Dimming Your Light? Don’t Do That!

Recently I was at a meeting of the women’s group in my church. We were discussing a video we had seen about love, and someone made a comment about how they had struggled since the last election. Someone else said that she felt our group should be a “no politics” zone. Really? “No politics,” hmm…that doesn’t work for me.

Here’s the thing: I don’t segment my life that way. Politics, creativity, spirituality—they are all part and parcel of me, and I am not leaving pieces of me at the door or by the wayside so that “other people” aren’t uncomfortable.

If I have a no politics zone, what comes next? What other difficult conversation do I turn my back on? What other subject becomes forbidden? What other piece of who I truly am stays hidden so that you are not, in fact, meeting me? Not all of me, just the pieces that might be acceptable. The pieces that won’t challenge you. Or me.

Bringing all of who we are to the interactions that we have with others is scary as hell. What if they don’t like this or that part of who we are? What if this belief or that way of being in the world is unacceptable to them? What if we are ostracized? What if we find ourselves alone? That’s the fear, and it may happen for a bit; you may, in fact, be in a group that are simply not your people.

But your people, my people, are out there, and the only way that we find each other is to tell the truth of who we are: the whole, messy, entire truth.

More than that, I believe that the only way we heal the divisions between us is to allow ourselves to be fully seen. To be willing to risk showing up as who we are, with our fears, scars, warts, and all—because it’s then that our humanity connects with the humanity of others. It is then that we become relatable.

Think about that person you’ve always admired but felt a bit intimidated by. They seem to have it all together, whatever “it” is: job, relationships, lifestyle, family, or the whole package. Their apparently perfect life makes it really hard to feel that we have anything to offer them. Hard to believe that they have ever felt the frustrations and anxieties that we experience.

Then something happens, the curtain is pulled back, and we see that they, too, have fears and flaws. That’s when we start to feel like we know them in a deeper way. That’s when we start to connect as one struggling human to another. That’s when we can build a real relationship with them. But for this to happen. we need to show up as who we are.

For real connection to happen, we have to be less concerned about awkward or difficult conversations and more concerned about the truth.

All those things that most of us were taught to not discuss in “polite company”—money, sex, our screw-ups, politics, our family, or our specific struggles are the very things that all of us share in common. Each of us is concerned with at least some of those things. Being able to talk about our experience and how we got to the place and beliefs we currently hold opens space. Space for someone else to do the same. Space to connect. Space to develop empathy. Not to change minds, but to be heard and to hear so that we can understand.

So I won’t accept a “no politics” zone. I won’t silence myself and leave bits of myself outside, as though they are somehow shameful. I will speak my creative, spiritual, and political truth with as much openness, grace, and love as I can, and support others in doing the same. I won’t dim my light so that others are comfortable. Neither should you.

 

Previously published: https://www.omkariwilliams.com

About the Author | Omkari Williams

Omkari, a speaker, writer, and life/creativity coach, began her professional life as an actor, work that perfectly suited her fascination with story. For over 20 years she was able to explore stories of characters, while fictional, who spoke to universal human truths. In the middle she decided to make a change and explore other aspects of life. Now she speaks and writes about how sharing our stories can build bridges that will help heal our deeply fractured world. As a coach she works with people who want to live their daily lives with intention, meaning and passion. A native of Manhattan she now lives in Savannah, GA, a city that loves it stories. You can keep up with her at omkariwilliams.com

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2 comments to "Dimming Your Light? Don’t Do That!"

  • Wendy Williams

    Omkari this was beautifully written and I can see the sincerity of your words from your heart.

    Often I find myself spending too much time helping others to feel comfortable in our conversation or in whatever we are doing. I choose my words carefully and bite my tongue when I feel my truth can or could be hurtful to others because of their way of seeing things
    . I have been doing this ever since I was a child. Now at 55, I have learned to stop silencing my truth and what comes from my heart just to please and or make others feel better.
    It has been a long journey getting here. It took a while to know for sure what my truth is and how sure of myself did I feel to express it openly and honestly.
    Learning to express me through landscape photography helped a lot in learning self-confidence and feeling good about putting myself up front and live for all to see and hear my truth.
    Having health issues that slowed my life down made me go inward and try to hide from the world.
    Life is too precious to not live it fully no matter what and I am so glad there are coaches out there like you that encourages many of us to express our truth and keep moving forward.
    Thank you Omkari

    • Omkari Williams

      Thank you, Wendy. I am delighted that my words have touched a cord for you.

      Keep shining your light into the world.

      Best,
      Omkari