Can You Ever See All of Yourself?

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"Genius exists in relationship. It’s about the meeting place of two subjectivities, two vantage points. A seer and a seen. A shared experience. A connection."

For accessibility and ease, you can listen to this post narrated by Mike:


We visionaries will never be able to see all of ourselves.

We just can’t. We don’t have the right vantage point.

There are so many parts of my own body that I’ll never be able to see without some kind of reflection—like the middle of my back, the back of my head, my mouth, even my eyes.

It’s impossible for me to see my own eyes without a mirror—something reflecting the image back to me. But I can never actually see them myself.

It’s frustrating to be a visionary—to see the world with such crystal clarity, but to never be able to fully see ourselves. There are parts of ourselves, aspects of ourselves that we can never quite see.

And the irony is those are the parts that are apparent to everyone else.

Like our eyes, our genius is the way we see the world. And, paradoxically, because of that, we never actually get to see it. We can only see it reflected in other places.

Like other people, relationships, jobs, traumas, wounds, and gifts. It’s one reason why so many people struggle to discover their genius and life purpose. Because we’re always looking through the lens of that genius. So we can never see it directly.

And that means we’ve only ever really experienced our genius in relationships. Relationships with loved ones and friends, relationships with our work, relationships with the world around us.

It’s like a poem. On its own, it’s just words on a page. But the moment someone reads that poem and feels something, it is elevated to artistic genius.

Genius exists in relationship. It’s about the meeting place of two subjectivities, two vantage points. A seer and a seen. A shared experience. A connection.

After all, genius is quite literally our “inborn nature” or “generative power.” It’s our connection to something bigger than ourselves. Of course we experience that in connection.

I’ve known so many geniuses who thought they were worthless. Brilliant artists who told me they just couldn’t figure it out or make it work in life. Brilliant healers who told me they were too sensitive to be successful. Brilliant writers who told me they were too excited and passionate to focus enough to complete something.

And so they shamed themselves. Because they only saw the failures. They couldn’t see themselves fully. And maybe the world and all the people in their lives reflected only failure to them.

Maybe the people in their lives weren’t able to really see or understand the brilliance in being different.

A few weeks ago, my therapist said something that took me by surprise. She said, “For you, I’m realizing the intellectual is much more personal than the emotional. People might understand your emotions, but you’ve had very few people who can understand exactly how you think. So they’ve passed it over or thought you were saying something more superficial than you are.”

I’ve thought about that quite a bit since then. How hungry I’ve been to be seen. Not in what people want to see in me. Not in my physical appearance or even my emotions. But seen in how I see the world.

I wanted others to see my proverbial eyes—my genius. And shine that light back to me.

I’m fortunate in that I have a few of those people in my life now. And, honestly, I don’t believe I’d ever be able to use the word “genius” without balking without those people.

They’re people I never have to explain things to. I just say what I mean, no matter how esoteric, and they get it. Even if I say something seemingly trite, they get the depths in which I’m speaking. And they can help me see it when even I don’t understand.

Without them, I’d think I couldn’t figure it out or make it in life. That I’m too sensitive to be successful. And I’m too excited and passionate to focus enough to complete something.

I’d think—and thought for quite some time—that I’m worthless, too. Because I couldn’t see my own genius with my own eyes.

We visionaries need to be seen. We need people who can see us. The parts of us we can’t see directly ourselves. And reflect those back to us as clearly as possible—like a mirror.

To be seen beyond the physical and superficial and socially condoned. To be seen for the shame. For the “too much”-ness. For the “not enough”-ness. For all of the parts of ourselves we think we do a really good job hiding from the world.

Without that, we might never actually believe that we are geniuses. We might continue to shame and blame ourselves for being different. For never really being understood. For feeling anxiety or stress or like we’re “too sensitive” or “too emotional.”

And that’d be a damn, damn shame.

It’s why we visionaries need one another. It’s why we have a free Friday Faire in the Sacred Branding® group every week. It’s why we need to look to our relationships and jobs and traumas to discover our unique genius.

Because we exist in relationship. We’re not conquering or controlling life—just like we can’t conquer or control another human being. We exist in relationship to it.

Relationships change us just as much as we change them. They force us to grow. They help us to discover more of ourselves. And they’re not linear—there’s nothing we have to race forward to achieve. They’re circular. Ever-deepening.

We need to find the people who can see us. We need to see ourselves reflected in our own life and experiences. We need to surrender control—understanding that we can’t see everything directly—that it’s all about relationships anyway.

And only then can we actually experience our genius. And know—with absolute certainty—that we are geniuses. That we have a unique gift and purpose that no one else has. One that is critical to the world right now.

And that’s how we transform the world. Starting with our own.


Questions for Reflection:

*Answer in a journal, in the comments right here, or take it over to the Sacred Branding® Facebook group where we can support one another:

Can you ever see all of yourself?

— What if you’ll never be able to see all of yourself in isolation, no matter how much reflection or thinking you do? What if we always need a mirror to reflect parts of us back to ourselves—like our backs or foreheads or eyes? What if the only way to see your genius is through your relationships?

— What if you need to be seen to access your genius? What if you need to find the people, places, and situations who can truly see you? What if you need to look your traumas and experiences straight in the eye and truly see yourself in those moments?

— What if you’ve been shaming yourself just because you couldn’t actually fully see yourself—and maybe the people in your life couldn’t fully see you either? What if genius only exists in relationship—to life, work, people, places—and the keys to your genius are hiding in those relationships for you?

Mike Iamele

Mike Iamele

Mike writes about how artists, entrepreneurs, healers, and visionaries of all kinds can actually build a life around the genius inside of them.

He's CEO of Mike Iamele LLC and Creator of Sacred Branding® and the Sacred Circle.

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