“The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, nor the kindly smile nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when he discovers that someone else believes in him and is willing to trust him.”– Ralph Waldo Emerson
Are You Hiding Your True Self to Keep Your Friends?
“If everybody loves you, something is wrong. You can’t please everybody.” – Paulo Coelho
As a people pleaser, I thought it was my job to be all things to all people. I changed like a chameleon and hid my own personal thoughts to conform to whatever I thought the person would like . I don’t think anyone knew the real me because I wouldn’t allow them to see that person. I thought that person wasn’t good enough and if they saw that person that they wouldn’t like me. I would allow glimpses of the real me to slip through as tests to see how people would react. Some people didn’t really seem to care. Some would discard that as a out-of-character. The truth was that I was acting. I was wearing my mask and inside I was seething with resentment. I don’t live that life anymore.
I’m more myself and I am less apologetic about it. I let people decide if they want to be in my life by their reactions. I understand that no one has to like me. I like me and I am the person that I have to spend the rest of my life with. I did an experiment. I stopped pushing and trying to keep relationships moving by my actions alone to see who noticed. I was surprised to see that many people noticed. It was when I stopped calling that I started to receive calls. People would say, “hey, I haven’t heard from you in awhile. How are you?”
I shook the tree and my true friends fell out. Now, I give my loyalty and my best efforts to those friends. For everyone else, I meet them with equal effort to what they put into our relationship. Instead of placing the same expectations on everyone and giving them the same effort, I meet each person where they are. I allow them to assign themselves the level of action they deserve by mirroring their actions. To me, that is more loving and accepting. I am more accepting of them and they have a choice of when they want to give more.
I had to let go of this idea that I couldn’t be who I am and think what I think without losing the people that I loved. What I found was that people valued more of the real me than they did the people pleaser version. I found that it was my presence they valued more than anything. It was the parts of myself that I couldn’t hide like my sense of humor, my ridiculous determination and my view of the world that they appreciated. It’s only when you shed the fear that you won’t be accepted that you can truly start to live the life you were meant to live. You are still required to change and grow, but the essence of who you are is cherished in ways that you may not recognize. My real friends didn’t love all the ways I tried to hide, instead they loved the truth that I couldn’t hide. I learned what it really meant to be loved for who you are.
Your life was not created merely for the pleasure of the people around you. You were made to live. You were made to get to know yourself and there is something special about you that you were meant to share with the world. Don’t waste your energy trying to please those that don’t like you. Focus your energy where energy is returned to you. Think about it. When you go to a football game, do the cheerleaders yell at the team, “You suck! Why are you even trying to win this game”? No. The cheerleaders support the team. Surrounding yourself with people that push against everything you are trying to do will only keep you stuck where you don’t want to be. Find the cheerleaders in your life to motivate you. Surround yourself with positive support so you can easily focus on you purpose in life. You also can’t focus on your purpose if you are trying to hide it to make other people happy and keep them comfortable. If you are hiding, life will continue to strip away the things you are hiding behind until your truth is revealed. Your choice is you can either do it the hard way or you can make a choice to be more you and figure out who your real friends are.