How do you 'know' if you're 'good enough'? Pause for a moment and reflect on who you allow to judge your enough-ness? It may be, family, colleagues, friends or your pet?
If your enough-ness is decided by your dog, I'd bet that your confidence is sky high. If, however, it's decided by another human, I'd imagine that your confidence isn't so great. Humans are changeable creatures and judgmental by nature. Every day we need to make quick judgments to assist us to navigate life. For example: at the traffic lights, we judge whether or not we need to stop, slow down or speed up. In public places we make quick judgments, scanning who's in the environment and steering clear of anyone we perceive may make us uncomfortable or pose a risk.
So who do you allow to decide whether you are enough? What do you allow them to decide based upon? Popular areas of judgement are looks, things you own, your job, how well you do your job, your choice of partner/date, fashion sense, compassion, intelligence, agreeableness...
Let's touch on the latter, have you ever felt hat the amount someone likes you seems dependant upon how much you are willing to agree with or fit in with them or their friends? For example, if you've just started work in a conservative & flashy workplace, it may be celebrated to have lots of nice things. Meetings may be abundant with muffins, pastries and large take-away lattes whilst peeps talk about their latest shopping spree at designer stores or evenings at fancy restaurants and bars.
For the purpose of making this point, let's say that it's your preference to snack on goji berries and green smoothies. We'll imagine that you find caffeine overstimulating and wheat bloats you. However there's a sense that you will be far more readily accepted if you just join the dominant culture in the workplace- consumerism, appearance & decadence. So, for the purpose of fitting in and avoiding judgment you sip the tall latte that's passed your way, accepting it as an act of solidarity with your new colleagues. You nod with a feigned knowingness as your colleagues chat about their latest designer purchases. Inside you feel a little empty, concerned about the environmental impact of this take-away coffee habit, but hey, if this is what it takes.
The unwritten rules of groups of people are often easily read and adopted by anyone who wants to become an 'in' member; the pull to 'fit in' can feel so strong, it's as if it's magnetic.
In any new group we quickly learn that there are certain topics and opinions that are taboo, whilst others are essential if you wish to be included.
So what happens ,when as outlined in the examples above, we find ourselves existing within a culture that isn't aligned with our own values? Many things can occur, most are uncomfortable. Many of the Inner Me tribe tend to conform to their environment, to fit in, please others and avoid standing out as different; we just wanna make life easy for everyone and would rather suffer quietly on the inside than upset anyone.
A benefit of being a chameleon-type is that you're more likely to experience acceptance from others. However, the message that's being sent to our 'inner me' may be: you are unacceptable as you are, you're not welcome here'.
Now this is damaging. At first it might seem ok, but pretending can get confusing and before you know it you can find yourself feeling wobbly on the inside and wondering if you even know who you are.
Reflect for a moment on the people you spend time with or places you go where your inner me feels unwelcome, where you fake it a little just to fit in. Is the acceptance from others worth it? How much damage is hiding your inner self causing?
How could you find ways to stop pretending and be just as you are?
- Practice being yourself where it's safe, where people love you or are similar to you so therefore it's comfortable.
- Work towards being able be yourself in environments where it's a bit more difficult.
- Consider making changes in your life by releasing the people and places where you feel unable to be honest about who you are.
- Get help to find clarity- coaching can definitely help you to be true to yourself whilst enjoying great relationships. Wondering if you even know your truth? Inner Me Coaching is ideal for re-connecting with your self.