Imagine yourself not being controlled by other people’s opinions of you. To show up as, and act in accordance with, who you truly are in every situation, in every context. No paranoid thoughts to taint your mind. Trusting yourself enough to be vulnerable and exposed, because you know on such a fundamental level that this is when life happens, and this is the only way to be. Yourself. Wouldn’t that life be great?
You see, not only will it grow your self-esteem like crazy every time you act from a place within, not impacted by external factors and how you think the “world” would like you to act. But It will also release you from being addicted to confirmation and fitting in. It will enable you to truly belong to yourself, which opens up a world of belonging for real.
“You are only free when you realize you belong no place—you belong every place—no place at all. The price is high. The reward is great.”
Not only is this the story the social scientist and author Brené Browns shares in her latest book ‘Braving the Wilderness’, but after looking at my own life through these new glasses the book gave me, it all makes so much sense to me. I’ve had to face the truth that I intentionally choose not to talk about things that is the most precise representation of who I am because of the fear I feel of what other people will think of me.
An example of this is the topic of my YouTube channel, which basically has been my life for the past 1,5 years. With friends, and work colleagues, I don’t go there often, because I’ve just realized, I’m a shamed of it. SHAME. Furthermore, I don’t dare top post all my stuff on Facebook, because I’m fearing other people’s judgement. I’m ruled by external factors I can’t controlled. Uncertainty. Fear. Judgement.
And this is not easy to admit, buried on a deep subconscious level, and it has required some serious self- consciousness to realize. But hiding such a fundamental piece of who I really am creates a sense of loneliness – at times. That’s why I can feel the furthest away from loneliness when I’m at home creating, and on the other side of the spectra be the loneliness person in the world at a social gathering I’d do anything to get out of. But it’s not those people’s faults. It’s a matter of taking responsibility for myself, my life.
When we spend time with people and not showing who we really are, that’s hiding. From ourselves, and from the world. And when we hide, loneliness is the result, even if we are surrendered by an infinite amount of persons. Or what we really seek – the solution – the need to belong.
“Belonging is the innate human desire to be part of something larger than us. Because this yearning is so primal, we often try to acquire it by fitting in and by seeking approval, which are not only hollow substitutes for belonging, but often barriers to it. Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance…
…True belonging is not passive. It’s not the belonging that comes with just joining a group. It’s not fitting in or pretending or selling out because it’s safer. It’s a practice that requires us to be vulnerable, get uncomfortable, and learn how to be present with people without sacrificing who we are. We want true belonging, but it takes tremendous courage to knowingly walk into hard moments.”
But it’s not only a ‘desire to be part of something larger than us’, which deprives us from feeling joy, happiness and a sense of fulfilment. It will also increase the likelihood of you dying with 45 %. For me, that’s just such a huge motivational factor, being the health guy trying to increase my chances with food and training almost absurdly, and the realizing those things are only marginal impacting my health in contrast to feeling lonely. That’s just a game changer. But you have to look at what’s driving your motivation, and use that as fuel. Maybe you just want to enjoy hanging out with people without paranoid thoughts.
So how do we do this, ‘being our true selves’?
Just saying ‘be yourself’ won’t change things. We know that intuitively. Usually I do facing fear challenges, – working on facing our fears and push ourselves in social situation like approaching a girl and telling her she’s cute. Because this do relate to fear, in fact fear is just an expression that stops us from being who we are – or want to be! So that’s why we are strengthening this ‘being ourselves’ muscle every time we do these facing fear challenges.
But so, this week I want to aim the focus more into the people we are interfering with on a recurrent basis, the daily interactions with the people around us. Family, friends, work colleagues. Because it’s one thing to do it with strangers we are not so invested in – less to lose. But with friends and people we are going to see again, then we feel a greater cost of losing their view of us. The thought of people disliking us is tough, even more so if we must face them daily! And that’s why this week’s objectives are to remind ourselves of expressing our true selves in every single interaction we’ll have this week. ONE FOCUS, ONE OBJECTIVE.
Now both you and me now this won’t always play out this way. And that’s okay, you, me, we are enough as we are. But if strive for improvement, if we set out to at least try our very best and repetitive put in small actions that takes us a little bit closer to where we want to go, the results will come. Slowly, progressively, but it will come. And we will like it. It will open a new world, which will give us new glasses to look at the world with, or boots to walk in it. And that taste of life will create a positive spiral to make you want to keep doing this practice. But for now, in the beginning, it will require you – me – to turn on that fighting spirit! Because it will be so freaking scary and unconformable. But that’s the only way through, to the new world. The only way to start belonging to yourself, to the rest of the world, our world.
In order to remind ourselves trough the shit storm of everyday life that will happen, we are going to equip ourselves with a small token. I’m going to wear a bracelet that will be my visual que. You should try find something visual too; a bracelet, a ring or, perhaps the changing the wallpaper on your phone. Something that can remind you to get the focus back on what’s important this week!
So that’s it, that’s this week’s challenge. I owe it to myself to focus in on this, and I know this is the only way forward right now. This is a hurdle I need to overcome to grow in other areas of my life.
To further deepen my understanding of the topic I’m going to read the book the village by Susan Pink, which is the researcher that did the health and longevity studies on the effects of loneliness. And I’ll properly share the insights of that book in the coming weekly evaluation on Friday.
I’d love to hear if you have an easier time being true to yourself when your with strangers or with people in your surroundings?
Have a great week,
Full Brené Brown Interview:
Other tips on how to be yourself: