I have spent a lot of time worrying about whether I am what other people want me to be. I’ve agonised over that disapproving glance, the judgmental smirk and those cruel words. I have avoided difficult conversations and bitten my tongue – even when I have abhorred what’s been going on. For years I ignored who I truly am, so that I could be what I’m not. I have allowed myself to be invisible, and it has caused me pain. I reasoned that as long as I was not causing pain to others, it was a worthwhile compromise. The only problem is – that when I’m in pain, I can’t feel compassion and I can’t show love. When I hide who I really am, it’s too risky to be vulnerable. I believe that when others like me, it’s because they don’t know who I really am. That was part of the message I heard as I was growing up – and it’s the one that’s been the hardest to shake. But I’ve finally managed to do it.
Now I know who I truly am, and I love her. Because I love her, I can show her to the outside world, warts and all. I can withstand rejection because I can see in the person rejecting me the same insecurity that I used to feel day in, day out. And I respond with compassion. Now that I love and accept myself, I’ve become so much more accepting of others. The fear has gone.
Are you invisible? Do you hide who you truly are away, for fear of disapproval? Do you have a conformist mindset? Is being happy dependent on whether others like you? It’s time to look inside and become acquainted with your authentic self. Be prepared to connect with her, to like her – and hell, even love her. It’s the most important thing you will ever do. It will allow you to be open to others, to feel compassion, to love fully and live freely. It is the key to a contented life.