We all want to feel seen but nothing will change until we learn to see ourselves
You only have to glance at social media to know that so many of us are crying out to be seen. Why else would we spend so much of our time hustling for likes, follows, shares, and comments? Why else would we invest so many of our resources trying to push ourselves forward into the spotlight?
Many of us look at people who struggle with food, alcohol and drug addictions and feel a sense of relief that we’ve never felt compulsively gripped by those things without realising we’ve succumbed to an addiction of our own. An addiction that sees us constantly looking outside of ourselves for validation and approval.
We don’t crave alcohol – we crave being seen.
And yet what we haven’t yet grasped is that the answer to the emptiness we feel can’t be found outside of ourselves.
The only way we’ll ever feel seen is when we stop looking externally and start turning inward.
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We haven’t escaped addiction
“Addiction begins with the hope that something ‘out there’ can instantly fill up the emptiness inside” – Unknown
You may think that if you’ve never felt pulled towards the traditional addictive substances that you’ve hit the genetic jackpot and had a lucky escape.
But I’d put money on you being addicted to something.
Because here’s the thing – all most of us are doing is trading one form of addiction for another. We may be fortunate enough that our drug of choice isn’t one that has the potential to kill us but that doesn’t mean it comes without a cost.
I’ve never had any interest in drugs, alcohol or cigarettes but I grew up addicted to pleasing other people and keeping them happy because it earned me love and praise.
My drug of choice wasn’t cocaine, it was other people’s approval. I needed people to like who I was and the decisions I made. I needed people to tell me that who I was, was okay.
Up until a few months ago, I had spent my entire life looking outside of myself for proof that I am worthy.
I’ve felt invisible most of my life and that had nothing to do with not being seen by others and everything to do with me not seeing myself.
Don’t think you’ve escaped addiction just because you’ve chosen a poison that isn’t instantly recognisable. What you’re hooked on may not kill you physically but it sure as hell will kill you spiritually.
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Hustling for your worthiness
“You either walk inside your story and own it or you stand outside your story and hustle for your worthiness.” – Brene Brown
Out of all those Facebook friends and Instagram followers you have, how many of them do you feel truly connected to? How many feel like they’re genuinely part of your tribe? And how many serve no other purpose than to add to your numbers
Every day content is being put out into this world by people who are masquerading as someone else. They’re filling up quote cards and captions with words they don’t believe in.
They’re saying what everyone else is saying and what they think people want to hear because they desperately want to be seen.
Our social media feeds are full of people wanting to be the next Tony Robbins or Oprah, the next Lewis Howes or Brendon Burchard because they think that if they can copy their moves and hit the big time they’ll get the love and adoration that they’re craving.
But here’s the thing – no matter how much applause you get from the outside world it will never be enough because you’re choosing to place your self-worth in the hands of other people. You will never feel full until you stop desperately trying to get others to see you and start seeing yourself.
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“I really see no other solution than to turn inwards and to root out all the rottenness there. I no longer believe that we can change anything in the world until we first change ourselves. And that seems to me the only lesson to be learned.” – Etty Hillesum
Few of us question the stories we’re raised with until it’s too late, which is why so many of us die in pain. A deep spiritual pain that comes from realising too late that the stories we’ve been sold are nothing but lies and we’ve wasted our one precious shot at this life chasing the wrong things.
The mark of a successful life is not to have accrued a bunch of external achievements but rather to have awakened to the realisation that our greatest achievement is to reach the end having spent our lives getting to know ourselves.
When we look to the outside world for love, belonging, acceptance, approval, and validation we send a message to ourselves that we are not those things. That we don’t already contain all of that within us, that we are somehow lacking.
Putting all of those things in the hands of other people is how we end up in co-dependent or abusive relationships. It’s how we wind up with low self-esteem and low self-worth. It’s why we neither love nor believe in ourselves.
We don’t believe that we’re enough on our own. We think that in order to be worthy we need to be chasing things all the time instead of trusting that when we step into our power the Universe will work through us in the most beautiful of ways.
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Learn to see yourself
“The way you see yourself and feel about yourself will have a tremendous impact on how far you go in life and whether or not you fulfill your destiny.” – Joel Osteen
We live in a world that is deliberately geared towards the avoidance of getting to know yourself.
Every day we’re bombarded with stimulus from television programmes to cell phones to social media that ensure we’re kept busy being busy so that we can avoid doing the one thing we actually need to do, which is nothing.
The only way to learn to see yourself is to get comfortable with being rather than doing. Get comfortable with solitude, silence, and stillness. Get comfortable with being alone. If you constantly fill your life up with busyness your inner voice will never have a chance to come through and if your inner voice never has a chance to come through then you’ll never know who you are. If you never know who you are then you’ll always be looking to others to tell you who you are. If you never spend time seeing yourself you’ll always be looking to other people to see you.
It doesn’t matter what everyone else is doing or what anyone else is saying about you. You’re not going to get left behind by not doing or saying what everyone else is doing or saying. In fact, you’ll get further ahead by not following the crowd, most of whom are on the wrong path anyway.
All those things you’re looking to others to give you, start giving them to yourself. Stop caring about whether other people see you and start seeing yourself. Love yourself. Approve of yourself. Validate yourself. Praise yourself. Turn inward and realise that everything you need for your journey through life lies inside of you awaiting discovery.