(About that voice in your head when you are about to meet new people)
(As seen on The Chalkboard)
What if they find out I’m me?
Have you ever heard yourself say that? It’s a ridiculous statement. From time to time you may say this when you meet someone you admire and whose opinion you respect but you have only a brief encounter.
What if the stars were aligned and you just came off as simply dashing the first time you met? Or what if someone has been reading your writing for some time and they want to meet you? What if your online dating romance has decided to leap from email to the coffee shop? What if you’re an actor and one of your fans wants to go out on a date? Now what are you going to do? They are going to meet the real you.
They are going to see what you really look like, how you move, be able to hear your voice, pick up body language and all the real life cues we miss when we are simply reading text or watching you on screen. What if you can’t keep up that suave persona that you depicted? What if she has a completely different idea of me when from my writing? What if he is only in love with my on screen character and not truly me? What if they find out i’m me?
The simple answer is, of course they will find out who you are, but why do you say that like it’s such a bad thing? Why would you let that hold you back? You are who you are and you are beautiful. There are two cultural maxims here at play that you have many times before in Disney movies and countless fortune cookies, but now I’m going to explain to you in this context. They are: “If you don’t love yourself no one else is going to love you” and “Be yourself”.
“If you don’t love yourself first no one else is going to love you” – This is true in any kind of relationship, be it friends, business or romantic partners. You must respect yourself or no one is going to respect you. You are psychologically shooting yourself in the foot when you think and perpetuate such an internal negative statement as “What if they find out I’m me?”. As soon as you say this, you are already incrementally less powerful. What you should instead be saying is, “I can’t wait until they find out I’m me.” This may sound cheesy, so let’s dive a little further.
How about the oft repeated “be yourself”? Let’s take the focus off you for a second so you can better see this statement in action. Think of all the people that you know from work or your personal life. Now out of all of those people, think of the ones you truly like and respect. Respect, as in the ones you could see yourself grabbing a drink with. Now think about how different they are as people. They all have different personality types and quirks, be it the fashion maven, the funny guy, the fitness guru, the party gal, the director, the hemp grower, the video game guy, the athlete, the businesswoman, the barista, the family man or whatever the archetype may be. You respect and are friends with all of these types of people, yet they are all very different as human beings. You know what? So are you. You are different than all of your other friends and they will respect your differences if you respect that about yourself. You don’t have to be like everyone else and no one really wants you to be. People respond to people that are confident in themselves. Think of the people that people respect the least. The brown-nosers and sycophants. No one respects someone that tries to please others and be someone that they aren’t. Be genunine, because people can always sense if you aren’t.
Humans are animals and we respond to confidence, so if you are confident in yourself, no matter what type of person you are, then people will love and respect you in return. Just be yourself.
“What if they find out I’m me” is ridiculous because for the most part, people actually do want to find out who you are. You have already captivated their attention in whatever capacity it is, so don’t think “What if I can’t live up to their expectations?” because that’s an inconsequential statement. Of course they are going to love you for who you – are as long as you already do the same to yourself. When you love yourself, everyone else is going to do the same. Just be yourself and just love yourself. So transform your internal self talk to the new affirmation: “I can’t wait until they find out I’m me.”
[Photo: New York as seen from the Highline]