Archive for August 26th, 2011

I told a friend (one of my best friends who I met after therapy) what I blogged about yesterday, and her response was surprise that I would ever try to be anything but me. She was truly perplexed that I would think that I needed to be anything other than myself. I was perplexed that she was perplexed.

Why have I been afraid to be me? It’s all shame-driven, which is why it has been so hard to shake. Here are criticisms I have heard about myself for my entire life:

  • Too intense
  • Talk too fast
  • Too “Type A”
  • Too passive/too headstrong (depending upon who is commenting)
  • Nerd/Geek (straight A’s, computer geek, etc.)
  • Too honest
  • Too committed (stay in things too long) and don’t try hard enough (again, depending upon who is commenting)
  • Too “perfect” (goody two shoes) and not good enough (again, depending upon who is commenting)
  • Too smart (make other people feel stupid)
  • Too nice/not nice enough (another depending upon the person)
  • Not good at “Southern Women” things – housekeeping, etc.
  • Lacking in social graces (learn through bumbling about basics like ask what to wear and what to bring when invited to someone’s house)

I come across as very confident, which many people (mostly pre-therapy people) seem to think needs to be knocked down a notch. I am actually an incredibly frightened person who has spent her life trying to be “perfect” so I won’t be abandoned. As you can see from my list, being “perfect” is hard to do when I am both too nice and not nice enough at the same time.

I am finished defining myself by anyone else’s list. Here is my own list that I will live by. People can take me or leave me, but these rules are replacing those that others have placed upon me:

  • I will be myself regardless of the setting – in personal relationships, professional relationships, and everything in between
  • I will be honest – not cruel and tactless, but honest in a diplomatic way
  • I give myself permission to make mistakes and view them as learning opportunities – If I cannot make a mistake in a relationship, then I don’t need that relationship
  • I will listen to my intuition and follow its lead – no more talking myself into staying in places that I have outgrown
  • I will be true to myself no matter the cost – no relationship in my life is worth abandoning myself for
  • I will set aside time each day for myself – to exercise, watch a comedy, read a book, do yoga, take a walk — something that is just for me
  • I will not take responsibility for anyone else’s side of a relationship – I am responsible for my own actions and reactions, not anyone else’s
  • I will keep telling myself that I will be OK no matter what life throws my way until I believe it – there is nothing and no one that I cannot survive losing
  • I will give myself the freedom to express whatever I am feeling, no matter how badly it feels, and learn how to feel my emotions without being washed away by them
  • I will not allow anyone else’s opinion of me to define me
  • I will keep telling myself that I love myself as I am until I believe it

Photo credit: Hekatekris

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