Being ourselves can be one of the hardest thing for us to learn. We think that just because we show up online in posts and videos that we are being authentic when really, showing up is just the first step. As we start to show up we begin a journey to shift layers of beliefs that we have told ourselves repeatedly over the course of our lives about why we should act and behave in a certain way.
How many of us from an early age have been told how to behave and how to act? First with our parents and families and from there onto nursery, school, university, work. For those of us that didn’t conform so easily in our early years, there are years and years of beliefs that have been imprinted into our energy affecting how we think and feel about ourselves. Years of someone telling us to act in a certain way, years of being told to be something other than our true and authentic selves.
There are particular times in my life when I learnt to conform in order to fit in. Not so much from my younger years but certainly in my teenage years. I remember being about 12, I stopped doing my homework for a few weeks and over that same period I was kept in detention and had letters sent home to my parents 2 weeks in a row. One was for fighting with another girl and the other was for smoking. The whole experience was so stressful and distressing between conflict at school and having to tell my parents about what I’d been up to that I decided that from that point on I was just going to go back to doing my homework and behaving (most of the time!) at school. I conformed rather than deal with the repercussions of my rebellious behaviour.
As the years went on I remember at about 15/16 going through another phase where I conformed so that I didn’t act out of place and then again at university and again when I started working. Each time that I conformed I stepped a little bit further away from my authentic self and behaved in a way that I thought I should behave in. For the most part. Conforming and trying to act in a way so that people would accept me went out the window once there was alcohol or drugs involved. But that was how I dealt with all of the suppression I was doing of my true self.
There are many other people out there, like me, that have conformed at certain times in their life and used alcohol and drugs as a way to numb the pain they are feeling. Most of the time we don’t even realise we are in pain or that we’re abusing ourselves in this way. I do know that at some point it gets too much to keep supressing ourselves and numbing our feelings. It is at this point that things change abruptly and usually in the worst imaginable way for us at that time in our lives.
It’s been four years now since the bubble of conformity around me burst and it has been an intense period of learning about myself, my behaviours and my beliefs about myself.
Every time I think I have figured it out and I’m being authentically myself, another layer is peeled back to show me that I haven’t got there just yet. We spend years building up layers of beliefs about ourselves that it doesn’t all come off in one go. It has taken 4 years to get to what I see now is the truth of who I am.
Someone recently told me that I was prim and proper. It really got me thinking to how I portray myself online in videos and posts. From all of my years of conforming to rules and how I thought I should act, I unknowingly was bringing the same energy and beliefs into my business.
I didn’t even realise I was doing it. It was so natural to me to portray a perfect image of who I am that I couldn’t see what is now so glaringly obvious.
The people I work with and who are close to me see a very different person to the one that I felt I had to portray online. The true authentic Claire is not what you would call prim and proper but someone who is more rebellious in nature. I don’t like rules and being told what to do. I’m a bit of a free spirit and have always had a strong personality: my parents describe me as being strong willed from an early age.
I spent years trying to cover up that part of myself that didn’t fit into the norms of society right up until recently when the person came into my life that called me prim and proper. I am so grateful for the message she gave me because it has allowed me to see clearly how I was still playing out a pattern of conformity. So many of us don’t even realise we are doing it because it has become second nature in a world where we are taught to fit in rather than be different. A world where we are taught to conform and as result disconnect from our true nature.
Are you conforming or are you expressing your authentic self?
Have you discovered who you really are at your core?
If you can relate to what I’ve spoken about here please comment below, I would love to talk to you about your experience.