Afraid to be yourself
I really like this TED talk by JP Sears, a life coach who uses humor in much of his material. The message, which is to be weird by being yourself, is deliberately impertinent.
He makes a point that provokes and sticks a finger in the eye of our inner demons. For me, they are my perfectionist, my pleaser and my hermit.
“Don’t be yourself. People will think you’re weird because you’re not playing by the rules!” the perfectionist screams.
“Don’t be yourself. You don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable,” the pleaser begs.
“Don’t be yourself. You don’t want to draw too much attention to yourself!” the hermit cries.
For most of my life, I believed that I had to do things right, make sure others were ok with me and not stand out from the crowd. In fact, I was afraid to even be part of a crowd. So I hid behind my shyness. Or I would hide at home, where it was “safe.”
Until it wasn’t safe at home. When I tried being myself with my ex-husband, at home or out socially, I received the message from him that I was being selfish, uncaring. So little by little, being myself felt threatening. It was certainly a threat to him, and I decided that I didn’t want that much power. Being that powerful meant I would lose someone’s approval, someone’s love. So I made myself small, so small, that I felt like I would disappear.
Of course, I could never win anyone’s love by making myself small. Least of all my own self-love.
I’ve now grown out of these inner “demons” for the most part, but when I’m afraid, they pipe up again.
How to be weird
Hearing the message, be weird, is liberating and refreshes my intentions to be more myself than I ever have been.
How do you embody your weirdness? JP shares these three suggestions:
- Have a willingness to embrace discomfort. Discomfort is essential. Otherwise you will always fear rejection.
- Find the blessing in your curse. Your curse is what you are ashamed of the most, which are typically your gifts. It’s what you sense is only your burden to carry (“I’m the only one”).
- Amuse thyself. He reminds us that there is hilarious material inside you. Find it.
To summarize, JP says:
Are you willing to say yes to being you?
[Photo: Octavio Fossatti, Unsplash]