Many of us pretend to be something we’re not. Each one of us feels, to some extent, that we are not worthy or good enough or not lovable. We tend to hide these aspects of ourselves because we judge them and are ashamed of them.
We expect ourselves to be perfect. If we are impatient or suffer from anxiety or are competitive, we judge these qualities in ourselves as negative. So we wear a mask, pretending we are not these things and try not to outwardly display these characteristics. We suppress ourselves. However, this creates an internal struggle within as we begin each day hiding these vital parts of us. We live life thinking something is wrong with us and constantly try to be perfect. We reject who we are.
Then we begin to judge others. Keep in mind, anyone we meet who is critical of us, is actually more judgemental about themselves. Most of us wonder what we can do to release this burden of shame. I have an activity that I’d like you to try:
Get a pen and paper and write down all the things you see as negative about yourself. Write down everything you’re hiding and covering up about yourself that you don’t want anyone to find out. Most people feel if others got to know them, at their true core, they would be rejected and abandoned.
Write down the behaviours you’re ashamed of. They could include: I could be more patient, I could be calmer, I could be less selfish, etc.
Look at this list and realize it’s human nature. We all have a part of us that is impatient. We all have a part of us that is nervous or selfish. Of course these parts vary in each person. Once you accept that these qualities are who you are and they are part of being human, you will open yourself up to deepen the happiness you can experience.
If you choose to continue to suppress yourself and hide, you will likely suffer. When we hold on to shame, we tend to engage in self-abusing behaviour. We deprive ourselves from enough sleep or nutrition or even love. We also attract people who harm us.
“A person can only abuse you as much as you abuse yourself.”
We tend to attract people to us who treat us how we treat ourselves. If you neglect yourself you will likely attract a perfect match to neglect you the exact same amount that is within your comfort zone.
The answer is self-love. Embrace your humanity and work towards accepting every part of you. This is the key to happiness.