Marianne Williamson tells us that, “ our “playing small” does not serve us or the world. She encourages us that in shining our light “we are liberated from our own fear”, and that in doing so we “automatically liberate others”.
Sounds easy doesn’t it? But if it was easy to come out of hiding, wouldn’t you have done it long ago?!!!
I hope in this short article to give you some insight into the real reason why you hide away, and how to overcome the blocks that are keeping you from being seen.
Living in Hiding
For many years I lived in hiding. There were two Claire’s. There was the Claire I showed the world and then there was the “other Claire”. What the world saw was someone who appeared to be OK, who did a pretty good job of pulling the wool over people’s eyes, but they wondered why they didn’t feel quite comfortable with me, why they didn’t know quite what to say to me and why they kept their distance.
In fact I didn’t pull the wool over anyone’s eyes. They all knew I was in hiding but they didn’t know how to get me out. Neither did I?
This is why receiving the call to come out of hiding, isn’t enough.
I had been telling myself for years that I should come out of my shell.
The Secret Agent
I didn’t know about the other Claire – THE SECRET AGENT.
The Secret Agent is a shadowy figure that remains permanently undercover, but is always there – watching every move that you or anyone else makes.
The Secret Agent is one of those undercover agents that governments pay to keep an eye on their interests, ready to report back should they spot any activity that threatens national security.
The Secret Agent is constantly negotiating on your behalf. You probably set up your pact with the Secret Agent long ago, and even though many things have changed since then, the Secret Agent is still operating on those old instructions.
You will know the Secret Agent when there’s an opportunity to shine or to show yourself, that you instinctively shrink back.
For many people this is a very physical thing. They can feel the whole body contracting, often in the solar plexus area – as if you’ve just been given a punch. Sometimes this can feel as if your whole skin shrinks, so there’s an awful lot less room left in your body. Everything is packed close in.
This can be particularly powerful if you are in introvert, or fear the spotlight, or have had traqumatic experiences that caused you to shut down. You have probably experienced this many times.
Maybe you are like many people, you are so used to repressing how you feel, that you don’t even notice that you’re doing it. You’re so numb that you don’t know how shut down you really are.
This is another way in which you know that The Secret Agent is at work. The Secret Agent much prefers it when things remain hidden and unknown – deep in the realms of unconsciousness. That way he knows he is doing his job.
My Secret Agent was constantly doing deals on my behalf. So whilst I knew I needed to come out of my shell, my Secret Agent had conditions.
These are the kind of conditions that the Secret Agent can have:
I want to come out of hiding but I don’t want to be one of those awful, egotistical people who are always bragging about themselves, and so pleased with themselves and who everyone else thinks they’re embarrassing.
I want to have lots of money but I don’t want to one of those people who doesn’t know who their friends are.
I want to be very successful but I don’t want to be like XX.
LOOK at some of your goals/aspirations and the conditions that your Secret Agent puts on them.
“I want to be/do……….. but I don’t want to ….. if it means that I ……”
Note them down, and know that this is the voice of your Secret Agent. Get to know your Secret Agent’s voice, so you can distinguish it from your own.
My Secret Agent is Freaking Out!
I have just finished writing a book – and my Secret Agent is literally freaking out. Whilst there’s a part of me that is very excited about the book, there’s another part that is feeling very exposed. What will happen when the book is published? To the Secret Agent this sounds like a very threatening situation.
In the past that part has been very good at sabotaging opportunities that have come my way.
A very good example of this was a play reading I had when I was a playwright. There was a part of me that of course wanted the play reading to be an enormous success and for everyone to be raving about the play – the next West End sensation! I knew the play was very good and so did my agent.
But there was another part that felt very protective of my play, the Secret Agent. It had been such a profound inner journey writing the play, and whilst I was keen to show the play to the world. the Secret Agent part of me was not so sure that was a good idea. What would happen if the play was a major success. Would I be Claire any more? The Secret Agent was going to make sure nothing like that happened.
There was a very good turn out for this reading. Far better than expected. It seemed the most negative and critical people from miles around had turned up for my play. And they had a field day tearing my play to shreds. I was gob smacked and totally traumatised. Why were they saying these terrible things? Had they even listened to it? Why did they fail to see what the play was really all about?
