Struggling to “be you” is more common than believed! It is said, “Be true to yourself.” The truth is, being true to yourself can be difficult in our society, from our work environment to even our homes. Oftentimes I feel a sense of urgency to be what or say that thing or do that thing that I think will be pleasing to others.
Yes, sometimes I struggle to be me. Truth is, so many of us still feel the need to be something else. There is a fear to “be You.” We are afraid of upsetting others or fear what will be said or thought of us.
Still struggling to “be you” does not make you weak or that there is something wrong with you. None of us are born knowing—we are born learning! Yes, we have learned through our experiences and behaviours of others.
In other words, our environments are powerful incubators teaching us how and who to be. The struggle to “just be you” can lead to depression and anxiety after a while—if not faced and handled. Gaining an understanding of ourselves and practicing healthy habits will, in time, change this struggle.
WHY DOES THIS STRUGGLE PERSIST?
Psychological research teaches us that behaviours are learned. Therefore struggling to “be you” is learned by the socialization of our caregivers. Therefore, many of us have learned to be what we were told or demonstrated to be.
What’s really important, is that these behaviours can be changed. Our early childhood years are important years. Consequently, this is when we need to be allowed to explore our environments. Above all, trial and error from our exploration, if allowed and met appropriately, will help us to develop healthy attachments to our parents/caregivers.
For example, attachment to caregivers that are inconsistent and met with censorship and large doses of criticism has significant shaping of the personality and identity. We become adults who are shy, acquiesce easily, doubt ourselves– struggling to “be you.”
WHAT’S THE POINT?
Subsequently, it’s not a coincidence some women fall into toxic relationships. An example of this is falling for a person, perhaps, who tends to meet underlying needs.
For some its attention, may be allowed to be free-spirited at first, then as the relationship gets older, the person’s “true colours” come to light. Subsequently, we end up conforming to and struggling to “just be you.”
Said another way, we become attracted to what we did not receive or get to explore during our childhood and adolescent years with our caregivers. Above all, being true to yourself becomes more difficult.
WHAT BECAME OF THESE EXPERIENCES?
Consequently, children internalize messages in their own way. In other words, if messages in words and actions by caregivers are not clear, this is where the insecurities start to build. The struggle to “just be you” gains more strength. Furthermore, the actions of parents, relatives, teachers, and the church-especially, matter!https://www.choosingtherapy.com/anger-at-parents-in-adulthood/
However, the opposite of this is true! When children and adolescents’ exploration and experiences are met with intentional large doses of encouragement and appropriate boundaries, they end up with a more secure identity. Therefore, they become adults who will have healthy attachment styles in their relationships!
WHAT DOES THIS LOOK LIKE? “I MISSED MY FLIGHT”
Life happens, even when you do your best! To some, your best can be viewed as “not good enough” or worse yet “irresponsible.” The day I was to leave for Columbus, Ohio, my work duties and schedule went “side-ways.” As a result, I ended up leaving home a bit later than expected. Of course, the inevitable happened! I-95 to Fort Lauderdale Airport was a beast! Ultimately, I missed my flight. I have never experienced this in my life.
STRUGGLING TO BE ME IN THE MOMENT
I have never missed a flight in my life!!! I made the decision to finish a task that I knew was critical. Yes, I was told by my spouse and children that I should cancel my duties. At this moment, I struggled to be me— I almost acquiesced! I felt pressured—but I stood by what I needed to get done.
MY INNER VOICE
Meanwhile traveling back home, I could feel the frustration of my spouse—perhaps it was my own. There was a drop in my stomach. As I sat quietly, I reflected on my decision which I did not regret! I decided to “just be me.” Interestingly, while I was having an internal dialogue, I noticed that he was more compassionate to me than I was to myself.
Contrasting my spouse’s silent response, was that of my 15-year-old daughter. She was quite stern and started to lecture me. Then I wondered, was my daughter’s critical voice a regurgitation of my past voice.
STEP INTO IT
We are constantly negotiating our lives in various environments and contexts. Skillfully moving through requires accountability. By this, I mean being accountable for what you want. Certainly, I did own the fact that I missed the flight. I also apologized to my spouse and children. Note, my 12-year-old daughter laughed so hard—I laughed too!
REALIZATION AND ACCEPTANCE-PART 1
Most importantly, I owned what was happening and the emotions I was experiencing. The internal dialogue I had was also reminding myself of the following:
- I am an adult in this situation
- I did the best with my work schedule
- I made the best decision based on my needs and belief
- I choose to accept that there are things outside of my control
REALIZATION AND ACCEPTANCE-PART 2
The better you can connect to yourself, the better you will be to yourself and in your relationships. Even, when you struggle to be you.“STOP NEEDING THE APPROVAL OF OTHERS.” Connecting to yourself is self-care and loving yourself. So, when the internal war begins, below are the 4 action steps that I take:
- Stop and ask yourself what is this about?
- Identify what insecurities are popping up
- Address the insecurities by taking action on your behalf
- Create and maintain boundaries for yourself which will reduce/eliminate insecurities (Ultimately you are meeting your needs)
Copyright © 2022 K.Henry