Acceptance and Invisibility

Photo by Thom Gonzalez on

“Your need for acceptance can make you invisible in this world.  Pick up the light and dare to be seen,” Jim Carrey.  At our core, humanity is good.  Think of children growing up, the light they share with the world, unashamed and unfiltered in their speech and carriage.  Children are open to any possibility out there and they still allow for their imaginations to run wild.  We teach children the “norms” and ways of life and make them submit to docility and the same path we have always known.  We praise their creativity until they are old enough to be indoctrinated and make them become something that, at their core, they are not.  A child will not typically willingly submit to education, sitting in a school for eight hours a day, learning various subjects and being judged on it by their ability to remember not apply what they learn.  Kids learn through exploration, touch, feel, and feral wonder.  We shove books at them.  Now don’t get me wrong, education is valuable (especially the basics like reading and writing and math), I just think we need to change our method and evaluation. 

What we have offers support for those who stay the line.  What we need is something that develops who we are, recognizes our talents, and pushes us toward making our light shine.  I see the things that spark interest in my son and he does well in school in those areas.  He struggles with things that do not align with him.  This is where Carrey’s quote comes in.  We care more about acceptance from the main stream than we do about learning to hone and develop the qualities that would shape our personal lives.  We are taught that in school, from our family, and even from our friends.  It plays on our innate desire to be part of the crowd so we aren’t lost or shunned from the herd.  When we release that need for approval, something happens.  Yes, there is the fear of abandonment, but there is also the possibility of acceptance by something greater: yourself, and those who see you.

This world has too many invisible people.  We went for too long thinking our gifts were either shameful or not practical so we hid them.  We praise those who go with it and admire those who step out of the shadow, but we seldom figure out what we need for ourselves.  I know we each have a burning calling toward something.  You may not hear or feel it every day, but it’s there because you DO feel it.  What happens when you get curious about that calling instead of suppressing it?  What happens if you feel your way into that a bit more?  What happens when the weight of being what you were supposed to be is heavier than what you are?  I honestly think that’s what happens to most people: they bear the burden of the shoulds and musts until it becomes so heavy it crushes who they are.  They mistake that weight for comfort and reality and most never bother to take it off.  Not that the good or the curiosity is lost, it just becomes more uncomfortable to explore it than it does to deal with the weight of what you “should” do.

When we answer the call, I can tell you this much: the beginning is simultaneously scary and exciting.  It feels like exploring a place you shouldn’t be.  The more you dive in and peel back the layers, the more questions you have about the possibilities you start to see, the more comfortable that becomes and the more curious you can be.  Then that leads to the next level, the next discovery and so on.  It brings us back to that child like wonder and the joy we felt in the freedom of simply DOING.  Kids don’t need reasons to do anything.  One second they want to draw and the next second they’re an astronaut running around your living room preparing to take off for outer space, and it’s simply because they want to.  I honestly think if we were allowed to explore that for longer, we would see some very different adults making different choices in their lives.  There is no harm in discovery, in fact, it is necessary.  If someone didn’t start asking the questions previously, we wouldn’t know what we know now.  So let’s get back to that and ask the questions we feel, let’s honor the nature of who we are, and let’s learn enough about that to shine our light and bring forward that version of us.  It’s there.  Let’s learn to do it for ourselves and then help others do the same.  Bring the light to the world.

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