When we are happy and grateful, is it better to talk about it or is it better to hide it, so people don’t feel insecure or bad around us?
This week I had a client asking me this question. My answer was the following quote from the movie Coach Carter:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate,
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measures.
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
You playing small, does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We were all meant to shine as children do.
It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone.
And, as we let our own light shine, we consciously give
other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our fear,
our presence automatically liberates others”.
He followed with the very valid question: “If this is the right way of thinking of this matter, why does it feel like we are disconnecting from others when we do that?” Isn’t that insensitive?
You may argue now that people on social media share only moments of happiness and joy. True! Though, that is an answer for a very different question.
But why do we tend to shrink when we truly authentically look gratitude in the eye?
When there is just “too much” good happening, what is that sense of fear and guilt that we tend to feel?
Later that evening I flew to one of the most beautiful Greek islands to a hotel with the most spectacular view I have ever seen. The first thought that popped into my mind was that I should not post it on social media or share it with anyone because this is my third trip for no reason this month and this is just too beautiful. My second thought was: I don’t deserve this life! Why does life treat me so great?!
It is similar to the thought my client shared with me: “I felt bad telling my friend that what I do works and makes me happy.”
In the world of psychology, we call this voice the “EGO”, the one that doesn’t come from our true self, but it comes from the self that had been created by the world we live in since we were children. The one that we use so much, that it shows up in a way that we tend to call it ME. We tend to identify with that entity so automatically that we are not even aware of it anymore.
The voice of the “EGO” is mean, judgmental, and not at all our friend or even friend with others. It makes us want to fit in instead of belonging. In case of this story, it had made our true self want to shrink to fit in, feel accepted and it had given us a false sense of connection.
So, what can we do to shut this mean voice up and connect better with others?
There is another voice inside of us which is much harder to hear. We had learnt to ignore it since we were children.
Right after I heard that mean voice of ego, I started to observe myself. I realized that I feel bad to share my good news or my joy only with certain people and most of all, I simply just assumed that it would not be a good idea. It was an automatic thought.
The other voice had a much better impact on me and it allowed me to share my joy, which is so necessary, because “Happiness is real, only when it is shared.”
As soon as we allow ourselves to feel abundance and gratitude, we allow others to feel it too.
By exposing your joy and gratitude, you allow other people to do the same. It comes from love, it motivates, it lights you and others up.
To hear this other voice, we need to practice self-observation, awareness and it requires us to be brave to hear it. We need to be brave to hear that voice and do what it says to live an authentic life and to belong instead of fit in.
To belong is our primal human need without which life becomes threatening. It is just as important as food or water to our body.
When our true self is pushed down by our ego, we don’t fully show up as we are in our essence and it prevents us from belonging. We will only fit in and lie to our body for a while that we are giving it its “food”.
So, to answer my clients and my question and the question that many of us can relate to is: