The image we uphold in this world is a hidden self-judgment that leads to the main source of our pain and suffering. Who am I? Who are you? Who do you pretend to be? Who do you want to be? Who are you when no one is watching? I find it so curious that most people spend energy trying to be someone other than who they are. Many of us are programmed to believe we were born to be someone else, other than who we are. We are each born as our unique selves, yet we spend a lifetime resisting that. Why? So, we can fit in? So, we can feel like we belong? We are not meant to fit in. We are meant to stand out. We are each meant to be a unique expression of self. Self-judgment intimates that we are not good enough the way we are. The message is strongly portrayed in almost every advertisement, infomercial, magazine, and movie. This programming is deeply effective in our society. We are taught that we are not good enough, strong enough, smart enough, worthy enough, skinny enough, skilled enough, pretty enough, tall enough, perfect enough; and the list goes on and on and on. Over the years we gather evidence of what is acceptable and what is unacceptable. We collect data on what others like and don’t like about us. We strive to be accepted by everyone and we yearn to feel a sense of belonging. We judge ourselves repeatedly based on what others think, what articles say, and what pictures portray, all the while striving to be anyone other than who we really are. We are trying to be a better version of ourselves because our current version isn’t good enough. Our fear of judgment, and even more so of our self-judgment, drives our fear-based desire to live up to the expectations the world has placed on us. Here is the kicker: we will never ever, ever, ever live up to those expectations because it is 10
not the world that has placed those expectations on us; we have done that to ourselves by buying into the world’s unrealistic version of what it means to be ourselves. We have put that pressure on ourselves by choosing to believe everyone else’s judgment and take it on as our own. WHAT IMAGE ARE YOU UPHOLDING? Who are you trying to impress? We have put that pressure on ourselves by choosing to believe everyone else’s judgment and take it on as our own. Whose expectations do you believe you are trying to meet? I have spent most of my life wanting to be anyone else but me. At the same time, I spent a great deal of energy pretending to have it all together so that I wouldn’t burden anyone else. It was a hard role to play because I had so much internal pain that I could only hold it together for periods of time before I would fall apart. This usually happened in the privacy of my own company. The pressure would become so intense I would explode in tears and grief. After the tears passed, I would get up, wipe my tears, brush myself off, and once again step into the image I felt the need to uphold. After all, I didn’t want to disappoint anyone. I wanted everyone to like me, and I would go to great lengths to make sure I was accepted. In most circles, I was likable but not in all. Feeling unaccepted was a deep wound. Feeling left out created such an intense feeling of loneliness it was difficult to bear, but I had a role to play, an image 11
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