I recently looked around at a family gathering, everyone was enjoying the sun and I’d found the one spot under a tree in the shade. The heat was too hot, there were too many wasps, I was sweating, I just felt ugh. I would have been happier if it had been raining. Give me autumn or winter any day.
When I think about it, there’s been quite a few times in my life when I’ve kept quiet about things in case people don’t like me as much. Throughout college I pretended to like a band just so I could fit in with my friends who loved them. I really didn’t like the music but bought all their albums. I didn’t have the confidence to say that I didn’t like their songs, I didn’t have the confidence to let the real me out.
So what about you? Is there a part of you that you hide away, for fear that it won’t be acceptable to others? There’s nothing wrong with wanting to fit in, but if you’re not being the real you, it can be painful. I remember being in a lesson at school and staying quiet whilst some boys were being out of order to a girl. I was afraid of standing out and standing up, and it was painful afterwards because I felt ashamed. If you’re not saying the things that you’d like to say, or living in a way that you know is right, it can cause you to feel unsettled inside.
Pretending that I liked that band in school cost me £40 buying their albums, but it can be more costly for us if we don’t live our real selves, hiding away, ashamed of the person that we are.
You don’t need to blend in, duck down, hide away, or quieten your voice. We need you as you are to be yourself and, as you live authentically, you’ll give others permission to do the same.
Try to make an effort this week to be yourself, bravely say those things that you know you need to say, or do the things that you know you need to do.
Right, I’m off to find some shade.
Photo by Annie Spratt