If people don't like who you are, screw 'em. Okay, maybe that is a bit extreme, but the message I want to emphasize is similar.
Somewhere along the line we were taught to be "good little boys and girls".
- Play nice.
- Don't make waves.
- Do not stand out.
Basically, be anyone but yourself. Supposedly, your life and everyone else's life will be so much easier. However, that is a miserable way of living for you and everyone else.
Trying to be someone else or wanting to please everyone and their mom never works.
I have learned this first hand. On not one, but multiple occasions. Most of my childhood and adolescence I prided myself on being the peacemaker, playing rescue ranger and never disagreeing or contradicting anyone. I was the quintessential chameleon. Mother Theresa was my hero. Sounds like a pretty normal and drama free existence, yet I found myself constantly being taken advantage of by my friends, family, and romantic partners.
For all intents and purposes, I was a damn doormat.
Deep down I felt like no one really knew me, nor cared to know me. It was a very lonely and depressing existence.
I was being swept away in the current of life, as if I had no control, toward a future I didn't really care for. It was a good enough situation on the surface, (new house, doting fiancee, prestigious job), yet I was slowly withering away inside.
Luckily I had a "Wake the F&@K Up" type of experience when I attended a Leadership Training.
I realized all of the dreams and aspirations I had when I was a kid had faded to the background, and that I did not even recognize myself anymore.
It took a very drastic move on my part, but I needed to break free from the constraints I had put on myself and re-establish my sense of self.
I broke up with my fiancee, I moved to another city, I divorced myself from the toxic people in my life, I did some soul searching, and I reconnected to my passions and life goals. I basically started the journey to figuring out who I was and then acting like it!
It was a challenging and uncomfortable process; however, I had committed to being myself and being fulfilled in life, and was prepared to do whatever was needed to make that happen. What was available on the other side was amazing friendships, exciting adventures and deeply connected relationships. Counterintuitive I know, yet everyone wants to be seen and heard for who they really are, not who they pretend to be.
When you show up as yourself, you give others permission to do the same. Even if the way you show up is that of a boat rocker and trail blazer. People want permission to go against the grain and take the road less traveled just as badly! I know I did.
Something I do with my clients, especially when they are getting clear on the type of romantic partner they want, is get them in touch with how they want to show up. Not just in their next relationship, but in life in general!
Here are some questions you can ask yourself to get in touch with who you are:
- How do you want to show up in not only your next relationship but with everyone?
- What are you like when you are being your biggest and brightest self?
- What are the characteristics of your "best" self?
- What are the things you are naturally awesome at?
- How would your best friend(s) describe you?
If you need some help, ask a couple of your closest and most trusted friends to share with you their top three reasons of why they think you are awesome.
Last but definitely not least…just be your damn self!
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