Hiding in Plain Sight

Happy TribeLife Tuesday! 

Is hiding the best place not to be seen?

As I have gotten older, my bent has become to hide before being misunderstood. UGH no! I don’t even agree with this statement, but it has been what I have lived over the last half decade. So what is one to do about that?

When I intentionally sit down and reflect on how I got here and when I ask myself what has contributed to this posture, the beautiful unraveling begins. There were so many years when standing in who I was, was misinterpreted and then labeled. Because labeling someone makes it easier for us to comprehend. Putting people into the "appropriate" box alleviates our responsibility to stay human, to choose kindness, and to walk in humility. Unfortunately it also feeds the beast of judgement and if there is one thing our culture doesn’t need more of, it's judgement. With each encounter we have with others, we get the opportunity to see them for who they are. Not even so much who they portray, but the greatness of who they are. 

Seeing people for who they are, most of the time, takes us out of the equation. It’s not about how we perceive them, it’s about seeing beyond the surface. I have found it to be much easier to see people when I choose kindness first, when I refuse to cast a preconceived notion on them. For example, I live in a very urban area and with that comes a plethora of humanity. Our homeless population is pretty large and they are very much a part of our community. I have been in my office (aka: coffee shops) and have had the privilege of witnessing something palliative. It’s the well dressed business person alongside the table where the homeless person takes a moment to rest. This is a beautifully raw part of life. 

So, let's get back to preconceived notions. It is easy to see the homeless person at the stop light, avoid eye contact, and pray the light turns green before they walk past your window. I get it, I’ve been there. I once ran a red light just to avoid having to sit at the intersection with a homeless person. I felt guilty about it for days, so I’m not proud of that moment. But that’s just it. I saw a beggar who needed something from me that I didn’t want to give. Time and money. It was about me and what I perceived they needed. I labeled them and ran past. And the crazy thing is, even as I write this, I’m realizing the same thing has been done to me. I have also been perceived as something, labeled, and pushed away. The truth is—we all have. Tribe, this is never a fun experience. But misunderstandings are avoidable if we chose courage over fear. 

Have you ever been misunderstood? Labeled? Pushed away? 

If so, then you have the gift of awareness and you get to be part of the solution. You get to course-correct for the next person. 

Ellen Degeneres summed it up perfectly when she said, “Give and be kind.” 

Are you in?

~ Carrie