On being seen

On being seen

For most of my life, I’ve been afraid of being seen.

I’m the girl who likes to sit quietly on the sidelines – observing, listening, silently taking everything in. When I am thrust into the spotlight, I get tongue-tied. My heart starts racing, I’m never sure what to say, and I end up mumbling something incoherent and try to escape.

This fear shows up more starkly when I have to talk about myself and what I do, which is not helpful given that I also have a deep desire to share my work and my words. And to do that, there is the small question of promoting and sharing said work and networking with fellow writers and artists. Needless to say, this is something that generally scares me too.

I used to be scared to share my art and my words.

For a very long time, none of my friends knew that I painted, and very few knew that I blogged. I used to share my paintings only in art journaling groups, where people tend to be largely encouraging and helpful. And I made it supremely difficult for any of my friends to find my blog, because I never shared it to my personal Facebook or whispered a word about it to anyone.

But that eventually started to feel restrictive, like I was leading separate lives. That’s when someone told me something that helped me to slowly and tentatively start sharing my work more publicly:

“Imagine if Van Gogh hid away all his paintings and never showed them to anyone. The world would have been so much poorer for it.”

Vincent Van Gogh, as you may know, didn’t gain any recognition during his lifetime. His paintings and art style were rejected and ridiculed; he was often penniless, asking his brother for financial help; he ended his days in the mental asylum; and yet, he never stopped painting and he never gave up trying to get his work into art galleries. That is how we have the enduring legacy of his artistic work. Artists continue to draw inspiration from both his artistic vision and his sheer tenacity and love for art despite immense personal struggles.

Sometimes, I am still afraid of being seen

Despite the years of work I have done to overcome my fear of the spotlight, there are a lot of times when I still feel like running away when I am called to step up and speak up about myself and my work in the world.

This fear of being seen also shows up when it comes to promoting my work, which as we know, is really not helpful for bloggers, artists, or business owners! I’ve been working really hard to get over the ickyness that I associate with marketing and promotion. To this end, I’ve spent a lot of time observing some of my favorite artists and business owners, and seeing how they market their work and tell their stories. Since Instagram is my preferred social media hang out, that is where I’ve been focusing my efforts.

Being seen on Instagram

Since the middle of last year, I’ve spent a lot of time experimenting with Instagram. I read up copious quantities of articles on strategies and hashtags and themes. I carefully observed what my favorite artists, tarot readers, and creators were doing on the platform. And I started to implement some of what I was learning, and slowly started to see some results. But there was still something missing – I just didn’t know what it was.

I considered taking an Instagram course, but the ones I found were not appealing to me. They were either focused on lifestyle Instagrammers or on becoming an influencer, or using Instagram to drive sales, but that wasn’t what I was looking for. What I wanted was to find a way to infuse my personal magic {which is another way of saying my personal brand} on Instagram, without having to theme my grid to a color scheme or time my posts down to an exact hour and minute, or to show up in a way that felt inauthentic to me.

So I continued to experiment on my own, until earlier this year, when Chris-Anne, one of my favorite creators, offered an Instagram course along with Becca, a wonderful mindful marketing strategist.

Manifest Being Seen

Manifest being seenThe course combined Instagram strategy, technology, and templates with meditations, intention, and chakra work in a 30-day lab experience. And yes, lab meant just that – there was a lot of experimentation, trying out various strategies and tools, and connection with a whole bunch of like-minded people. As soon as I read about the course, I knew that this was the missing link in all the Instagram research I had been doing on my own. But I was a bit hesitant to take the course, and of course my wonderful inner critic Prissy Missy pointedly inquired:

“Who in their right minds takes an Instagram course?!”

Luckily for me, I managed to block her out long enough to sign up, and it was one of my best decisions.

In terms of tangible differences that can be seen and measured, the visual appeal of my grid improved drastically. Where I used to struggle to create any sort of visual cohesion, I found a way of retaining my visual identity {which is part of your personal brand} while improving my grid layout {without having to stick to a color theme or feel inauthentic in my sharing!}. My follower count also increased from around 730 at the start of the course to roughly 1114 currently. And I started to share more of my personal spiritual and artistic journey.

In terms of intangible differences, I gained a lot of clarity around my why; unblocked my throat chakra, which made it easier for me to speak my truth; and made some more shifts in my marketing mindset.

The best part? The Lab will be in session again on 4 September 2018!

If you’re looking for a course that will not only help you up your Instagram game, but also get clear on your why and your mindset, I’m sure you will love the course! You can find out more details and sign up here.

