I saw this quote posted online recently and had another interesting interaction with a friend the other evening that got me thinking: how many times in our lives has someone told us to be something different that who we really are. Like somehow who and what we are is not right in some way. I have a feeling it happens so often that we actually have no idea… it’s impossible to count.
Sometimes it’s obvious – someone literally tells you that you should be a little bit more of this or a little bit less that for some reason… and sometimes it’s cleverly disguised – dressed up as caring, from people we are close with, as tender advice – maaaaybe if just tone it down a little in this way… or do this a little more… or that… and things would somehow be better for us – Seriously.
The thing about tuning yourself down so that other people are more comfortable is that usually you are not comfortable. You end up being more focused on someone else’s approval and feelings about you and often have to compromise yourself in the process. I’ll have less, be less, sacrifice myself a little, so that you don’t have to be uncomfortable. You are less connected to your own energy and you can’t have as much… in any of those areas of your life…. doesn’t sound like a super fun time to me.
Too often we spend so much time bending and flexing trying to gain approval of everyone around us that we actually don’t really know what is the real us anymore. I think it’s amazing everyone isn’t walking around the middle of a severe identity crisis… wait…
As a textbook people-pleasing first child I spent an alarmingly large amount of my life bending and changing to make others happy. And I was pretty darn good at it. Except you can never really make everyone happy, so you end up feeling like you are never enough… and I definitely didn’t have everything I wanted, in any area of my life.
I bought this photo by a local artist several years ago. I love the energy of the whole scene, this beautiful girl, her delicate frame, with stockings and pretty lingerie, the warmth of the colors… but simultaneously she looks so uncomfortable, all twisted up trying so hard to get everything put together. It reminds me of what it kind of feels like to twist and turn to be the person other people want me to be, or think I should be.
So next time you are going to do something, and you hesitate because of the little voice that says it might be a little much for other people… or you want something but you think you shouldn’t have it because you worry what everyone else will think, no matter what area of your life it is in – try tuning out that dumb voice or fear or worry – it isn’t you or your energy anyway – and see what happens. You might just be surprised!
May something magical happen to you this weekend :)