Like an onion, each of us has a center — the part that’s totally protected by all our outer layers — and this center is who we honestly are at our core; it represents our truest self, our vulnerability, the part we “protect” and shield from the rest of the world at all costs.
Exposing that deep, dark, intimate center would feel too… raw. And perhaps even painful. So we live our lives, ensuring that part of us never gets exposed, or gets any room to breathe, flourish and become. Because if we allowed that, what would others think? What would others think of our true self? How would they react? Would they shudder in horror, turn and run the other way?
That’s our fear, isn’t it? That others wouldn’t accept us as we really are if we show them our most authentic self. And perhaps we are equally as afraid that if we allow that part of ourselves any room to breathe, our outer layers will begin to fall away, and soon, there will be no shield to hide behind?
But I’ve noticed something. As I get older, I’m becoming so much more OK with this. In fact, each day, I try to peel back just a little more of the onion — even if it’s not an entire layer, but just one tiny, thin little piece. And the more I do so, the lighter — and freer — I start to feel.
I was talking to someone very dear to me last night — someone who has long protected this innermost part of herself — and as we continued to speak, I could feel her beginning to peel back these layers, one by one. Soon, through tears, she was talking about painful and difficult emotions that she’d long ago shoved down so deep, she didn’t even know still existed.
The waves inside of her were rising, and I listened without judgement — offering a safe space for her to peel back her layers and let her true self breathe. And I remained steady, like a pillar in the sea, for her to hang onto as the waves within her grew larger and more intense.
And so, as I move forward in my life, I will continue to shed the thick protective skin that suffocates my authenticity, my real self, my SOUL. And you can rest assured knowing that when you are ready to do the same, I will be here for you — like a steady pillar in a sea of angry waves — as you peel back your layers and let your truest, rawest, most inner self breathe.