I’m going to be right there with you in the lab, working some more on my Instagram strategy and setting some new Instagram goals. But this time, I will also be using the meditations and strategy sessions to focus my efforts on my blog and on gaining clarity around my artistic vision and business. I hope you’ll join me there!

BONUS: The first 111 people to sign up will get a physical copy of the Manifest Being Seen Oracle deck, for free! I received my deck recently, and I love it! It is an excellent tool for strategy with a touch of serendipity, and I can’t wait to use it as part of my blog and Instagram strategy.

Most of all, though, if you also struggle with being seen…with promoting your work and sharing it…with speaking about your work in the world, I hope that you will continue to work on yourself and your mindset…on uncovering any blocks that you have to being seen. The world needs more creative souls…sensitive souls…souls whose hearts are filled with love and passion that they long to share with the world.

If you’ve struggled with being seen, I’d love to hear how you overcame your struggles. And if you have any advice to tips for me to get over my marketing phobias, please do share them with me in the comments!

Note: This is an affiliate link, which means I will receive a small commission if you sign up using this link. Please know that I never share anything – courses, products, programs – that I have not tried and loved 100% myself.

Posted in Soulful living and tagged , , , , .

I’m an artist and art educator, podcaster, tarot reader, and writer. I share my discoveries along the path to inspire you to live a more creative, soul-centered life. Receive my love letters for more of my musings on life and creativity. P.S. I love Instagram - join me there?


  1. Your Instagram posts are amazingly gorgeous. Happy that you found something that suits your need.

    I don’t like being seen as well and that is perhaps the reason my Instagram account is still private. I just can’t digest the idea of making my private account public. Haven’t figured out yet the solution.

    • Thank you so much, Manisha!

      As for making your private Instagram profile public, I think it depends a lot on what you’re sharing and using the platform for. If it’s a way for you to chronicle your personal life, for example, a private account makes perfect sense. But if you would like to use Instagram as a platform to share your views and ideas, for example, a public account becomes important, IMHO. It depends a lot on your objectives.

      For me, I want to use Instagram to share my art and my love for Tarot and my thoughts and ideas. Which is why being seen became tied in to Instagram. Because it’s still a lot easier to be seen by a wider audience on that platform than even on your blog.

      Just things to think about. 🙂

  2. A good post with lots of information and tips. The course sound excellent ?
    . I would like to but am spreading myself thin writing a novel blogging and reviewing books, as you know I moderate the lovely facebook group #SIPB so I will see you soon take care I am off to find you on instagram.

    • I’m glad you found the post informative, Ellen! If you’re interested in the course, it doesn’t take too much time. It’s a 30-day lab broken into 4 weekly themes. You can earmark an hour or so on a weekend to work on each week’s content – that’s what I did – and then slowly build up/change/add elements to your Insta strategy. Plus you have forever access to the course.

  3. You have a fantastic Insta feed, Shinjini—love it! You know, when you mention being invisible I can relate to that very closely. I’ve been like that for so long myself and still do, at times. The Course sounds fab and just the perfect thing for someone like me…I might even check it out to see if it works for me and more importantly, then, to decide am I ready to take it up.

    • Thank you so much, Esha!

      Being seen can be so difficult sometimes. The urge to hide away can often get the better of us. But I love the way you express yourself and your blog posts are so very informative and reflective. I really believe voices like yours are needed in the world. Whether or not you decide to do the course, please do try to overcome that fear and share your wisdom more widely.

      Personally, I think Instagram can be a great platform for sharing such ideas because you’re more “discoverable” – and it’s so much easier to find more like minded people on there too. xx

  4. Sounds like a really nice course and I love your insta feed. At present my insta feed is just a fun feed but will keep this course in mind for the future.

    • Sure, Suzy! The course won’t be available all year round, though. They open registration periodically, I think. This is the second round of the course – and you have forever access to the materials. Just FYI 🙂

  5. I am so glad you are sharing your work. I guess we all feel a bit apprehensive, even I am like that. But then when I saw so many artists and their works, I built that confidence to hit the publish button. It’s a good thing that you found a course that resonates with your ideas. Those are hard to come by.
    Keep sharing your amazing work.

  6. oh this is a constant struggle for me too…this “on being seen”. I am still struggling with it and I could relate to your post so much. Every word felt like it were my mind speaking. Thanks for sharing this post. And I am so glad you found the course so very useful.

  7. Procrastination can practically put the brakes on the best of works. I guess inherent shyness also makes it rather tough to go out into the world and cry out loud to promote yourself and your talent. Your insta profile is an inspiration and quite simply, eye-candy! Glad you took on this interesting course Jini, it sure has worked great for you.

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