How often do you shape your words, your choices and tailor your actions, cut off pieces of yourself to fit an image you think another person wants you to be?
How often do you hold back the depth of you; the truth of what you are feeling to moderate the response of another? To be acceptable, to not be rejected.
How often do you not feel safe enough to simply say exactly what you feel?
What do you fear will happen?
How often do you cut off pieces of yourself to fit into a box where you don’t really belong?
How do you shape yourself to be what you assume another would want you to be?

I know this pattern in myself of holding back what I really want to say, there are many layers to this for me and I have been in the undoing of this habit of protecting myself, keeping myself safe by saying things which are not going to cause a reaction for what feels like years.

Our survival strategies wrap around us like armor and we become less and less available to others, ourselves and life.

This was a survival strategy I used and honed a lot when I was younger, and it did keep me safe.

Safe from big emotions I did not have the capacity to feel and be present to. Now it is not so useful. Now it harms more than helps.

It is not in alignment with my core value of wanting to create authentic connection.

Now, it can feel to another person I am not being entirely honest about what I am feeling. And I can totally understand how it may feel like this.

My motivation is not to deceive, it is to protect myself.

It is a long-standing survival strategy I am still in the process of undoing.

If I perceive myself to be threatened my instinct to keep myself safe trumps everything.

Gabor Mate speaks of humans having two needs, attachment and authenticity and when authenticity threatens attachment, attachment trumps authenticity.

This means we will cut away or shut down parts of who we are to stay attached, in connection and in belonging, especially when we are growing up.

Connection has always been what I wanted. And in a roundabout way, by not saying what I mean and not showing who I am in my fullness to the world, I stayed in the acceptable box. Why?

“Because I had learnt that if I wanted to be accepted and not rejected or shamed for who I was; I needed to behave in certain ways and not colour outside of the line’s others had created for me.”

If I did, I would lose my place, I would not belong.

This kind of compromised connection is no longer what I seek. Authentic, raw and real connection is what I choose, and this desire and value are what guides my actions.

Altering what I say and how I say it in the world is no longer an option.

And I am still surprised at how much effort it takes in certain situations to counter this safety mechanism. More and more often I feel absolute delight and joy when I say what I am feeling exactly as it is.

It feels like freedom. I value myself so I don’t change the shape of me to please you or to be acceptable. I can trust in my capacity to feel through whatever arises from speaking what is true for me, regardless of your response.

What I do know is that it has less of a grip on me today than it did yesterday and the day before. And it feels like a whole new level of self-care, of deep caring for me is emerging.

Most of us have developed some safety or survival strategies and where they were once useful, they can become harmful.

The only way to begin to undo them is to get to know them, see them and once you have seen them you can start to shift them.

Who do you want to be in the world?

How do you want to connect?