Do you let others define who you are? Do you change your views, opinions and conversations depending on who you are with? If this is a yes, then this is not good for your wellbeing at all! Instead you need to find your True You and show it to the world!
A life of changing masks
As a young girl, I grew up in an unconventional household caring for a sick mother, a mother who then died when I was 13. From a young age I knew I wasn’t like other children. I constantly felt like the odd one out and that people didn’t understand me.
I felt alone.
For as long as I can remember, I have always had a deep desire to feel appreciated and to be noticed. But because my self esteem was so low, I truly believed I needed to be someone else to fit in and to be accepted. I had a lot of experiences as a young girl where I felt rejected and these stuck with me into adulthood.
This was the start of my wardrobe of “masks”. I truly believed I displayed an air of sadness and vulnerability and who would want to be friends with that girl? I wanted others to like me, and for that to happen, I believed that I needed to change myself. From then on, I created multiple Hayleys, Hayleys people would love.
Hayleys that I did not know.
not being myself was my go to method
I found myself doing things out of my character, being loud, brash and generally incredibly outgoing. I made myself the life and the soul of the party so people would notice me and want to be with me. This and many others were part of my long list of endeavours to be a ‘cool girl’.
When in reality, my ideal evening, is a night in with some nice food, a film and some cuddles – not dancing on the tables acting ‘the fool’!
Not being myself was my go-to method for the first 30 years of my life. I mean, isnt that what people are supposed to do to be liked and loved??
You loose yourself
When you are constantly being something you are not, you wake up to the realisation that the rejection you fear from others, is nothing compared to the rejection you experience through loss of self.
So many of us have picked up messages in early life, when we feel as though we have said or done something that has exposed us to criticism or judgment. This then makes us believe that it is safer to be what we think other people need and want us to be.
what happens when you hide your true self?
- You spend so much time trying to be the right person for others, you do not stop and ask yourself if they are the right person for you. This can lead to bullying faux friends and draining relationships.
- You may amp yourself up and find yourself in a job that sucks the life out of you!
- You are constantly on guard and screening what you say and do to make sure you will not upset or offend.
- You feel lonely and become emotionally adrift as you become accustomed to not sharing your thoughts and feelings with others.
- You feel increasingly resentful – you have been the perfect person for others but it does not seem to equate to them loving you.
What does being your true self mean?
The truth of the matter is that we are silencing the truest expression of ourselves and we suffer a great deal of self criticism. We end up feeling far from what we ever intended to be.
The book that changed my life was Randy Pauschs ‘The Last Lecture’ where he said;
“Put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others.”
This quote means that we need to look after ourselves and must be ourselves before we can be for another. If we want to be loved for who we are, we need to consistently show up.
To be yourself is:
- to let go of the person you are when you are not following all of the rules.
- being who you briefly contemplate being, before your inner voice silences you.
- being who you are when when you are not seeking approval and affection from others, or to avoid criticism and rejection.
- to allow your outside to match your insides.
Greater piece of mind comes from living in alignment with your values. In your values, lies your truth. Living your truth is the key to your well-being, your harmonious experiences and relationships and your authentic life.
Being more of who you truly are will not happen over night. It is about being vulnerable and allowing yourself to show up, to make decisions, to voice your opinions and taking your mask off.
It has been a long road but I have moved on from a confused, & frustrated young girl into a very happy, contended young woman who now embraces herself and showing others the real her.
Essentialism has shown me that by eliminating my self belief of not being good enough, I had the freedom to explore and to find me again. Not anyone elses version of me – but me. It has taught me to live life less guarded; I have dared to be free, fluid and adaptable.