I think one of the greatest tragedies of life is not learning to see how we sabotage ourselves.
Here’s what I mean:
Our thoughts are incredibly powerful.
They tell us what to believe about ourselves; our lives; the lives of others; the world; culture; family; religion; literally everything.
Some of them are helpful.
Some of them are not.
All of them impact how we feel and how we behave.
We have been programmed to believe that we are responsible for the feelings of others.
That others are responsible for our feelings.
Not sure that’s true?
Every time you hear–‘How did that make you feel?’ Every time you say–‘How do you think that made so and so feel?’ You are reinforcing that someone else is responsible for your feelings.
Now I’m not saying that we don’t influence other people’s feelings.
I fully recognize that we are creatures that feel. That the things other people do and say influence us.
I would just like to share that we have more power over our feelings and our actions than what the world would like us to believe.
This is good news because it gives YOU back control of yourself. And if you’ve been here very long, you know that I am always harping on the fact that we can only control ourselves.
But that is not the only lie we believe.
The other major lie we have been taught to believe is that we cannot do or say anything that might be offensive to other people.
That we shouldn’t do or say anything that other people might not agree with.
That we shouldn’t do or say anything to tarnish another person’s opinion of us.
Now, I’m not saying you should walk around offending people. Or not being thoughtful about the things you do and say.
What I’m saying is that in holding back our honest thoughts and feelings, we are not only lying to ourselves, but we are pretending to be someone we are not.
Every time you hold back a thought from another person because you are afraid of coming across as _____ (fill in the blank for whatever you are afraid of being seen as), you are pretending.
You are purposely portraying a false version of yourself.
And every time you do this, your self confidence suffers.
Because there is, in the back of your mind, a little piece of yourself that knows you are not being your authentic self.
Here is the problem with this–every time you do this, you allow another person to believe you are someone you are not truly.
So they do not know the real you.
And the longer you continue to portray this false image of yourself, the harder it is to share who you really are.
The other person may “like” you, but it isn’t “you” they like. It is the image of yourself you have portrayed to them.
Now, we all do this to some extent. It is part of our instinct to belong, to connect, to be a part of a “tribe”.
The point isn’t not to ever do this.
The point is to be aware of yourself when you do.
To start to recognize when you do or say something that isn’t really congruent with who you really are.
If you can learn to recognize these moments, you can learn to do something about them.
You don’t have to be a jerk.
You don’t have to be offensive.
You don’t have to be mean.
Just. Be. You.
Because here’s the truth–everyone has a different definition of what is kind, what is rude, what is mean, what is offensive, what is loving and what is not.
You have to start by figuring out who you want to be. What do YOU want? What do YOU believe? Who do you want to show up as in any given moment?
Only YOU will know when you are not being congruent with your honest self.
And I will tell you this–people who truly love you will help you see when you are not being honest with yourself and others around you.
So the next time you recognize yourself blaming someone else for your feelings, or the next time you recognize you aren’t being honest with someone else about what you think or feel or who you are—say something!
It can be as simple as saying-‘You know, I was not being completely honest back there….’ or ‘I feel like I didn’t represent my true feelings when I said…’ or even ‘I am really working on being more honest in my relationships and I don’t think I did that when…..’
People who truly respect you, those who want to have genuine connection with you, will understand. AND those people will actually have MORE respect for you when you do so.
The best part of this though? YOU will have more respect for yourself.
So when you come across people who do like the real version of you, you can know it isn’t you, but them.
You cannot control what people are going to think and feel.
You can be mindful of those things, but you cannot control them.
And when you start to focus on being YOUR authentic self, you will find that it no longer matters as much if other people like you or not.
Because at the end of the day YOU like you. And nothing is more powerful than that.