This past week I realized a grave truth. For my whole entire life, I have been punished for what I see and what I know. I guess this goes along with coming into this world with gifts the world does not understand, let alone honor or support. The result of this lifetime of punishment (as the punishment continues) has been that for the most part, I choose not to share the depth of knowledge I am able to grasp based on what I see and understand because I know the consequence of that sharing. People don’t really want to know the truth. I am also aware of a deep level of shame that has been heaped on me as a result of my gifts – the unconscious (and unspoken) feeling that there must be something wrong with me for all the times I have been punished for simply being me. As the gift and myself are One, not only is the gift “wrong,” there must be something wrong with me too – for having and (gasp) daring to share (or just being) my gift.
But here’s the deal, I have rarely “shared” my gift. I don’t walk up to someone and say, “Here’s what I know about you just by being in your presence.” I have found that I don’t have to articulate my gift for people to “feel” its presence. It is more a gift of presence and awareness than one that is shared.
Here’s the true confession: my gift is the uncanny ability to “read” people – a gift I have learned is 100% accurate. The best way I can describe it is that I have the ability (I’m not sure I can even call it an ability as it’s not something I can “turn off”) to see into people’s Soul. I see beyond the appearance of the person into who they truly are. In this, I am able to see their TRUE SELF, along with all they try to hide from the world. It is really less of a seeing than a feeling and hearing. I see/feel/hear their fears and secret motivations. I also see their deceptions – both the lies they tell the world and the lies they tell themselves. I know when someone is being authentic and when they are living a lie.
Rarely in my life have I given words to these feelings, but people almost always know they are being “seen.” This is what has gotten me into trouble and where the punishment has taken place.
Let me give you a concrete example:
- I don’t know how I knew or what I saw or felt that told me this, but I knew there was something not right about my kindergarten teacher. I never said or did anything about that knowing. I was simply a regular 5/6 year old trying to figure out how to do this thing called school. But, for no reason whatsoever, my teacher HATED me! She essentially confessed this to my parents at conferences saying she didn’t know who had won at the end of the day, her or me. Apparently kindergarten is a battle? Because hindsight is 20/20, I now understand she hated me because on some level she knew I saw her. I saw her for who she really was – an emotionally unstable woman who had no business being in the classroom as she taped my mouth shut and locked me in a closet, and who threw another student into a fish tank which then shattered, exploding its contents all over the classroom! She was crazy and I knew it….and she knew I knew it. So I was punished both literally and figuratively by her hatred of me.
This punishment has been the theme of my life. Seeing the truth where truth does not want to be seen and then people hating me because on some subconscious level they know I see their truth – a truth they are either hiding from themselves or from the world. This punishment has been present in every single area of my life – with family, peers, teachers, in work environments, in the Church, etc. etc. etc. Me just being me (I can’t NOT see what I see) and people hating me because of it.
Admittedly, possessing this gift has made it difficult for me to be in and around people. I can’t shield my gift (neither would I want to) and apparently people can’t not feel themselves being seen. On a deeply personal level, being out in the world for me, is kind of like going into a war zone, never sure of what of other people’s feelings will be coming at me. The good news is that not everyone is afraid of being seen. For those who know themselves and who are comfortable with who they are in the world (who have nothing to hide), my presence is a gift. Under my gaze, they experience the feeling of being SEEN and this makes them feel good. So I’m careful. I go where I know I am safe and stay away from places where people hide (like in Church). I also spend a lot of time alone and am very careful with whom and how I share my space.
While I can guard my interactions with the world, the place I cannot is with the people I care about. It’s one thing to see that someone I hardly know is not the person they are pretending to be, it’s another thing to see and know what is happening in and around the people I love. For those closest to me, no shielding is required as we have cultivated the kind of relationship where we are able to be honest with ourselves and honest with each other. There is a mutual transparency and respect that allows space for us to call each other out on our crap (because there are times we are all guilty of not living our truth or taking responsibility for our unhealed wounds and fears). But for others, this is not the case. Couple this with the knowledge that we are all here to walk our own journey and it is not my job to interfere with a lesson someone needs to learn. I can’t really walk up to someone I know and say, “Hey, I’m not sure this is the person you want to marry,” or “if you continue along this path it will end in disaster.” Yeah, I could tell them, but either they won’t really hear me or they will hate me for telling the truth. In addition, who am I to deny someone of the lesson that relationship or experience will provide?
So I’m quiet. I watch. I wait. I’m honest when asked. But ultimately, I leave people to their own devises. And I do a LOT of self-care. The biggest piece of self-care I am invited to right now as it relates to simply being me is FORGIVENESS. Intellectually, I know there is nothing wrong with me for possessing these abilities. It is not my fault that many people don’t really want to be seen or that my presence triggers the unconscious shame they feel for living a lie. Neither am I doing anything wrong by just being me. I can’t help what I see and I know and I couldn’t turn it off if I tried (and neither should I). On an emotional level, I am aware of the pain of being hated for simply being me. It hurts to have people hate me just for being me. It is here I am thankful for the spiritual practices and tools I have that allow me to heal myself of this pain. Tonglen and Ho/oponopono have both proven especially helpful in the journey of healing as it relates to owning my gifts and transforming the pain that has arisen out of simply being me.