THE BLOG
04/10/2014 02:52 pm ET Updated Jun 10, 2014

Be Who You Are and Stand Above the Crowd

When I was young, I practiced being invisible. I didn't want to be noticed. I could walk into a room, hang out for a while and then leave and no one knew I was there. I was good at hiding.

Being raised in a dysfunctional family, I was safest being invisible. If I weren't seen, then I wouldn't get blamed for something I didn't do. If I didn't take up any space, then I wasn't a burden on the family. If I did something good, then I was told I was just trying to get attention or that I was competing with my siblings, and I "shouldn't" do that because it made them feel less than. I wasn't supposed to do "bad" things or "good" things. I was just supposed to be compliant, malleable and invisible.

Using today's terminology, I became "codependent." I was happy if you were happy. What ever you wanted me to be, I could be. And, I certainly didn't want anyone to be uncomfortable with anything I said or did. Ugh! What a painful place that was for me.

At some point, I looked around my world, and I saw that many people admired the personalities I admired. It didn't matter what arena I looked at: politicians, artists, authors, speakers or what ever. I also observed that many people hated the personalities that I admired. Wow! What a strange thing I thought. What also struck me was that these personalities didn't seem to care that some people didn't like what they were saying or doing. They just keep doing the best work they could do.

This was a transformational moment for me. Up to that point, my objective was not to be seen, not to make waves, not to make people uncomfortable, not to receive any positive or negative attention. In order to accomplish this, I often diminished myself or didn't share my ideas because I didn't want to make anyone uncomfortable on any level.

I realized that if I was to be me, if I was to do the best I could, if I wanted to share my ideas with others, then two things would happen: some people would like and respect me, and some people would hate me and attack me for what I was saying or doing.

Dare I do the best I can? Dare I stand above the crowd? Dare I attempt to make a difference?

A voice deep in my belly said, "Yes!"

A new awareness became apparent to me. If I'm not regularly receiving some negative attack, then I'm not doing my job. If I'm not doing my best, if I'm not speaking my truth, then I'm hiding again. I'm playing it safe. My codependency tendencies are running me. It's not that I have to seek negativity, nor do I need to speak harshly to be on course. In fact that would be off course. My job is to shine, to do the best I can, to speak with loving and uplifting words, to share my joy, and to reach out and touch others so they too can shine.

My challenge to you is: Shine, do your best, stand above the crowd, and yes, be willing to receive negativity for your good works. By doing your best you'll also receive positive attention. Just keep going, take that next step. Joy is present.