I wonder sometimes what we are all missing out on because so many of us just don’t feel safe and comfortable enough to show up in the world as our fullest selves.
One thing I believe deeply is that every human I encounter, alive or dead, has something valuable to teach me.
And not just the obvious ones like Jesus, Siddhartha Gautama, or Mother Theresa (whose leadership and teachings have fundamentally impacted the way I conceptualize my own human purpose and responsibilities).
But literally everyone.
The other moms with familiar vacant eyes who share my same waiting room.
The cashier behind the register who so gently returns the pack of gum to my child after scanning it in.
The person rushing past me on the road, only to awkwardly avoid my gaze as we end up nose to nose at the next red light.
Who are these people? What are they facing today? What do they know and understand about the world that is so specific to them that I could never learn it from anyone else?
Sometimes it feels like I have to physically restrain myself from begging them to show me the full spectrum of all their shadow and light.
Humans used to terrify me. The number of social interactions that still have me crawling in my skin at the memory of my anxiety-induced insanity is staggering. But when I finally realized that each person I meet is filled with a deeply personal and specific type of wisdom, I didn’t want to hide and isolate myself anymore. The possibility of missing out on learning from so many potential teachers has become too great a risk.
Now, as I come further and further out of hiding myself and open up to the possibility that I could also be the teacher that someone needs, I find myself wondering what brilliance is being kept from the world because so many of us are still in hiding.
What could we learn and accomplish together if we all gave up the ruse of playing out our assigned parts and instead showed up daily in our own glorious, messy, brilliance?!
Perhaps it is selfish, but it saddens me to think about what I might be missing out on because someone around me has learned that they must hide pieces of themselves in order to stay safe.
How do I coax them out of their shell and into the warmth and brilliance of coming home to themselves by learning to cultivate safety from within?
My only hope is that, as I continue working to show up in the world in all of my own messy imperfection, I will somehow be giving others around me permission to do the same.