There are many people who know me, that think that they have me all figured out. They think that I am just a “nice” girl. I want to share some insight into why they are completely wrong about me and how you may be able to relate.
In the past, when attending social events, with certain friends, I’d often feel like I was too boring to be around. I didn’t have anything to talk about with these friends. Aside from the debilitating social anxiety that I was experiencing, I felt like there must be something wrong with me and that was the reason why. At the time, I didn’t know it yet, but it was because I didn’t show up as myself, I showed up as the person I thought that they wanted me to be. I was being, in essence, completely inauthentic.
For the most part, I would describe myself as being the friend who will ask only how you are doing and deflect at any time the conversation turns over to me. I would become so uncomfortable when we would discuss ‘me’ because I was unable to see past the mundane things that I was doing on the daily & never thought that anyone would be interested to hear about my experiences with depression or anxiety and how this was affecting me. How my past had a significant part to play in all of this. I believed that if I shared my experiences, it would expose all of my flaws and this would ultimately bring my friends moods down, so I thought, why bother telling them any of this? Just show up as the happy, positive friend, that they needed to have, right at this moment.
There have been people who have tried to take advantage of me, for my inability to say no to them and or whatever they were asking of me. I have to be very careful about who I give my time to now and that has been a hard lesson learned.
During a time, when I had just become a new mom, a friend warned me that I was going to have to become a disciplinarian and that it had to be shared between my husband and I. My husband shouldn’t be the only one to take in that role. I remember that this really bothered me. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to express this to her. I just thought to myself; Wow, she really doesn’t know me at all, and how could that be? We’ve known each other for almost 10 years now.
This was the first time, in a long time that I felt like I really needed to examine my relationships with others. I had to ask myself, why did it bother me so much, that she was so sure that she knew what I was all about? I must be presenting myself in some way that makes others feel like they’ve got me pegged and figured out. I was presenting myself in such a way: that I was a simple-being, too nice and I had no depth. I had always been agreeable. I would never offer my opinion about anything. I played it safe. If I agreed with everything you were telling me, then you would think I was a nice person and I would have secured you as a friend. Upon reflection, it seemed as though I was being manipulative…
The truth is, I’ve never allowed anyone to know ‘who’ I truly am inside. My dysfunctional upbringing shaped the way that I presented myself to others. How I showed up in relationships. The fact is, I threw-away ‘who I really am’ a very long time ago. As a child, I was trained to be a good girl. I was taught to be the bigger person, when other children would bully me. I was taught to listen and to obey. This was the beginning of a core belief forming, that I didn’t matter. As long as I was well-behaved, I wouldn’t get in trouble. This all had to do with the fact that my mother suffers from alcoholism and I feel like she loved me conditionally. So, from childhood on, I didn’t really know who I was.
I am beginning to find myself though. I am opening up and sharing my experiences, the good and the bad. Sharing all that I’ve been learning, for example, how I’ve been taking care of myself. Sharing anything that I believe, could be helpful to others, going through similar experiences.
During my experience of healing myself, by finding out who I am authentically, I’ve come to realize that maybe I don’t know others, as well as I think, they don’t know me. I’ve had a very difficult time cultivating relationships, beyond a surface level. I now know that it is because of my lack of trust in them. One of my core beliefs that I am working on, is that if I open up too much, they will abandon me. They will not like what they see and leave me. Therefore, I must not share who I really am, in order to protect myself from being abandoned. The funny thing is, I had already abandoned ME, in the process. It has taken me a lot of therapy, to realize this about myself. (Yet again, this belief is a by-product of my upbringing.)
As my awareness grows, now when I interact with others, I can see myself in them. The people who seem to have it all together. All done up, eating healthy, working out, managing a job and the kids, flawlessly. I find that most often these are the people, that really don’t have it all together. Especially, the way that they present themselves on social media. It feels like a lie and it feels this way to me, because I too, was once, this way. I would show up and present myself as that nice, happy person. But, I was wearing a mask. I hid my true feelings. It was all a lie. I feel like the people that I am describing may not even know this about themselves (or be able to admit it, to themselves), but I can sense the sadness within them. All I want to do is, give them a hug and tell them that they can drop the act. They don’t have to put up appearances and be the person that they think everyone wants them to be. It is okay to share your vulnerable self.
I truly believe, that when we show up as our true selves and share our difficult past and show that we have flaws, we become our most authentic self. (If you haven’t read Brené Brown, I recommend that you read her books. She describes what it is to be your true authentic self, like know other.) We begin to get to know ourselves to a degree that is so deep, within the core, that it hurts. It hurts because of how much we suppress ourselves, when we act a certain way for others. And when we decide to show up as ourselves we can cultivate deeper relationships and more meaningful friendships. We build trust in others, as well as build trust within ourselves.
The purpose that I intended to have for this blog post, is that, I want people to realize that it is okay to be you. Simply, unapologetically, authentically, you. I encourage you, because just as I have found for me, I believe that you will find the freedom you seek, when you show up as ’you’ in relationships with others, as well as showing up as ‘you’ for yourself.
You. Will. Become. Unstoppable!
Now all we need to do is practise! I am in the process of doing just this. It scares the hell out of me, yet I am filled with excitement. I’m challanging my beliefs, putting myself out there and I am beginning to reap the rewards. I am no longer ashamed of who I really am. If the people that I am surrounded with don’t like my authentic self, then they are not meant to be the people I surround myself with anyway. Simple as that!
I am sending so much love and gratitude to each and everyone who is reading this post right now. Thank you for reading and for your support. Big HUGE hugs to you all xo