Open Outward or Shrink Inward

“The moment that you feel that, just possibly, you’re walking down the street naked, exposing too much of your heart and your mind and what exists on the inside, showing too much of yourself. That’s the moment you may be starting to get it right.” – Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman, is encouraging people to loosen the bonds of ego that restrict us from being true to ourselves and others. But, what is the benefit of opening up one’s heart and mind? Why is that the moment we begin to get it right? Simply, it is to enhance and deepen our connection to the world and others around us. 

People fueled by ego often hide the depths of themselves and thus, unavoidably from others as well. Insecurity causes us to fear what others may think of us. Self-absorption results in the belief that we are alone; that no one else shares many of the thoughts we hold and no one will appreciate them. Thus, resulting in a variety of negative behaviors that simultaneously hinder us from being true to ourselves and facilitating a deeper connection to others.

Being egotistical and insecure, manifest in a variety of negative behaviors. Two common and detrimental behaviors are self-doubt and perfectionism. If you have ever dreamt of starting anything, a blog, a business, a brand, etc. You know the anxiety that follows. “What if no one likes my ideas” or “I don’t have what I need to start right now, I’ll begin when I’m more prepared”. To put it bluntly, 92% of that is bullshit. Given one makes it through that initial wall of anxiety, next comes the Great Wall of Perfectionism. Let’s take, for example, a blog. You finish writing your first post after hours of hard work, all that’s left is to publish it on your page, sounds simple right? That’s because it is until one is bombarded by thoughts of imperfection, even though perfection is unattainable. Now it feels insurmountable. The perpetual cycle begins of revising, over and over again. Until, eventually one quits before even knowing how far they had the potential to go. To be held back from doing what one wants and finds fulfilling is deeply painful to depict. Imagine being God and not realizing before it was too late. To be held back from doing what one wants, and finds fulfilling, all because the ego fears to put your heart and mind at risk. 

We keep things in from others scared to share our inner lives, we fear putting out our creations to keep ourselves out of sight, but consequently, we hinder the chance for further honest connection and being true to who we are. Whatever your art may be, true expression of one’s self is a fundamental prerequisite. Opening yourself outward, you allow the opportunity to relate to others and for others to relate to you. Sharing your work allows others the opportunity to experience it, and alongside that the opportunity to connect to it. When one connects to another’s work, it relieves the feeling of isolation and enhances connection to the world. But, to hide your ideas restricts others from connecting to the world. Which is an unfounded injustice. A unique thought or feeling not shared by others is nonexistent, but the majority of the time we feel as if they are, thus we hold our minds back. Which consequently leads to continued separation of self and other. To open your heart and mind to the world results in the inverse of limiting your inner world; a lessening of the ego, and seeing the inseparability of you from reality. You are connected to everything and everyone, there is no need to fear exposing your heart and mind.

The ability and courage to engage with reality openly and vulnerably facilitates the deepening of people’s connection to the world and others. No longer bounded by ego and the negative behavior that is the product of ego, we are free to engage with our surroundings as who we truly are. Nothing can compare to the naked beauty of one’s being; heart and mind perennially exposed.

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