It slowly ads up bit by bit. We feel uncomfortable around what others are doing but go along rather than say what we really feel. We want to wear something that we like, but find ourselves changing because we don't think we can pull it off. We want to do something that interest us, but won't learn it because we don't want to look stupid with something were not good at. We hold back our deepest dreams and desires because we fear someone will laugh at us.
Often it's just subtle things, seemingly harmless and insignificant, but over time they add up and become a false sense of identity that is only held in place to keep us from feeling rejected by others. We even say to ourselves things like "I hate my job!", but 5 years later were still doing it and hating it even more! We say that we want to make a better life for ourselves, head in the right direction, but something just kicks us back to that sucky same old place that we have only ever known! We desperately want to get out of that, yet at same time this place is safe, and at least we know where we stand in that misery!
Why do we do this over and over?
This goes way back to childhood when life proved that our say in how we felt did not matter. We were told how we shouldn't be or act, then told how we were expected to. Trying to be what our caregivers expected us to be is a really hard gig to hold, but if we are 5, were only capable of one thing, to adjust our behaviours to survive. Its just natural instinct to do this!
No wonder we grew up not feeling safe and confident in being who we really are, as the Automatic Subconscious Programs and associated Protection Behaviours have already established that it's not safe to do that. In that rejection we learned it's best to meet the impossible expectations of the set bar. Remember in high school Gym class when we had to do a chin-up and hold in that position for as long as we could? That is hard enough to do, and trying to hold ourselves up to the bar others expect is even harder!
What if we instead learned to cultivate the real parts of ourselves we hide rather than protect them. What would happen then? Think about it for a moment. The choice is to either let out who we really are and let go worrying what people will think, opening to feel good about our own special light of uniqueness... or we can keep doing chin-ups trying to hold up to the bar for as long as we can each time.
What's the worst thing that can happen if we let our true selves out? Sure, we may loose some people who don't like being around us then, but that's good, as do you really want to be around people who make you feel bad about yourself? At the same time, there will be some people who will like us even more, and gravitate to us because they like how honest and authentic we are. How do you think they would feel to be around? Which one would leave you feeling more satisfied in how you spent your time on this earth?