Many people swallow too much of who they really are. They stop themselves from disagreeing with others, they smile & nod instead. Women & men bury themselves in too many hours at work or in being an expert caretaker of others and then ignore defining themselves.
So many parents lack identity when their kids leave home. In retirement people find themselves at a loss. There is a freedom to both of these events that requires effort to do it well by continuing to grow.
It’s important to decide that your job isn’t all there is to who you are. Taking some risks and trying out new roles is crucial to define more of yourself.
As mentioned in previous posts, anxiety can rob you of making your world bigger and more interesting.
Not being discouraged when the volunteer coordinator at the nonprofit you called doesn’t call you back. Not giving up when you try something and don’t like it. Finding your voice to make yourself more visible is crucial – disagree, make suggestions and issue invitations. Speak up instead of swallowing so much of your own truth. Do you only talk about other people without ever describing something about yourself?
The primary thing is to give up needing everyone to like you. Accept that 25% of the world won’t ever like you, 25% will like you without qualification and the remaining 50% will be indifferent to you. Look over reviews at tripadvisor.com – even the most highly rated places will have serious detractors and the most negatively rated places will have fans. It’s just not possible to make everyone like you.
Ultimately it’s about finding more range to who you are. We are all lopsided. Being a “homebody” is OK but it’s boring without some additional range outside of that. Ask yourself, what’s the opposite of a homebody? A social butterfly?
So you’re never going to be a social butterfly but you can find a place between being a butterfly and a homebody by asking people to do things with you, finding interesting places to go and new things to try out.
Is the opposite of a homebody a traveler? An adventurer? Then try a weekend trip to somewhere you’ve never been and might be curious about. Or try eating out somewhere that serves a cuisine you’ve never tried or a style of eating that you’ve never experienced i.e an Ethiopian restaurant where your food is served without utensils. Be sure to break down new ideas into smaller steps you will actually follow through with.
Visibility means coming out of hiding. Pay attention to what you value about the camouflage. Being choiceful is what makes you mentally healthy. There are many times where camouflage is a good thing – you’re not trying to erase that part of you, only trying to expand the possibilities of who you are.