here’s a little secret: if you don’t feel a little under-equipped for the work you do, you’re not being challenged. You’re not learning. You’re not being asked to grow.

I see through you

Part of the the Heart & the Law collection

You there. Yeah, you – the one who read the title of this entry and hoped it wasn’t true. I’ve got something to tell you.


I can see through the front you put up. I know you’ve been worried someone would figure you out eventually. Sorry, but you were right. I know what you fear.

You tell yourself that you present well; that you’re presenting a mask, or only a part of you, and wherever you go, there’s that little worry – maybe not so little – maybe it consumes you – that somebody, somewhere, would find out your charade and call you out.

I’m calling you out. But not in the way you’re expecting.

These things you share with people; this mask you wear; this presentation of yours; these things you’ve done and thoughts you’ve had; they’re all true, aren’t they? This isn’t stuff you’re making up. This is the stuff you choose to share with the rest of us. Your best side.

And when people offer you respect, when they want to be like you, when they compliment you, you feel like they’re only seeing this surface part, a little piece, the front you put up. So instead of accepting the kindness and the accolades offered to you, you say ‘I put on a good show.’ and deep inside the fear grows a little that you’ll disappoint when they find you out.

Here’s the deal. That person who earns respect, who is a role model, who inspires people, who is complimented on her work… that’s you. Not only that, but by your own admission, it’s a fraction of who you are as a complete person. Just a tiny part of you achieves greatness and the people around you recognize it.

Real masks and real facades don’t do anything other than hide the truth. They can’t achieve greatness. But these things about you, your ‘presentation’, isn’t a fake. It’s you. Right down to the core. And you know it isn’t even all of you. You know that you’re even more than the person who does these things. You’re not less. You’re not someone else. You ARE the recipient of this applause.

That’s the logic of it. Your fear is that you’re lying and somebody’s going to find out that you’re not up to the task. But the truth is that you’re just sharing a real part of yourself, the parts that ‘present well’ – that doesn’t make them any less impressive, and it doesn’t change the fact that you earned the praise you receive.

And there’s another bit to it, that I hit all the time; maybe you do too – work situations are especially potent at bringing up these fears. But here’s a little secret: if you don’t feel a little under-equipped for the work you do, you’re not being challenged. You’re not learning. You’re not being asked to grow.

You’re supposed to feel a little inadequate in a position that really pushes you to be more. The fear that you feel is partially because you take on roles that challenge you to grow.

So present your best self however you like. But don’t forget to let the admiration and respect of the people around you all the way in to the root of your being. Because that’s where credit is due.

Now get to it, I’m watching you!

Mila (Jacob Stetser)

Mila is a writer, photographer, poet & technologist.

He shares here his thoughts on Buddhism, living compassionately, social media, building community,
& anything else that interests him.

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  1. I remember this one! :)