By Peggie Arvidson
Do You Ever Feel Like You Can’t be Your True Self?
I read hands and have been a professional palmist for more than 13 years. I also talk to animals, listen to messages from Nature, meditate and have a deeply personal practice with A Course in Miracles.
These are not necessarily things that come up in mainstream conversation. While I’m a proponent of “being me” and encourage others to find their inner bliss and live it out loud, I also have a very stubborn Saturnian streak – that is about practicality, nuts and bolts and to an extent, fitting in which is at a polar opposition to my unbelievable need to live my eccentricities out loud.
It’s hard to tell people that I read hands and never mind the struggle I have about how much is too much to share about the rest of my beliefs. My beliefs are all hard won, lots of soul searching, researching and practical testing have gone into my stances on everything from eating meat to working for the man to reincarnation. All of these are intrinsic to who I am and how I see myself, but they aren’t always easy to share. I’d rather blather on about some funny story or a tidbit of what happened on my last hike in the Canyon than tell you some of these deep-seated beliefs of mine.
It seems I don’t care if you think I’m too talkative or even too bossy, but I do care what you think about my deepest beliefs. I guess I’m just afraid I won’t fit in. In that I’m not so different from everyone else in the world – we all just want to be loved and we are all desperately afraid that if someone knows the “real” person residing inside, then we will be unlovable. Right?
I’m telling you this in case you ever find yourself in a position where you feel you can’t be “you.”
Now I’m not talking about overt bias and bigotry – that’s a real problem that cannot be shifted with a few mindset shifts primarily, because the bigotry resides in the mind of the bigot. I’m talking about plain old-fashioned self-defeating fear that says you can’t fit in and be you.
I’ve heard people of all ages tell me that they don’t give a hoot what anyone thinks of them. I admire that stance but I also sense in many of their declarations a defensiveness that comes from a desire to, in essence, ostracize themselves before they can be ostracized.
What do you do if you feel like you can’t be you? How do you deal with those feelings that make you want to hide out – at least from a part of who you know yourself to be?
I posed the questions, “Do you ever feel like you can’t be yourself, and if so, how do you overcome that feeling?” to one of my private Facebook groups and was intrigued and delighted by the responses.
Being yourself in all situations can be hard, but here are some tips, thoughts and insights from my brilliant group members:
“Really the idea of one’s ‘whole self’ is a misnomer. It usually means the self to which I am most attached, that I accept as ‘me’ – that I wish others to accept as ‘me’. This no more ‘my whole self’ than the selves I keep private. Feeling constrained in the presence of others is a matter of comfort – not essence. Advice? I like ‘follow your bliss’ – just not sure what it means at 4am, 3rd wakeup for the night tending to a baby, or elderly relative, or….any number of things that still require presence regardless of how the ‘whole self’ feels about it. Don’t do things that make you feel lousy, keep your word, back your own experience, recognize how much you don’t know, how much vaster the world (and I) am than I can possibly conceive. Don’t blame others for your disinclination to be in clear disagreement with them.” ~ Ruth
Kim shares, “I have often felt like that (like I couldn’t be myself) my entire life. Learning my Myers-Briggs type helped a lot with understanding the why of it but it has taken years (hand analysis and learning to read hands over the last couple of years added another layer of understanding) to feel like it’s OK to be me. There are times when I still “hide out” depending on the situation and people.”
And finally, Pamelah says, “I share the parts of me that I want to share with each person. It’s not the same with everybody and that feels completely right.”
So I bring the question to you fine reader, do you ever feel you can’t be yourself? What does being “your true self” mean to you? And what do you do to find your truth when you’re feeling afraid to share it?
Have a wonderful rest of your winter. Here’s to a warm and sunny Spring!