Self-ImprovementSelf-Love

If I’m Being Honest, I’m Still Afraid Of Being Myself

I’m a being honest, I’m not myself 100% of the time.

I’m a natural people pleaser and I want to give more than I take, but when I fall short and disappoint others around me for not being fast enough, not being enthusiastic enough, or not being generous enough, I break down. I hurt myself and say I’m unworthy of love. I blame myself for being selfish, even when I attempt to put on a friendly and sweet front so people will think I’m just a nice, agreeable woman who’s also diligent. So I can feel useful and somehow better about myself.

I think for women, there’s still a stigma for not being nurturing or caring enough. There’s immense pressure to be agreeable at all times and to placate others by saying what they want to hear and being obedient. Oh, and to smile all the damn time.

I’m also very competitive. I bite off more than I can chew. I’m genuinely happy for those who do well in their careers and choose life paths that suited for them, but I’m more sad for myself. I’m afraid of failure. I’m afraid of not measuring up or proving that I can be more than what I am now. All people are deserving of their personal joy and fulfillment, but watching them achieve life goals triggers something in me – it makes me angry that I haven’t secured that for myself.

There’s also the immense pressure for women to be good at everything and crushing it in their careers, side hustles, and love lives by the age of 26.

Being a people pleaser and being competitive don’t go well together. Especially when I’m so tired of sacrificing my true self and hold back a lot of what I know I’m capable of saying and doing. And I get upset when others are able to be themselves unapologetically because it’s what I’ve been denying myself all along.

I’m honestly tired of hiding who I am and pretending to be a combination of types of people that find success quickly. I thought I could fake it until I made it. I thought that I would eventually find myself if I put myself into roles of people who do well in life – the productivity guru, the minimalist pixie dream girl, and practical, no-nonsense professional who’s realistic.

I feel like a hypocrite. I talk a lot about individuality and doing things your way without shame, yet in my daily life, if I’m being super honest, I don’t abide by the principles I set for myself. I don’t share things with others because I’m afraid of them rejecting me. I’m afraid of stepping out of line. I’m afraid of not being accepted for who I am.

I’ve attempted to journal everything I think and feel, but beyond the first page, my journals are left blank because I’m holding myself back from expressing all the things I want to say. It’s more than just self-consciousness, it’s a fear of allowing myself to express who I am, as I truly am.

This feeling of inadequacy extends to my personal interests: I don’t allow myself to enjoy the hardcore science fiction novels I like or talk about them because I don’t want to come across as pretentious. I have a soft spot for sentimental romance novels, but I can’t fangirl over those either because I don’t want to come across as shallow and overly emotional. I can’t talk about how Miyazaki is so much better than Disney because that’s sacrilegious to most people. I can’t share some underrated classic rock songs I genuinely like because not many people can relate to them. I want to start a new blog and not hold myself back from writing posts that are different from other blogs, but I’m afraid people will judge me for having a really weird and geeky blog that’s 100% me.

I don’t allow myself to chase after my songwriting dreams, and I lie whenever I claim that I just want to sing in my room for the rest of my life. I don’t want to remain as a mediocre hobbyist, and I’m not being honest when I say that I don’t want my songs to be heard at all.

These are little and insignificant problems in the grand scheme of things, but when they add up, it’s clear that I’m too afraid of living for myself. I don’t think I’m that likable compared to other people. I’m not sweet or meek. I don’t say smooth, buttery words. I hate kissing ass to people who are above me. I’m quite crass and brutally honest. I’m harsh and quick to point out bullshit from others (and myself). I tend to be overly critical about certain things, especially about the media and the economy, that hasn’t won me many friends. So being the people-pleaser that I am, I’ve toned myself down a lot and allowed the unlikable sides of me to wither away. I pretend to agree with everyone for the sake of preserving myself, but so far, it’s hurting more than it’s helping me.

And I’m tired of it. I’m tired of holding myself back. I’m tired of denying myself my own power. I’m tired of trying to stay as small, bland, and agreeable as possible. I’m tired of living under the shadow of people I admire. I’m tired of saying that I can’t be myself as if I’m the exception to the rule – everyone can be themselves except me. For much of my life, I never thought “being myself” would work for me because I too weird (but then I feel like admitting that I’m too weird would make me seem like I’m selfish and full of myself, so I often pretend to be normal and don’t label myself as weird).

It’s a struggle. I realize that self-discovery isn’t about following a perfect productivity routine. It’s full of dead ends and dark, twisting tunnels with no hope of light at the end. I don’t always know who I even am at times and I’ve questioned if it’s worth being myself if I can’t be liked. I can’t be marketable if I’m too weird and unappealing. It’s been a problem in my life because every time I try to be as compliant and pleasing as possible, I’m still judged for not being as good as other people. I’ve felt alienated. I’ve felt worthless.

This is probably why deep down, I’m an advocate for being yourself, as cliché as it might sound. Because being yourself isn’t easy, especially when you’re not like other people and you want to present yourself in a likable manner, but your essence gives you away and you’re still unlikable. It breaks my heart that others too suffer from the mockery and misunderstanding that comes from breaking away from society’s norms.

But I’m here to be myself. I came to live, not to be liked, but to be unapologetically myself. I won’t make my dreams smaller than myself and I’ll give up when I truly feel like it’s best for me, but I won’t let anyone else force me to give up or make me feel guilty about anything I do. I want to let myself like what I like without restraint. I want to love who I am and stop torturing myself for not meeting the expectations of others. I want to embrace my inner geek and my inner rebel because they are so full of life and without them, I’m just a hollow shell of a sad girl who has given up before she even had a chance to make this life her own.

And I encourage you all to do the same. TC mark

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Author of I Am the Unknown. Follow Christine on Instagram or read more articles from Christine on Thought Catalog.