Recently, I asked my parents the question: what was I like when I was little, before I started going to school? I asked this question because when we are very young children, we are the most authentic, unaltered version of ourselves. This is because it is before we are truly integrated into society, before any conditioning or programming happens, and before life experiences begin to change or alter our personalities.
My dad said I was like “a ball of fire”. An unstoppable force… feisty, powerful, and extremely confident. When I see home videos of myself at 2 and 3 years old, I see that too. And, it caused me to wonder... what happened to that?
You see, I know that part of me is still within me. Some people still see that true essence of me, like when I’m with my family or my boyfriend… basically when I’m in situations where I feel that it’s “safe” to be ME. But, over the years, I’ve been in many situations (school, jobs, social settings) where I haven’t felt safe being me. Where I’ve felt unwelcomed when I was just being me. Where I’ve actually seen other people get “triggered” by me and consequently had to FEEL their negative reactions and disapprovals of my nature. Where I’ve been disliked for just being me.
This was so uncomfortable to deal with that I started doing this thing, I started dimming my light. I basically tamed down my inherent nature in order to appease others, in order to avoid upsetting insecure people, in order to have people like me. I became more passive, submissive, and insecure when I would naturally be more confident and assertive.
And while I realize that me dimming my light sometimes makes things easier, easier isn’t necessarily better. Sure, it creates more harmony and less resistance in interactions with certain people. But, if you were right-handed and you forced yourself to use your left hand to make other people feel better; is that really the most harmonious choice for YOU?
So, I’ve decided that I’m going to stop doing that. I understand that it will be difficult at first... dealing with the disapproval and negative reactions from some people. But, I think just powering through it despite the discomfort, like a lot of things, it will eventually become less scary. And I think then at some point, it just won’t be such a big deal anymore.
Do you dim your light for others? Do you find that you hold yourself back? If you do, just know that it’s okay that you do it. We do these kind of things because we feel that they help us survive. But, also know that if you don’t want to do it anymore, that’s okay too. And, no matter how many people don’t like it, you WILL be okay.