Want to be strong? Allow yourself to be seen

Here’s something about our life courage that’s become obvious in my public speaking classes.

We know instinctively that the group consciousness can see through our flaws and failings like an x-ray. Which is why many of us would rather have a heart attack at 36,000 feet. (I didn’t make that up; one survey of our greatest fears found that the average level of fear of public speaking is greater than the fear of death and the fear of flying combined.)  So through body language and voice we can’t help but display our fear to the audience. How ironic. The fear is usually more damaging to our status than any imperfections we might harbor. (Well, okay, it doesn’t apply to you if you mug little old ladies and steal candy from babies.)

An old story, yes? The fear is itself the enemy.

And the rest of our lives?  It’s no different. That fear of being seen through makes us cultivate veneers to present to the world, even though all veneers become transparent. Many take their veneers into marriage, where they swiftly become see-through to the audience of one.

Here’s the point. The reverse is also true. The most magnetic, intriguing, influential personalities are those who have reached this understanding of life: Yes, people can see through my flaws and failings and I’m okay with that. What a release! What a buzz! What a feeling of confidence and strength! When we don’t care so much about what others think of us, that inner state in itself makes others think better of us. They can’t read such thoughts directly of course, they’re simply attracted to the greater strength they sense in us.

We can be whoever we want to be, obeying no external guidelines. Don’t be shocked. This has nothing to do with right or wrong, good or bad (see the principle of existence) – this has only to do with our individual strength.

Of course, there’s one little drawback to allowing ourselves to be seen through. What if we can’t stand seeing our own flaws and failings? Our own separation from our own idea of what we should be. Well now we’re looking at one of the prime causes of illness. Next time, let’s look at a really old-fashioned concept and the way it directs our health and well-being: internal honour.