So many of us feel an internal pressure to fit into a version of ourselves that we deem to be acceptable for others, however, this comes from a place of “I’m not enough”. We are so worried about what other people will think of us that we trade away our ability to be authentic in place of who we think we should be. Although this comes from a good intention which is to fit in, to belong, to be loved and accepted, what we are failing to notice is that this behaviour contradicts all that we desire because the truth is that in doing so we are not including, loving or accepting ourselves. The mere act of trying to be something other than ourselves creates a feeling of discomfort within us and those around us. It also creates an invisible barrier between us and others and does not afford the opportunity for other people to really see us. 

The question then becomes how can someone actually decide if we are for them if we do not present who we actually are? All we achieve in this pursuit of acceptance is a dragging out of relationships that do not serve our higher purpose. Perhaps it’s time we let those people “move on”….. and let the people who are for us be allowed to see us and those who are not for us to be allowed to exit stage left. Why would you want to adapt yourself to be accepted by someone who deep in the core of you, you probably do not really want to be aligned with? If someone cannot appreciate you as you are they are not going to make you happy. 

Whilst conforming to these self-imposed expectations, although we may feel some temporary relief that we might have been perceived in the “right” way, what it actually delivers is a long-term discomfort in all our relationships, particularly the one we have with ourselves. I’ve said many times to my clients that you can’t be anyone else because everyone else is taken. It’s important to remember that the most attractive that we will ever be is the moment we get really comfortable in our own skin.

The premise of trying to conform comes out of an innate desire to belong. Many of us have at different times in our lives compromised our authenticity in order to be accepted, whether that be at home, in the workplace or in social settings. However, this can have a profound impact on our mental wellbeing. From a very early age, we learn that certain behaviours elicit different responses from our parents, so we learn to adapt and behave in a particular way in order to avoid a negative response. As we grow and develop our desire to be accepted can lead us to conform in a variety of ways in order to fit in. At the extreme end of the scale, we might even find ourselves in relationships with people who are misaligned with our true selves in order to please others. Carrying this into adulthood can be detrimental and can be quite exhausting putting on a continuous front that is not aligned with who you truly are. 

Maybe it’s about time you made yourself happy by recognising that your true happiness comes from within and when you can accept yourself as you are, the good, the bad and the ugly (we all have all of those elements) then you no longer need the approval of other people, you can ‘want’ them to like you but you no longer ‘need’ them to like you, for you to be okay with you.

The act of accepting your authentic self and resisting the impulse to conform to what others expect you to be is a liberating and courageous pursuit. The truth is that you are no more worthy or no less worthy than any other human on this planet.

So practise communication that is open and honest and allow yourself to be vulnerable, recognising that there is no right or wrong, there is only opinion. Give yourself permission to be allowed to express yourself in a way that honours you and supports the person that you are. Stop trying to aim for perfection because it is an unattainable pursuit and recognise that it’s okay to get it wrong along the way to getting it right. You don’t have to live anyone else’s way. The benefits of living authentically far outweigh the discomfort of putting on a mask to please others and can lead to much more rewarding relationships and an inner peace within yourself. You are worthy of love and acceptance but that starts from within because that is the only place you will ever find true happiness and contentment.

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