The desire to be seen as we truly are, with no hidden agendas, no cloaking, no masks, no apologies, is like a dull ache that never goes away. We long to be deemed as valuable simply because of who we are, not because of what we contribute or how hard we work, or how much easier we make someone else’s life; to be considered beautiful even if we don’t resemble the photo-shopped images taunting us from the latest magazine cover. It is the cry of our heart when we take the time to listen, the motivation that we may not even be aware of that drives us. We long to be known.
Most of us were young when we first felt the pain of rejection in some form, and quickly deduced that perhaps it was best not to be vulnerable. We learned to only project what was acceptable to earn ourselves appreciation, or at the very least, no attention at all rather than the dreaded rejection. We became adept at what our peers and elders considered valuable, all the while lugging around the knowledge that who we truly are is not enough. And sometimes, in the event that our true nature leaked out, we were horrified to discover that we were in that moment too much: too loud, too weak, too strong, too quiet, too bold, too clumsy, too fast, too slow… Again, the unedited version of our selves was unacceptable. We learned to adapt over the years, honing “the imposter” (as Brennan Manning liked to call our false selves) into what would either let us fly under the radar enough to not be scorned, or would land us with acclaim and pleasure, however ill-founded. Granted, the weapons that caused such damage may not have been considered capable of such deeds by any one else, but to us, they crippled our esteem. In our world, there was something wrong with us, so we’d better make changes in order to survive.
What if we were wrong? What if the things we’ve learned to do to hide what we think is unacceptable is actually doing us more harm than good? What if instead of shirking the pain of rejection by hiding our true selves, we learn to hone that self? Learn to gently capitalize on our strengths, and bolster our weaknesses? Here’s the truth: there is no one else out there like you. Or me. And we are needed for our quirks, our idiosyncrasies, our talents, our gifts, and everything else that makes us who we are. So come out of hiding, my friend. Learn to like the sunlight once again. It may be painful at first because you’ve been in the shadows so long, but you will adjust. And so will we. Let’s dance to the rhythm of our individual drums together. Let’s learn to hear each other’s heartbeat, respecting where the other stands, and honoring our Creator by honoring each other.
Please step forward. You are wanted.