STOP HIDING WHO YOU ARE & LET YOURSELF BE WHO YOU WANT TO BE
Stop Hiding Who You Are & Let Yourself Be Who You Want to Be
Hiding in plain sight. It is much easier to do then I realized, and I was good at it! I started hiding who I was my freshman year of high school. Every day my goal was to disappear. So I stopped dressing up, and I sat in the back of class (praying that the teacher wouldn’t call on me!) It reminds me of the movie The Princess Diaries with Anne Hathaway, but I wanted to be invisible (I never was sat on, but I did accidentally sit on someone before, which is a really funny story now that I am not 15).
Hiding In Your Comfort Zone
I created being invisible my comfort zone, and if you are acting one way in one part of your life it can spill over into all areas of your life. Not only did I try to stay invisible at school, but I didn’t try to join any activities to meet people. I didn’t try to date or even talk to boys. When I was at home I would spend a lot of time hanging out in my room watching TV. I started to exclude myself from living my life. The comfort zone that was keeping me safe, was also keeping me from living fully. It is interesting because my anxiety was at an all-time high during this period, and this “comfort zone” I was using to keep me safe, did not keep me safe from the anxiety (the feeling I wanted to stop), I wasn’t really safe at all. I kept thinking if I can control my life, become as invisible as possible, these horrible feelings would go away, so the more anxiety I felt the more invisible I tried to make myself.
Trying To Belong And Conform To A Group
Another version of hiding yourself is trying to conform who you are to fit into a group. This is especially true when you suffer from low self-esteem, you can work extra hard to try to get people to like you, covering up the fact that you don’t like yourself. This creates another bubble of anxiety because you are putting so much energy into trying to be liked, and you are terrified the whole time because you think everyone is going to find out the truth.
For the longest time I had the limited belief that I was a loser (I know my mom is reading this and saying OMG you are not a loser! Thanks mom!) I know that is an extreme core belief, but wow did it feel real for many years of my life. It was always there in the back of my head, whichever friend group I was in, whichever boyfriend I was dating I had this fear that if I actually show them who I am they will realize I am a loser also. Thankfully I have shed this limiting belief and I no longer operate from this place.
When you are letting your fear of what other people think about you run your life, you start to lower your standards. You might dress different then you want to because you want to fit in. You might start to change your behavior because everyone around you is. Who you surround yourself with is very important, you should never have to alter yourself because of the people you surround yourself with.
You were made extremely unique, there will only ever be one of you. You were given gifts and a personality that is meant to be shared with the world. If you have been hiding for a while start small. It can be overwhelming when you want to start making changes so be compassionate with yourself during this process.
- Build awareness! It all starts with your mind. Take a week and start taking note (in a non-judgemental way) everytime you are hiding. Some examples from my life are, I would dress down because I didn’t want attention (even though I love when I dress up!) I have had times when I want to say something, but I stay quiet because I didn’t want to cause a conflict. Holding off on starting my blog (literally waited over 5 years). Where in your life are you hiding?
- Practice, practice, practice! When I first started to try to speak my opinion my voice would shake it would come out harsh sounding. For me, this is because it was years of resentment coming out with it. Keep practicing, soon you will become more comfortable, and feel more natural.
Work on self-forgiveness. When you have been hiding for many years, it can feel as if you don’t trust yourself. Do some journaling work to forgive yourself. This is very healing and starts to build trust again with yourself. Some journaling prompts include:
- Dear (your name) I need to apologize to you for …
- How can I show myself forgiveness …
- How can I start to show myself trust …
Sometimes being authentically yourself can be the hardest to do around family and friends that have known you for a very long time. Even though they are the group that probably love you the most (and unconditionally) it can often be intimidating to be your authentic self. The reason for this is because we tend to “play the role” we have always when we are around our family. Be aware of how you show up around your family, and ask yourself if this is how you want to represent yourself?
Remember it took you years to get to this place, give yourself time as you work on becoming more visible.