Being Seen by Others

by Yen Uy


[photo credits] Photo by Cottonbro on Pexels

I’d like to share with you one of my favorite quotes from Brené Brown: “Vulnerability is about showing up and being seen. It’s tough to do that when we’re terrified about what people might see or think.”

In my experience, one of the most common topics clients bring to a coaching conversation almost always has something to do with being vulnerable. From being able to initiate an uncomfortable conversation to finding our way in a totally unfamiliar environment or situation, vulnerability always has its way of getting to us, calling us to show up and be seen. Most of us don’t like this. But what is it about being seen by others that poses a challenge?

The answer can be found in the second part of the quote above: we’re terrified about what people might see or think. Think long and hard about that for a second and ask yourself: what is something real about you that you’re afraid that other people will see?

Perhaps it’s not being as good at something that others believe you to be. Maybe it’s appearing weak when you show real emotions. Whatever your answer, being seen is about letting others see who you truly are. If you worry about what other people might see or think, then that means you need to examine what you really see.

The first investment you need to make is in your relationship with yourself. The truth is that we all have to start somewhere and we all have to work on ourselves. It’s important to be able to take a long, hard, deep look into yourself to know who you truly are, and to accept yourself. That makes all the difference. When you finally find out who you truly are at your core and are comfortable with it, then you can work towards the you who you wish to become – let’s call that grown-up version of you.

If we don’t take the time and opportunity to really see and know ourselves, we end up putting up facades–knowingly or unknowingly–when we face other people. When we find ourselves in moments when we need to set aside the facade, that’s when we resist. Sometimes, we wear it like a second skin that we feel naked without it–this barrier between the rest of the world and our true selves. Believe me, I know just how terrifying that can be. That anxiety of not knowing what others will see when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable.

When you embark on the journey of self-discovery, of loving yourself, and allowing yourself to be seen, then you are well on your way to living a full life. People will sense your authenticity and will be more willing to engage with you. When you accept yourself, you will show up more–even more so during difficult moments. Showing up opens you up to life.

It’s a little counter intuitive. We think that when people see the not-so-good parts of who we truly are, we will lose them. When we think this way, we put up walls around ourselves. But it’s this act of “protecting” ourselves that ends up hurting us because eventually, we also blind ourselves to who we truly are and miss the opportunities that allow us to express our unique selves. When that moment comes, when the real us needs to show up to move forward with our lives, what do we do?

Are you ready to discover yourself and be seen? Let me know. I’m here to help!