The struggle is real.
With an already-overflowing plate, it sometimes feels like we are continually inundated with opportunities to attend events. Some are purely social, some could be considered “business-y”, and some seem downright obligatory.
We can always come up with a reason to attend something, whether it’s due to our commitment to the program, belief in the cause, or the crowd that’s likely to be there.
I’ve noticed a trend at many of these events and its effect on us as women is worrisome.
Many times, I get the distinct feeling that at times, we only attend a given event for one reason and one reason alone: to be seen.
As in, we aren’t necessarily there to support the cause, the people involved, or because we feel particularly passionate about the event itself.
We are attending only because it’s what we believe is expected of us and we think that by being seen at this event, it creates a specific picture of who we are as a person.
Maybe we believe being seen at the event will make us appear networked, successful, up-and-coming, or philanthropic.
When we do something only because of how it makes us look, we are feeding our ego.
I’d like to suggest a different filter when deciding whether to attend such gatherings, whether it’s a luncheon, coffee date, or full-blown evening event.
Instead of thinking about the importance of being seen, we should instead consider the importance of fully showing up.
See, “being seen” is all about the perception we’re building for other people. We put more emphasis on what everyone else thinks than on what we think ourselves.
On the contrary, “showing up” is all about attending events where you can take off the masks and you literally give zero effs about who knows you’re there. You definitely aren’t thinking about what attending this event “says about you”. You’re not there for other people.
You attend for you. And that is feeding your soul.
What a novel concept.
Too often, we live our lives doing things only because of what we think those actions say about us. There is absolutely nothing authentic about living that way. Looking outward for validation (as much as I can admit I do love a gold star) is an indication that you’re living outside your true self.
Plus, your margin? That little sliver of social time that belongs to you to spend as frivolously as you choose?
That precious time deserves, at a minimum, a second thought about how it ought to be spent.
If we are going here and there just to prove to other people that we are “something” — whatever that something may be — we are not a good steward of that time.
The next time you’re invited to attend something (provided it’s not a funeral or a true work obligation) try using this litmus test instead…
1. Which of my personal values are honored by my attendance at this event?
2. What do I hope to learn as a result of attending this event?
3. Is there any part of me that is doing this only to look good?
4. Does this feed my ego or feed my soul?
No, this list is not all-inclusive but it’s a helluva good place to start.
Just remember, if any part of you is attending an event only to seek validation or to improve someone’s perception of you, you should think twice about attending. We should question doing things only to feed our ego.
Seek out events where you can fully, beautifully show up. Be yourself. Be real. Be genuine. That will feed your soul and once you start consistently feeding your soul, you’ll never question the importance of “being seen” again.