The Truth About Hiding

As published in Sybil Magazine, January 2015
As published in Sybil Magazine, January 2015
(#1 of a series of 12 articles on ‘Unlocking Your Sacred Power’)

When it comes to sharing our gifts and our wisdom with the world – that is, really sharing ourselves in our fullest brilliance and expression – why do so many women still hold back? As Marianne Williamson has said, “Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.”  But WHY? Why are so many brilliant, talented women – heads of organizations, academics, women launching their own businesses – afraid of their brilliance, light and power?

In the process of helping women claim their unique power and wisdom, and working with my own fears of visibility, I’ve found many reasons we hold back. Sometimes it’s fear of an embarrassing failure, of somehow being ‘not enough’ or ‘too much’. Sometimes we think we need more time to perfect our talents, believing we’re ‘not ready’. Sometimes we’re afraid we’d lose the approval of loved ones if we stepped out more boldly. Or fear what more power and responsibility could cost us – or our families. And sometimes we hold back because of the uncomfortable uncertainty we feel when we step into new roles and territory.

But the fear of our light and power reaches far beyond our personal psychology. It’s buried deep in our experiences of a world that doesn’t always value our unique gifts and perspectives, and in the collective history of women. As gifted helpers, teachers and healers, many of us have learned to hide our most treasured gifts so as to keep them – and us – safe. Safe from possible misunderstanding, ridicule, judgement, and sometimes even violence. The roots of those fears go deep – to the witch-burning trials and beyond.

It’s important to acknowledge our fears and the strategies we’ve adopted to protect us. But it’s equally important to weigh their cost. Dimming down can drain our aliveness, joy and fulfillment. It can dull our relationships, create a glass ceiling on our career success and our earning potential. And when we hide our truth from others, it becomes harder for us to see it too. But there’s an even larger cost. Holding back our light cheats the world of what only we can offer.

This moment of history is asking women to discover our unique gifts, to reach past our fears to our courage and power. To speak and live the messages of our hearts, intuition, and greater knowing. To act on behalf of what is most dear to us. And to support each other – as sisters rather than rivals – as we do it. Releasing our tender gifts into the world can be the most vulnerable act of courage and love we’ll ever take. But as we each step into our unique power, we give others permission to do the same. And thereby birth a new world.

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