I spent the majority of my life trying to be whatever I thought people wanted me to be. The perfect daughter, student, friend, girlfriend, wife… you name it… usually to my own detriment. Because it is hard to change who you are. Exhausting, really. Plus, the downside is that you don’t really know who YOU are.
When I was 21, I was shy, yet outspoken, I was not confident in myself, my abilities, or my intelligence. I met someone who was SO wrong for me that I lost some really good friends over it. But I didn’t care. Because no matter how wrong it was, and believe me, if FELT wrong… it was someone who paid a least a little attention to me.
I had a pretty good childhood, don’t get me wrong. I had loving parents, but they had a lot of problems within their own situation, so there was always a missing sense of security. I didn’t date much growing up, and always seemed to choose the wrong guy. Emotionally unavailable, or even gay. So I saddled myself with a relationship that would never work, and proceeded to spiral down the rabbit hole.
But then something happened. Around the time of my 30th birthday, I was introduced to myself for the first time. And, against my natural instincts, I liked who I met. I met a woman who was smart, funny, sassy, and capable. Beyond capable, really. It was an interesting meeting, really, because my brain still wanted to get all of it’s validation from external sources. Did someone else think I was smart? It was hard to tell, with the work situation I was in. I never felt like I could do anything right, even though I was getting kudos right and left from the people who I was helping the most. I couldn’t gain the approval of my boss, so I felt like I was a failure.
Did someone else think I was attractive? I didn’t get that validation from the frog, who spent most of his time trying to feel better about himself by running me down, or spending the rest of his time running around with other women.
But, as I got to know this new woman, who was so different than the 21 year old girl I had been, I learned a few things. I deserved better than the life I had chosen. I deserved more recognition that what I was receiving at work. I met some friends along the way who thought I was brilliant, and told me so often.
And once your insides start to exceed your outsides, a change is bound to occur. It was pointed out to me last week that a great deal of the depression I have felt for most of my life came from knowing one thing about myself, yet believing what others would tell me… good or bad. I thought I was strictly about receiving external validation…
Until my therapist, Yoda, pointed out a simple fact – Regardless of what other people tell me… I still know what I am capable of. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be starting a business, or two. Because I KNOW that I can do more than what I have been doing. And when you listen to your insides, and start gaining some joy from simply knowing that you can do it… you will be happier with what you are doing.
I also find that when you know who YOU are, you are more likely to find the people who will best compliment you. I found the man I was meant to be with, and because he loves me for the real me, I am free to explore the me I COULD be.
So ask yourself this – Are you in or are you out?