Go where you're wanted. Not where you're needed.
I was addicted to approval for most of my life. I cared what people thought of me... like a lot. I hid who I really was because I hated attention and visibility. I followed rules because I cared what people thought about me and how I behaved... that I could prove somehow that by being "obedient" and "good" would make them like me more and accept me as a member of society??
It sounds ridiculous even writing it out.
But I still struggle with this. My deeper beliefs about who I am can overpower my thoughts about who I want to be, and I look to others to validate one or the other. It gets confusing.
Beliefs and thoughts are 2 separate things. Beliefs are mostly what we absorb as children. They can be positive or negative. Beliefs drive our subconscious and pop up in the form of fears, hesitations, actions we are (un)willing to take, underlying motivations, etc. Thoughts are suggestions we tell ourselves that don't actually make a difference in our behavior.
"I want to lose weight. I want to be healthier. I should go exercise."
"I'm not scared to speak in front of other people. I'm totally fine and excited."
Both of these are thoughts I have that aren't grounded in beliefs. Neither is true of me and therefore, neither one happens. I don't go for a run and I DEFINITELY don't speak to groups.
Beliefs are just thoughts we've made real. If you think something long enough, it gets into your subconscious. This is why what we tell ourselves on a regular basis is so important.
I believed I was always a shy person because that's the message I got from the world around me. I reasoned (thought) that I was just as normal as the next guy, and what did everyone else feel the need to comment on?
Because of this belief, and because I subconsciously surround myself with people who are outgoing and spontaneous (the 100% opposite of me), I thought I needed to change. I thought something was wrong with me. Too quiet. Too shy. Too reserved.
How can I make myself more like these exciting people? How can I become loud and fun and not be uncomfortable doing it? What can I possibly offer the world?
I would try to become this other person that was more fun / popular / loud / energetic / daring / etc.
Know what? It was miserable.
When I learned I wasn't actually shy, I was just an introvert and didn't like the spotlight and that was totally ok and half the world is just like me..... my belief about myself changed. My thoughts remain the same.... I still I'm normal :) but now it's even more true. Beliefs and thoughts have aligned.
My confidence in myself skyrocketed and I was able to help other introverts struggling with the same problem. That's what happens when your beliefs and your thoughts align. You find a part of your purpose.
So why are you afraid to be yourself?
Are you afraid to be celebrated for who you are and how you're made?
It's not meant as a harsh judgey question. Just a nudge to look inward and try to discover more about yourself.
When we let negative comments about our character sink in, no matter how small they might be or how jokingly they were meant, we allow our beliefs about ourselves to shift. We give away our power. Confidence leaks out.
Without our power, we can't live the life we were meant to live. We can't fulfill our purpose on this earth.
The only way to remedy this? Be unapologetic-ally YOU.
Respect from others (and from yourself) will come after that. You don't have time to waste being someone else. You have a role to fill here and you're depriving us all by not being 100% you.
Make the decision to not care what they think. It takes practice, but if I can do it, you can too.
You'll find your tribe if you howl loud enough.