How to Be You No Matter Who You are With

Fact: The need to survive is coded into our DNA.

Fact: We are social creatures and social acceptance is a part of that survival.

Reality: You care what people think about you.  You care a lot.  Me too. 

Which is why it can feel like we have to push the best of who we are and cover the rest.  And why there is a vast array of clothing, shoes and other accessories (that can be used to create what some call a mask).

We just want to be liked, accepted or at least included, which is why we hate being questioned, judged or criticized (these feel like we are being pushed away).

 

At one time, my own need for acceptance was so strong that I found myself anxiously watching those around me, afraid I would say or do something wrong. 

 

My stomach ached, even as I loudly proclaimed, “I don’t care what others think!”

Sweet Release

Would it surprise you to know that some people are free of all this?  They do not feel uncomfortable under a judgmental gaze; they are not defensive about what they think, how they act or even look. 

 

In fact, they easily express who they are, no matter who they are with.

If you, like so many of us, are not there yet, here is one (scary?) way to freedom -- 3 steps:

    1.   Tell yourself the truth!  We cannot be free until we

fully accept that we do care what people think.  If you are not quite there, repeat it mentally and verbally until the reality shines through.

 

    2.  Make a quick list from these questions:

* What clothes do you wear that help you feel like you fit in (the ones that say I am a student, office or construction worker, biker or soccer mom)?

* What part(s) of your body do you disguise or hide (a crooked tooth; balding; wide hips)? 

*  What accessories and products do you use to improve the basic you?    

Ready, Set...

 

    3.   Now gather your courage, and for one day (or part of a

day) leave off an item from your list: go out into the world without a piece of identifying clothing; or without one product; or without covering or hiding a part of your body.

 

Some people hesitate to even try this, because they think they will be looked at strangely, ridiculed or rejected; they imagine feeling anxious, embarrassed or outright scared.

 

Those who do it anyway are often (very) surprised to realize that people are far too self-absorbed to even notice big changes; and when they do notice a change, they can only ask Is there something different about you?

Those who do it also find that facing those negative feelings  can increase inner-strength.  And those feelings can be awful; but, feelings fade and even at their worst cannot hurt us.

 

And hold onto this: every time you go out with less mask and more you, you come closer to that miraculous sense of self-acceptance, along with the ability to express all of who you are — easily.

But Slowly

 

I know I put a picture of runners above, but leaving off too many items at one time can bring up a tsunami of negative emotions and drown you right out of the experience.  Doing a lesser amount consistently can bring the same self-acceptance and inner-strength. 

The key is to push through the initial period of discomfort in the easiest possible way, and to keep going even if that period lasts longer that you want it to or thought it would.

No products? If it seems like I am down on all cool clothing, sparkling accessories and awesome products, I am not.

 

I believe the ones that make us feel special, feel cared for and feel good ought to be used in abundance, while letting go of those we hope will bring us greater acceptance, admiration or love.

And, ignore this post!   Step 2 will push most of us out of our comfort zones, but is that what you need right now? 

If you are currently feeling vulnerable, I encourage you to ignore this information, until you are ready.

Because YOU are the only one who knows what is best for you—always.

Yes

You do have a level

     It can be raised

          And you can raise it

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