We all do our own Dance of the Seven Veils everyday. We make quick decisions on what we will reveal of ourselves to others depending on circumstance and familiarity. Through experience we recognize what we can show to others and what we need to keep hidden. This concept seems simple enough but I grew up with parents who strongly believed in this philosophy “Don’t talk to anyone outside of the family about the family”. I was so afraid to divulge anything about myself to others that I said very little. This did make me a great listener but that is not enough if you are trying to cultivate friendships. People came to me with their problems and knew I would keep their secrets safe. These same people who confided in me would soon act like they didn’t know me. I couldn’t understand what I was doing wrong. It wasn’t until a long time friend said to me, “You know so much about me and I don’t know anything about you. Is there a reason you don’t include me on what’s going on in your life”? This feeling of staying private was so ingrained in me that I didn’t realize that this action was keeping me from having real relationships.
Revealing ourselves little by little to people whom we want to know better is a give and take that I was not doing. They trusted me but I was not returning that trust. It took me a long time to figure out that other people were interested in knowing me, not just the surface part of me. That’s when I began to understand the layers we wrap ourselves up in. It’s trial and error of finding that line between too much information and what’s actually appropriate for the setting. I have performed on stage The Dance of the Seven Veils and I thought it could be used as an interesting analogy of what we do in our daily lives.
The first veil we drop is the one strangers see. We all want to make a good first impression, so we are on our best behavior. We come across happy, confident, well-adjusted, and fun. We keep an open mind to other people’s ideas. We are guarded on how much we will disclose of ourselves: think of first date, job interview and talking to the bartender.
The second veil we drop is for our casual friends or acquaintances; people we don’t see on a regular basis but they are important to our network. Our conversations revolve around work and family but rarely get much deeper than that. These are people we hope will think of us for business opportunities, references or call us when they have tickets to a Yankees game they can’t use.
The third vail we drop is for our co-workers. We want them to see us as hard working, professional, ethical and efficient. We want them to hear our ideas and appreciate the work we are doing. We want to be accepted as team players. For most of us our co-workers become our second family. It makes sense to get frustrated or impatient at times with the people you are dealing with on a regular basis. To keep good working relationships steady we choose our words carefully: no matter how mad we get at Paul for eating the yogurt that clearly has our name on it.
The fourth veil we drop is for our family. I know what you’re thinking: that our family knows us best. Not necessarily. They have known us since we were kids and most likely they will always see us as kids. I believe we want to make our parents and siblings proud of us. Let’s face it though, I’m sure there are things that we have done in our life that are better left unsaid when it comes to our family; of course that may just be me.
The fifth veil we drop is for our very best friend. This is the person who knows us best; whom we can truly be ourselves with. The one who gets our twisted sense of humor; who doesn’t try to change us; the one we can tell our deepest, darkest secrets and know we will not be judged; with whom we can be as silly as we want and not feel bad about it. It helps that we know where their skeletons are buried as well.
The sixth veil we drop is for our partner in crime otherwise known as the significant other. Hopefully, this person is also our best friend. This is the one who sees us completely naked and still loves us. Who puts up with us when our sunny disposition isn’t so sunny. When we can argue with that person and know that they are not going to leave but stay and fight. Who will challenge us and make us grow as a person more than any other relationship we have. Which is perfect because we are doing the same for them. I try to be fair with my husband and let him know that if he keeps pushing my buttons the psycho bitch will come out and rip his face off. I believe honesty is the best policy.
The seventh veil we drop is for us. Only we know our innermost thoughts. Our experiences and perceptions that are shaped by our life is ours alone. We know the struggle of trying to improve ourselves. Trying to be more understanding, more forgiving and more compassionate is an ongoing process. We have to remember to be kind to ourselves and love ourselves unconditionally. We have to be comfortable with our own company. I know I am because I know how to make a great cocktail and I appreciate that.