Stop Changing Who You Are Based On Other People
It's a bad habit a lot of us do, including me.
|Kirstie Taylor||Oct 25, 2019|| 1|
I had this weird habit that took me a while to pick up on. Whenever I’d hang out with a friend, I’d mimic their behaviors; the way they said certain things, their gestures, talking about only what they’re into. I’d even go as far as to choose my outfit based on who I’d be seeing.
I realized I manipulated my image based on who I spent my time with.
There are two issues with this behavior:
I didn’t feel confident in who I was
I didn’t feel comfortable enough around the people I hung out with
I used to feel like hanging out with my best friend was a breath of fresh air. I’d tell people that he was the one person I could act like myself around. It was like a window opening, and I could finally breathe.
But that actually said a lot more about me than it did about him.
If you’re changing yourself based on who you’re around, you have an issue; your sense of identity is malleable to other’s influence. Maybe the reason is you lack self-confidence or haven’t done enough self-exploration. Regardless, you don’t want to carry on with habits of changing who you are based on others. You’ll feel drained and miss out on profound relationships that form from being your authentic place.
“The real difficulty is to overcome how you think about yourself.”
- Maya Angelou
Knowing your authentic self is like a quest. What is it that makes you unique? Start to really consider what your interests and personal fashion tastes are. The moment I leaned into an edgier style that I love, I started to feel like I was expressing a side of me I always hid. And when it came to my love for drawing, I didn’t care if my other friends did it. I did it for me.
Question the things you say you like that you do with your friends. Figure out if you genuinely like these things. If not, toss them and stick to doing that you love. The go-to activity that I said I loved to do (which even made it into my dating profiles) was hiking. Sure, hiking is cool. But I actually prefer solo hiking, if I’m going to do it. I actually don’t like hiking with other people. I think I just said that because everyone else did.
Know the only approval you need is yours. As kids, we desperately sought approval from our parents and other kids. As adults, we no longer need acceptance like we thought we did. Our boss and co-worker’s approval isn’t as big of a deal as we believe. Our friends and loved ones will most likely be more accepting than we fear. So just do you. You’re the only person’s opinion that matters in the end.
See the strengths in your differences. These aspects of yourself are what make you interesting. They’re what separate you from everyone else. Don’t shy away from these just to fit in with other people. Celebrate them. They’re what makes you the happiest and could be what leads you to purpose-filled success in life.
Choose friends that make you feel comfortable. Don’t hang out with people that make you feel like you have to be someone else. When you’re done hanging out with someone, ask yourself this: do you feel drained or filled? I consider this with all my friends. It’s a tough thing to do, but if you answered that they drain you, then you need to seriously consider removing that person from your life. Toxic friends are detrimental to your overall happiness.
Change your perspective from change to improving. There’s a big difference. Change is a mindset that something is wrong with you and needs to be fixed. Improving means you’re fine-tuning and working towards a bigger goal. As long as your goals are in line with your authentic self, then change that comes with improving is healthy. Just make sure you’re not doing it solely for others.
It’s been a breath of fresh air to be whoever the hell I want to be at all times. I mean, I choose not to be a dick or careless, but I also am firm in my sense of self. I no longer exhaust energy in trying to manipulate who I come off as.
There’s a lot of power in standing firm in your authentic self. Give it a try. You’d be surprised how much better life can be.
All the love,
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