"It's not okay to show who I really am right now."
Is this something you’ve ever told yourself?
When you first began to say it, maybe you had good reason to. Perhaps you started to believe that you are “too much” — too emotional, too sensitive, too needy, too anything.
Once this type of thinking becomes a part of your life, if you dare to think about trying to be who you really are — to share your true self with others — it seems like a dangerous thought.
But don't you deserve to be you, instead of what you imagine other people think you should be?
In a previous post on social anxiety, I talked about how the only true way to connect with others is to authentically be yourself. I also often work with people who are in the process of recovering from eating disorders like anorexia or bulimia and they face similar challenges in connecting.
But if you think that being yourself is not okay, you’ll be stuck in a cycle and unable to connect with others or truly treat yourself well.
You don’t have to have social anxiety to feel this way. You may just worry often and have general anxiety about being yourself. Or you may sometimes view yourself as not good enough, perhaps because of low self-esteem or a negative body image or a fear of rejection.
This pattern can also leave you stuck in terms of how you feel about yourself. How are you supposed to feel confident, encourage yourself, enjoy your successes, and in general be happy if deep down you believe that there is something wrong with you? You can’t. At least not as often as you deserve to.
Sure, there will be times where you feel genuinely good. However self-sabotage barges in and interrupts these moments. You might feel like an imposter, unworthy, and then you wind up minimizing your role in your successes, giving the credit to other people or blocking yourself from receiving praise and admiration.
How do you break free from this?
You are going to have to take some risks.
Can you stop holding yourself back so much when you are having a reaction and just allow yourself to fully feel your feelings in front of someone else? Could you picture yourself only saying 'Thank you' when someone gives you a compliment and not say or think anything to dismiss it? Can you stop trying to hide your true self from the world?
Instead of constantly filtering your thoughts all day long, start trying to say what is truly on your mind, and try to stop worrying about managing everyone's reactions. It might seem difficult at first, even impossible. But the more risks you take, the more you can show yourself that you are not “too much” and the feeling that it is dangerous tobe yourself starts to disappear.