Issue 11. February 10, 2023 ✨ Higher Power Coaching & Consulting ✨
Before recovery I was absolutely mired in fear. I didn’t understand it was fear I was experiencing until it was gone. I realize now that it was mainly fear of being judged by others. Well, technically – fear of being judged and rejected by others.
The way I managed that as a codependent people-pleaser was that I morphed myself into what I thought you wanted me to be. That meant a lot of Barb was up for negotiation. There were certain core elements of me that have remained the same for sure, but much of me was negotiable.
The way I morphed myself was but putting up all different facades or masks. I did it for those I knew and those I didn’t know. Including those I was meeting for the first time as well as strangers in line at the store! I’d make decisions about what I thought they wanted from me, or what would impress them (without ever talking to them). That is, I was a chameleon. Can you relate to that?
That means I was really defensive because I didn’t want people to “see behind the curtain” and realize I wasn’t who they thought I was. I was afraid of what they’d think of the real me, but honestly there was no real me. At least not a complete real me. None of this was conscious at the time, mind you. I can only see all this in retrospect.
One thing I want to make clear – it’s perfectly normal to have slightly different personas based on our different life roles (colleague, sibling, parent, sports fan). I’m not talking about those kinds of role changes that are normal to switch between.
This goes much deeper. I’m talking about identity. Who I was was up for negotiation.
I had all these different masks I was managing, so I was defensive all the time which means I was stressed out and filled with tension all the time- certainly not happy joyous and free!
I (somehow) finally realized that I am going to be judged. There’s no avoiding it. Human beings are discerning, judging creatures. We have to be. Given that, how about if I get judged for the actual me instead of some fake version of me?
Not everyone is going to like you. That’s not possible. Once you really comprehend that you WILL be judged, and there’s nothing you can do about, it’s a lot easier to let go of the masks. Why put up masks if you’re going to be judged no matter what?!
Now that I’ve stopped putting up all those masks, and learned to live in alignment with my values, I have a lot more peace and serenity. And guess what?? *I* like me. So it’s not as important that YOU like me as it was before. I’m much more comfortable in my own skin (because it’s my actual skin, not some mask!).
I don’t have to live inside those other people, but do I have to live in my own skin. I’d rather focus on me and liking me which means I honor myself and my preferences. If I don’t like something or I don’t want to do something I say so. The result is that I’m honoring others as well by being genuine with them. They know who they’re getting and that I’ll tell them the truth – they can trust me.
As the quote goes – “It’s better to be hated for who you are then loved for who you are not.”
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