How many times have you been told how to be? Or how not to be? Possibly hundreds. You may have learned to act a certain way to avoid disapproval, make decisions that make someone else happy, and that it was not ok to have your dreams, your opinions, and be you. If you were like me, your response may have been to either try to fit in, or hide, or both.
In the past, I spent a lot of time hiding, like I was walking around in clothes ten sizes too big for me, swallowing me up and rendering me invisible. Nobody could see the person underneath; no shape, no form, no strengths, no details or intricacies that were individual to me. I blended in, which was the plan; but it came at the expense of hiding myself for so long, that I also started to forget what ‘me’ felt like.
When I wasn’t hiding, I tried to fit in; be ‘normal’, conventional and surrender to what felt like everybody else’s expectation of me. To not fit in, meant I stayed weird, odd, and different; I was sick of hearing that.
But rarely feeling allowed to be me, came at a cost.
Imagine trying to squeeze yourself into something that doesn’t fit you every single day, restricting your movement, pinching you, making you feel uncomfortable, irritable, while the real you tries to spill out between the gaps, gasping for air, release and to be freed. This is how I felt. Moulding myself on the outside, for the sake of approval, while the real me was fighting for breath. Overwhelmed, exhausted, discontented. But most of all I was unhappy.
“When I seek your approval, I don’t approve of the me that’s seeking the approval”.