I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the difficulty human beings have in being seen by others when feeling vulnerable, messy, or a bit lost. I suppose it’s not surprising to feel “less than” in these situations when we live in a culture that stresses perfectionism and fails to value the lessons of mistakes.
We know that human beings learn to incorporate new behaviors through a process of trial and error. But what happens to learning when we only engage in activities that we know we can succeed at? What happens to us when we stop taking risks for fear that we will be mocked or shamed if we fail? When we abhor the “error” part of the equation?
We may fear that others will judge us or not like us, further reinforcing some internal belief that we are only worthy when we are wise and resilient, instead of the dysregulated or uncontained demeanor we may truly be experiencing.
It takes great courage to walk through the door for your first therapy appointment and it’s understandable that there are concerns about how the therapist will perceive you and the issues you bring to treatment. We all long to be held in high esteem by others, particularly when we are feeling at our most vulnerable.
I think this might help explain why, despite long wait lists for therapists and the affordability of group therapy, many of us choose the path of individual treatment, fearing that having our messiness on display to peers will invite judgement or dismissal.
Yet, being together and “allowing ourselves to be seen” during these very human moments is exactly what is required to begin to accept and love ourselves through places of difficulty. The antithesis to experiencing ourselves as weak and unworthy when we suffer, is to allow ourselves to be held and supported by others who see our inherent value despite our messiness.
In the aftermath of Covid, it may take us a bit to come back out of our shells and engage in communal activities. This is particularly true for communal healing offerings that may ask us to look at the challenges and grief associated with the last few years. While we are finding our way back, we are all still feeling the vulnerability and the effects of having our lives so disrupted.
As The Center for Mindful Living begins to offer more opportunities for communal healing, through workshops and group therapy, I invite you to take the risk of being seen by others as you are. Challenge the internal and culturally reinforced belief that you’ll be able to be with strangers once you look more successful or put together, despite how you feel.
You are worthy just as you are right now. Don’t put off your healing or personal growth until you “look better” to others. You have gifts, strengths, and wisdom to share that are needed now.
Blessings on your journey,
Louisa has always enjoyed writing and is thrilled that she now has a way to share her musings with a larger community of like-minded seekers. Her writing is often an extension and exploration of the struggles she faces in integrating her own spirituality, scholarly study, life experience, and nuggets of brilliance from her teachers in the hopes that it might alchemically transform itself into something approximating wisdom.