We want to be received for the fullness of who we are. There can be no doubt. Never is this more palpable than when we are complimented for a certain way of being. In the moment and at our best, we receive it and feel appreciated. (Even as we may squirm a little in discomfort. Yeah, it’s what we do.) But how many times have you gone back to the compliment and felt a pang of longing for a more panoramic view of your being? A pang of “but I’m so much more than just ______, aren’t I?” A desire to be seen for the whole being that you are.

There’s an excellent chance that that very compliment is one of the formative labels that you were assigned when you were very, very young. (There may have been more, but it’s the one you heard the most often.) You wore it with intention as a way of being understood and seen in the world.

“Little Miss Sunshine”? Check.

It’s been a home base of sorts. When you go to a party, you know how you’re supposed to act. What’s expected of you. Bring the lampshade, Wild One.

But the compliment feels incomplete because it IS incomplete. It is but one shining facet of the brilliance that you are.

No, no, please don’t disown it. It’s the stock base of the soup that is your deliciousness.  But it’s just ONE part of the soup. It’s the other ingredients that give it depth and substance. The otherselves that you keep high on the shelf for fear that people won’t like the taste.

See yourself the way you want to be seen


Take some time to consider the following::

  • What label were you given when you were younger?
  • Where do you still default to it?
  • What praise do you seek?
  • What criticism do you avoid?
  • How are they related?

And one final place to look: what assumptions are you making about what people expect of you?

Next time, see what happens when you leave the lampshade at home.