A few weeks later when I went to another play reading – where the play was vastly inferior to mine, and people were positively kind, failing to pick up the most glaringly obvious faults in the play – I realised what had been going on. My Secret Agent had drawn all those critical people from miles around to attend my play reading, so that the real “light” of my play stayed protected and hidden from view. It wasn’t just my play that was protected, it was me too.
If this had happened once, I would have thought it grossly unfair – but in fact similar things have happened on many other occasions.
My Secret Agent was a master saboteur, keeping me from losing myself, and keeping my identity firmly intact. This is deep unconscious programming, that is powerful in its intensity, for which there is very little rhyme or reason.
Once you have understood how your Secret Agent operates, you can begin to unravel these powerful unconscious forces.
Try this exercise which will help you to uncovers some of the forces that keep you in hiding, and see what begins to shift.
Coming Out of Hiding Exercise
Think of an area in your life where you would like to be seen or where you instinctively know you are hiding. This could be an area of your career, relationships, family, or social life.
Close your eyes and allow yourself to connect with this area of you life. Notice the part of you that wants to be seen, and the part of you that wants to hide away.
Example. I notice there’s a part of me that’s really excited about the book, and but then I feel the part of me that’s hiding – and that’s really quite powerful. It feels like a scrunching in my solar plexus. As I go deeper into that I feel it’s as if I’m holding my arms up, as if I’m pushing the world away
Focus deeper on the part of you that’s hiding. If you can physicalise this – this is all the better. How does your body want to express this? What emotions are you noticing are there, as you do this?
Example. As I focus on the part of me that’s pushing the world away. I feel how much force there is in me. I feel my mouth turning into a growl – as if I was an animal protecting something. I was expecting there to be fear there, but there also seems to be a lot of anger there. I feel very fierce.
Be a little curious as to what this is all about.
Example. Hmmm this is a bit of a surprise. I see I’m still quite angry about all the times my work has not been understood and I’m still carrying this around with me. Therefore no wonder I want and need to protect myself from these experiences.
Turn your attention to your Secret Agent- what is he/she doing or saying.
Example. My Secret Agent is a bit like someone in an action movie. He’s hiding behind a pillar and he’s pointing a gun, and he knows that there are enemies all around him. But I’m rather pleased he’s more like the “good guy” in films who wins out in the end. He’s saying “I’m going to get them.” But then I wonder if that’s a good thing? Does that mean my Secret Agent is indestructible and I’m never going to get rid of him!
Ask yourself what that’s all about?
Example. I notice I’m quite pleased that my Secret Agent is a good guy, and clever and rather inscrutable. There’s a positive side to that. I rather like this secret agent. I think he’s telling that it’s as well to be prepared and not be naive. There are people out there who get a kick out of decimating other people. I’ve had enough experience of these people, to be wise to their games. This is why I need the Secret Agent!
Let the light shine on your Secret Agent and see what happens. Ask what is the higher purpose of your Secret Agent and how they can support you in coming out of hiding.
Example. As the light shines on my secret agent, I realise they are becoming more and more like a hero and that I could really do with a Secret Agent like this. I feel less alone, less exposed. It means that I can go forward with a lot more confidence – and maybe if that old sabotage pattern should turn up, my Secret Agent could take a pot shot at it.
Make a note of what you have learned from this exploration and what next steps you are willing to take. What is the best way you can support yourself in coming out of hiding.
Example. This exercise was hugely powerful for me. The next day I discovered I felt very different about my book. I feel the presence of my Secret Agent and I’m really glad to have him on my side. It feels like we are a really good team and as a result I feel less exposed and more prepared of what is to come. But I feel too it will be important to seek out some extra help and support with the part of me that sabotages my opportunities!
I hope this exercise was valuable for you and has given you some insight of what is going on for you when you instinctively hide away – and how you might resolve that[hr]
If this article has spoken to you, or if you have any questions, or there’s something you’d like to share do leave a comment. I’ll respond as soon as I can.