing – different opportunities, different people stick out with their unique strengths. It’s not like some of us just got this white coat – we all do, depending on the situation.
Yes, some do a bit more overall. But for one, it’s not all that much – we just tend to get fixated on the fact that we do. On the other hand, I personally look at it as a service to humanity to own what is: If even those of us who have a strong presence don’t shine, how would someone else dare to do so?
Either way, we get to choose: Do we want to walk the path, face the fears and come out the other end with a more courageous, yet much more effortless way of being, serving others and ourselves? Or do we prefer to feel safe even if it’s strenuous, but really, it’s not all that bad? Both are fine. You get to decide 💖