All our lives we deal with people who have a judgement about us: our parents, teachers, friends, strangers, lovers, coworkers, etc. And vice versa. This does not mean however that we are who they believe us to be.
Take for example, the guy I worked with in high school who said “You intimidate men.” I could not comprehend why this was- I was just a normal girl from East Gore, NS. But I carried his sentiment with me for years… trying to mould myself to be more palatable to people – not just men but women too.
I didn’t want to be too outspoken, too attention seeking, too smart, too beautiful – in short “too much” of anything that would make others feel less than. So, I often stuffed myself into a box that I did not fit. All the hidden parts of me silently dying away inside.
Now, this wasn’t all the time because my true self had the knowledge of how amazing it felt to be truly me, and that feeling of freedom could not be tamed forever.
But then some man (or woman) would come along and tell me I was too something or not enough something. “You are too demanding” when I would voice my wants in a relationship. “You are too emotional” when I felt like my needs weren’t being met. “You are being unrealistic” when I would state my dreams of winters in a warmer climate. “Men like ____ (a whole list of characteristics that my friend was convinced were the only way to attract a man – most of which I was not)”.
So, then begins the shape shifting. Who must I be in order for these people to just accept me? Not so much because I felt like I needed their approval as I just didn’t want to hear them complain about who I was. The thought to tell them just to shut the fuck up certainly crossed my mind. And then the thought “But you don’t want to seem like a bitch” screamed louder.
I’ve been on the merry go round many times in romantic relationships. “Do this. Don’t do that. You can’t talk to that person. You can’t wear that. You’re this way ________ (and I don’t like it).” And I chose to get off that ride because it became apparent to me that it’s insane to care more for someone else than I do myself. #sorrynotsorry The gig of me playing small isn’t helping anyone.
Yesterday I actually heard it explained best by a friend of a friend in a Facebook post. “I am not intimidating. He was intimated. There’s a big difference.” Amen, sister!
The next time someone tries to make you feel small, tries to keep you from shining your light, tells you who you ‘should’ be, or some other form of utter nonsense, run! Their insecurities are not your issue to fix. No amount of you acting as less than you are is going to make them feel like enough in the long run. You will exhaust yourself trying to win that battle. So, just be you. No one else can do a better job of that!
“We all make mistakes and sometimes there’s just no way to fix them. But we can move forward wiser and more in control of our lives.” ~Susan Gale~