Too many women wake up and say, “I don’t even know who I am anymore.” Losing yourself is a slow process that occurs one unspoken word or false action at a time. Eventually they add up, until one day you realize you’ve lost yourself.
When you silence your voice or act in ways that are not true to yourself, you end up shutting down the core of who you are. I see this done every day by all kinds of women—even top executives who run multi-million dollar companies. Women like to be liked. We want others to think highly of us. We are willing to keep quiet if it means our friend or loved one isn’t hurt or upset with us. We’re willing to give in and do something that goes against our beliefs or instincts if it means the relationship will stay intact or the other person will still want to be around us. In a thousand little ways we’re willing to compromise—even if the “compromise” is really doing or saying what only the other person wants us to do or say.
We are willing to shut down our truth — in both our words and actions — if it means we can stay in relationship with the person. We’re willing to sacrifice what we want for what others want if it’s in the best interest of others. And, we’re willing to let go of our truth to avoid someone else feeling the possible sting of our authenticity. In the end, women silence for many reasons. Some of the key reasons being:
1. Fear. Many women are afraid to speak up. They’re afraid the other person will become angry, upset or (worse case scenario) leave the relationship. This fear keeps women frozen and often accepting behavior that no one should be accepting.
2. Self-doubt. Women often feel that uncomfortable feeling when things aren’t right, yet they question whether what they’re feeling is on target or not. They often look for confirmation from an outside source before feeling strong enough to trust their instincts and speak their truths.
3. Unsure. Women question themselves all the time. Am I right? Is this really something I should say? Maybe it’s not really that big of a deal? What if I’m wrong? This lack of confidence leaves them silent and over-accommodating.
4. Not wanting to hurt others. Women have been taught to “be nice” since the beginning of time. Speaking their truth is often only seen as nice if the truth is a compliment or building someone up.
5. Wanting to save a relationship. Many women will often go to the ends of the earth to save a relationship or friendship. If this means silencing, then so be it.
Although all these reasons are understandable, the bottom line is…going along to get along chips away at us. The more we say what others want to hear, silence our truth to avoid causing upset or do things we don’t feel comfortable doing, the more we lose ourselves. We slowly hide the core of who we are, first from others, and eventually from ourselves. Then we wake up one day and say, “I don’t know who I am anymore.”
Intimacy is about sharing ourselves with one another. A great way to think of intimacy is: into me you see. If we’re sharing what we think others want to hear, we’re not being honest or intimate. Our truth is a gift to both ourselves and to those around us. It should be shared respectfully, compassionately and whole-heartedly. When we each have the courage to step into our truth from a very grounded, calm place of compassion and strength, we will begin to feel the power of authentic relationships. Don’t lose yourself in an effort to keep others—no relationship is worth a loss of self.
Challenge: Dare to find your voice, speak your truth and be real in your relationships. Notice how the level of intimacy shifts when you do this from a place of compassion (for yourself and others).