Nourish and protectKind promise: I will share strengths.

Suppose you are the only one who can see color in a world of beings who only see shades of gray. Traveling to a different world, you are greeted by beings who also see color. They have words for varieties of red, yellow and blue and you are filled with a soul-expanding YESness after being met for so long on your own world with the squinted eyes and furrowed brows of confusion.

You are unique and wonderful. Sometimes that makes the world a lonely place, as no one truly understands what it’s like to be you in your world.

This is why being and expressing who we are is so important.

It’s not easy to be who you are out loud. Fear of looking foolish or finding yourself alone can be paralyzing. Often, though, if you take one step into the light, you will find a chorus of “me too” surrounding and supporting you.

A few months ago, I let people know I was having a colostomy. Some people objected. “Too much information!” they cried. “Just say you’re having surgery.” A few weeks later, at church, a woman approached me and, in hushed tones, spoke about her colostomy. We had a deep conversation about isolation and our culture’s shame of being embodied. The conversation left us stronger.

Unfortunately, there are times when and places where being who you are out loud isn’t safe. I urge you to minimize them in your life. Go where you are celebrated. Spend time with people who appreciate you.

Cultivate curiosity about who you are and what makes your heart sing. Create an internal habitat where you are nourished and protected. When possible, share your discoveries with others. Sharing strengths is not only about what you do. It is also about who you are.