What Does Hiding Look Like
People hide to stay safe. It’s typically shame driven and comes from the deep fear that if others see who we really are, they won’t like us and will abandon us.
The truth is, it hurts us because not only do others not get to know us, we don’t get to know ourselves.
So our whole lives are spent creating a vision of someone that we’re not to satisfy someone who may not be a fit for our real selves or might like the authentic version better!
Let’s Look at Some Examples
“Tonya” was seductive. She flirted and teased those that she liked because she didn’t know what else to say. She felt awkward inside and focusing on sex gave them something to talk about and a way to pass the time. She ended up having sex with people that she didn’t really want to because she just wanted company.”Richard” hid in plain sight. He blended into the background by wearing what others were wearing, doing what others were doing, and following whatever trend advertisers were successfully selling whether it was Hot Yoga or trips to Bali. When he found himself with a wife, job, and home he didn’t like, he didn’t know what to do.”Jerry” felt like a prisoner in his own home. The opinion of his wife and kids mattered more than anything, so he spent his day trying to please them and never making a false step. This kept him so on edge. He wanted to be with them, but it was exhausting. His nervous system was so on high alert that the only time he felt comfortable was when he was alone.”Elias’s” wife complained that he was weak and passive. He never said what he liked or wanted. He had no opinions. He thought it was good to be easy-going, undemanding, and kind. He couldn’t understand why she was criticizing him for this. He was a good guy!”Babs” grew up in a large and loud family. Although she loved her family, she often felt overwhelmed. She coped by being invisible and not speaking up. When she got older, she realized nobody ever asked her what her opinions were, so she really had no idea.
In all of these examples, the person who is hiding is trying to maintain connection and peace, but the things they are doing to get it actually create stress, isolation, and interfere with true intimacy. It may even push people away.
How To Break Out And Show Yourself
Start small. You didn’t get here in one day, so give yourself time to get to know yourself slowly.Speak up. We all have thoughts. It’s okay to share them. Talk about yourself. If you have an opinion share it – especially if it’s different from someone else’s. If you have something that can save someone time, effort, or headache, offer it. Ask for what you want. It’s okay to receive, too!Ask yourself questions. What did I mean by that? What would I like? How did I feel about that? What is it about that that scares me? Is it in my best interest to do that? What am I trying to accomplish?
These types of questions can help you become more clear about your motivations and desires. They can help you get to know you. You can’t be you if you don’t know you.Put yourself first. People who hide tend to be people pleasers. They put other’s needs above their own. Consequently, it rarely gets to be their turn.
Put yourself first. I know this won’t be easy, and it may feel selfish. Do it anyway. It’s not selfish. It’s self love. It doesn’t mean others don’t matter. It means you do, too.
Tell the truth. Everyone doesn’t need to hear it, but you do need to speak it to yourself.
Be receptive to life as it is. Hiding is a way of protecting yourself from life. This armor keeps out the good and the bad. Let it all in. You can handle it.
Good comes with bad. There is no inside without an outside. Every beginning has an end. The only way to have life is to embrace it all. So, let it in. You don’t have to keep the parts that aren’t yours and you can move through the ugly bits that are yours. Just keep swimming.