Lately I’m noticing the way I ‘hide’ in various life situations––I keep quiet. I blend into the background. I try not to stand out. It’s a direct result of a learned behavior that taught me it was not safe, nor advantageous to take up too much space.
Learning about my past trauma has uncovered a great many things about life I didn’t notice before, my tendency to hide being one of them. I was never encouraged to find and claim my voice.
What I also know now that I didn’t know as a child is that I’m a sensitive being; I can feel explicitly the energy of those around me, good and bad. Negative energy takes the wind out of my sails and leaves me lying on the floor in a heap for hours. It depletes me. I also know that as a sensitive child, my needs were often unmet, not out of neglect, but simply because of the nature of the child I was. I wanted (needed) to be seen and heard; instead I was met with the infamous “stop crying or I’ll give you something to cry about,” which translated into ‘shut up, you’re being too much.’ Eventually we learn to cope with our situations and surroundings, and coping for me, led to hiding. It was easier.
What do you do when you no longer have to hide, though? When you find yourself in a different environment and you have the freedom that comes with being an adult? You find ways to be seen. You find ways to be fun, maybe even the center of attention. And that, my friends, led to a complete abstraction of my true nature. The hiding ultimately led to too much alcohol and dabbling in drugs as a young adult, as a way of finally being seen.
Isn’t the uncovering of conditioning interesting?
According to past behavior, it would seem the hiding shows up in a variety of scenarios today, BUT I’m now questioning whether it’s true hiding, or a leveling up of my true self, the one that never felt good enough to show. Sometimes I choose not to speak because I have nothing to say, or because I don’t have the energy to convince the other person of my position, or because I just don’t care that much. All of those situations instead point to an honoring of my true nature (quiet and introverted). They also speak to learning to be strong and to stand firm in my convictions.
It’s all a work in process. I am a work in process. I will continue to explore it and notice each time I pull away instead of moving toward a situation that makes me uncomfortable. Instead of assuming that others have a judgement about my silence, perhaps the best thing to do is to explore why I’m being quiet. Is it because of insecurity or is it because I have nothing to contribute to the conversation? Too many people speak without really saying that much.