Who would you be in that case?
Visionary and best-selling author, Susan Piver posed the above questions in Prompt 2, entitled, #LoveYourself to the Questers 2017 community.
As a person who spends a lot of time reading up on the things I can do in order to be a better me, I found her questions disturbing. Don’t we all need to be doing the “work” on ourselves — especially when the selves that we are don’t seem to be working so well for us anymore?
But after pondering the question for several days, something even more disturbing bubbled to the surface…
Working on myself used to mean becoming chameleon-like, and more or less morphing into a people pleasing, mask wearing impersonator. In my mind it was the price I had to pay to maintain the illusion of political correctness. One of the side benefits of being a faker was that I was able to keep my immense fear of offending people in check.
Looking back, I’ve been able to calculate literally thousands of wasted hours that I’ll never get back because I didn’t understand the concept of self-love.
For instance, there were situations I found myself in where I felt invisible and non-included. Instead of extricating myself or speaking authentically about how I felt, I chose to act like I was “down.” I decided it was easier to pretend that I was one of “them” — the bad girl who wasn’t. Not surprisingly the role of sister soldier (with the perpetual chip on my shoulder) wasn’t a good fit. In fact it was clunky and awkward, and took hours to shake off once I was safely behind closed doors.
Then there were the situations where I forced myself to spend time with certain people, pretending to enjoy their company even though these experiences and the people involved made me feel miserable and uncomfortable. Yet I continued to participate out of some warped sense of obligation combined with the fear of being ostracized and gossiped about.
After all of the working on myself to become someone I thought other people would love, I discovered these others knew all along that I wasn’t who I was pretending to be. I stood out like a sore thumb from the get-go because I wasn’t a very good performer. Or it might’ve been because I wasn’t as consistent when it came to playing the roles of the badass, or the always compliant team player, or the Miss Goody Two-Shoes. At some point the “real” me would come bleeding through and that’s when all hell would break loose. My pretend self, the self I thought people would readily accept, was rejected anyway — my “worst” fears realized.
So do I love myself enough to stop working on myself? When I’m courageous enough to stop making other people the primary motivation for changing myself, then the answer is Yes.
Who would I be in that case? I’d be a person who would no longer agree to participate in situations that are not in integrity. I’d live and express my truth, following my inner guidance as opposed to going along with protocols and subjecting myself to joyless, boring encounters in the name of obligation.
Instead of working on myself, I would like to continue being aware of the unhealed places within me that need just as much of my love and acceptance as those “likeable” parts. I want to know that I’m being transformed by this process of healing, self-acceptance and love.
By loving myself enough to stop working on myself, I’m a much better friend, colleague, and family member because I’m not afraid to let others see me instead of the fake, mask-wearing impersonator.