When was the last time you remember being your most authentic self in front of a group of people? When was the last time you shared your thoughts or told someone how you really felt? When was the last time you let go?
So often, we go through life straining to be some idealized version of ourselves, and we yank on people’s attention with this false personality, like a child yanking on a rope. But what would happen if we just let that rope go?
Let’s consider an example from real life:
One of my recent clients (let’s call her Samantha) was having a ton of trouble dealing with how people responded to her. She wasn’t getting the results she wanted to see in her career; she wasn’t creating the rich friendships she wanted; and she wasn’t enjoying the love life that she knew she deserved. So, what was Samantha’s main problem? She was holding onto that rope too tightly.
The problem with trying to push or pull another person in any one direction is that you really have no control over what anyone else thinks or feels.
In Samantha’s case, she was so worried about what other people thought of her that she was spending every moment stuck in her own head, thinking a mile-a-minute about how to please everyone, and creating unnecessary tension throughout her whole body. The biggest problem was that all of that work, stress, and anxiety wasn’t doing anything to help or change her situation. Not only was she seeing no results outwardly in the way the world responded to her, but she also wasn’t seeing any development in her confidence, inner peace, or happiness.
Now, imagine that rope again: on one end is you, pulling away, and trying to influence how someone thinks and feels about you. But what’s on the other end? NOTHING. That rope you’ve been yanking on may as well be a wet noodle that you’re flinging around in the air.
Fact: the only thing you have control over is how you put yourself out into the world. You have no say in how the world will respond.
Samantha thought that she could hold certain parts of herself back and adopt false behaviors in order to get people to like her . . . but all she was doing was pushing people away with a false persona. There she was—a smart, talented woman with tons to offer the world—and she was hiding the best parts of herself.
She was miserable because she was too afraid to let go and allow people to see her for who she really was.
If we truly want to create the relationships we deserve in life, we must relinquish control over how we are perceived by others.
All we have when we keep yanking on that imaginary rope is the illusion of control. We think that if we act a certain way and play it safe, we’ll be able to influence people. But even if you were to miraculously affect someone’s perception of you by adopting false behaviors, it wouldn’t last . . . because people are more intuitive than you think they are.
When you fake who you are, people can sense it. Whether they know it consciously or not, they feel in their bones that something is off . . . and it repels them from you.
If, on the other hand, you get bold and show people who you really are, you will naturally attract the people who belong in your life—the people who respect and love you for who you truly are. Those are the people who will stick around for the long haul.
So, if things haven’t been going the way you want in life—if you haven’t been able to create the friendships, relationships, and work connections that you need—then maybe it’s time to change this destructive pattern of behavior. Maybe it’s time to let go of that rope and be the real you.
The most liberating thing you can do in life is to be your authentic self.
If you really want to feel control in your life, then you must focus in on yourself. Take that dial that controls how you show your true self to the world, and turn it up to ten. Even though it will be uncomfortable at times, I promise you that your confidence will begin to skyrocket; your ability to handle conflicts and real interactions will soar; and people will be intrinsically attracted to you.
All you have to do is let go of that rope.
As always, I ask that you share your thoughts and concerns below. How have you been hanging onto this imaginary rope? What are your challenges in letting go? How has this tactic been working out for you? Share your successes and questions so that we can continue to learn and grow together.
Until we speak again, may you have the courage to be who you are and to know on a deep level that you’re awesome.