Background: The Week of Inward Looking was a week long project hosted by Patti Digh and Susan Piver. It officially took place during the week between Christmas and New Years. Each day, for seven days, a well known blogger/author (including Patti and Susan) asked a different creatively probing question to help participants both reflect on 2011 and start working toward a terrific 2012. Together, these seven extraordinary thinkers had a goal to use this inbetween week as “a time for examination, a time to build a bridge to a peaceful, joyful, creative, and wildly successful 2012–whatever success means to you.”
I will spend some time over the next few weeks posting my responses to some of these great questions. With this post I have copied my answer posted to the Week of Inward Looking Facebook page to the question posed by Ken Robert (of MildlyCreative.com) related to Coming Out of the Shadows.
From: Ken Robert
Full Question: In what way have I been living in the shadows in 2011? How might my life change if I came out into the light in 2012? What strengths could I discover and share if I gave up hiding my weaknesses?
Sometimes we stay hidden, fearful that others might see our wounds and blemishes. We think we’re the only ones who bear them. But I find that when I expose my weaknesses, I give others permission to expose theirs, too. There, beneath the light and in between the blemishes, we find we have strengths we never noticed before. Hiding becomes far less appealing and we’re drawn to living instead. In 2011, what were you hiding all year? What could you do to stop hiding in 2012? What treasures will you find when you step out into the light?
I hid in the shadows in 2011 mostly by keeping silent. I can think of specific examples of opportunities I had to tell someone how impressed I was with something they did but did not do so. I can think of examples of where I kept my emotions hidden. I can think of examples of not speaking up about how I really feel about a specific topic or controversial issue. I think I have stayed hidden in this way most of my life for fear of not being understood. Out of fear of letting people know that I see things differently than they do. And also because maybe I have just never felt like enough of an “elder statesman” to tell someone that I like what they are doing. By coming out into the light in 2012 and speaking up more I can better help promote the positive in the world and by doing so I will put my actions in line with my beleifs. Nothing changes unless things are put out in the open. Keeping silent only maintains the status quo. People need to hear about the things they are doing well. We all need to hear more about what is right with the world because we sure hear way too much about what is wrong with it. I want to help the world and by speaking up about what I see that is positive I can accomplish this. I plan to start coming out of this shadow in 2012 by either writing a thank you note or by personally telling someone how I see them making a differnce in the world at least once per day!! I look forward to stepping into the light!