I used to care so much about what others thought about me. I just wanted to be liked by everyone. This meant I moulded myself into the person I thought people wanted me to be, which of course was quite an act to keep on top of, as every person wants something different. But I was very good at this game – this is one of the ‘benefits’ of being a highly sensitive type. I am very able to detect other people’s moods, emotions and expectations, and able to pander to these admirably. This is great for getting on with people, finding partners and friends, doing well in your career etc – basically anything that’s dependent on relationships, which most things are. But it is an absolute disaster in terms of your relationship with yourself, and therefore ultimately a disaster for every other aspect of your life, as the superficial pretence can’t be maintained forever. Understandably, by changing myself depending on who I was with, I completely lost all sense of who I was in the end.
I remember when I eventually realised I was unravelling spectacularly and found a counsellor, he used to ask me about my feelings and I couldn’t answer him. I would delve inside and find… nothing. A blank, a void. I felt like I didn’t exist, like I wasn’t a ‘real’ person. Which, I suppose, I wasn’t most of the time – instead I was a brilliantly crafted version of a whole raft of different personalities, depending on who I was with.
So, that’s why this blog has been a long time coming. I suppose until now I’ve still cared too much about what others think to put myself on the line, as it were, in a exposed position where I am fully aware that it’s likely many people will disagree with my thoughts. Until now, the thought of anyone not thinking highly or approving wholeheartedly of me has been too much to bear and I have tended to avoid confrontational situations at all costs. It’s been a long old journey coming to a place where I value speaking my truth above likeability and above needing external validation. I’d be lying to say I don’t care at all – of course I would love to be understood and respected for my views. But now I realise the egoic limitations of hiding my truth for the sake of being liked – it is but fear holding me back. Instead, I have come to an understanding that I only need to validate myself. Any other external validation is a secondary bonus.
So, my usual self-audit is to check whether my writing is coming from a place of current personal truth and an intention to spread love and self-empowerment. If it is, then I give it my personal stamp of validation. If not, then it’s back to the drawing board. Sometimes the answer isn’t clear, and I’m sure I won’t always get it right. But these days I know that, if I only have to answer to myself, then I’m OK either way, as I have learnt to forgive myself for any perceived mistakes. There are in fact no mistakes, only learning opportunities for growth.
I would also say that, given my social chameleon credentials, it’s been a long journey towards being able to tune into my personal truths. Once I realised my self-destructive pattern of people-pleasing, there then followed a few years of getting to myself again, which was painful and joyful in equal measures, and unbelievably liberating. The journey continues, as I believe the depth of our relationship with ourselves has no limit. We gradually uncover layer after layer of illusion, coming ever closer to the true light that we are. It’s a life work, and the most endlessly fascinating and fulfilling one at that. Becky May, it’s a pleasure to be getting to know you finally!
I encourage you to delve within today and find out something new about yourself… 🙂