For most of my life I cared too much about what people thought of me. I got embarrassed easily, would fear making a mistake or saying the wrong thing.

I taught myself to stay quiet and to hold back. I have been over 6ft tall since I was in my late teens and yet spent most of my time trying to hide; to not be noticed.

My posture showed that; I would stoop and when I walked down the street and avoided eye contact.

I often pretended that I didn’t care; that I was being aloof, but inside I would be dying if someone challenged something I said or made a comment about how I looked (I was tall and very skinny with long hair). The word insecure doesn’t even begin to describe what I felt.

I felt inferior to my friends and scared of people I didn’t know. I always felt out of place, like I didn’t belong and as if I was being judged. It made having fun with friends difficult and sometimes when it got bad I used to avoid them. There were times when they knocked on my door and I pretended I wasn’t in. My heart would be pounding, not wanting to be found out, I just wanted to be alone because only then would I feel even close to ok.

It would come and go in cycles; sometimes I felt reasonably ok whilst at other times I felt like my world was crashing around me and I couldn’t cope.

My best friend at the time, James, was caught in the ebb and flow of the cycle. Several times over the years, I completely broke contact with him and then months later I got the courage up to contact him again and we would be good friends again. It was really weird. For him he must have thought “what the f***?”.

This went on for years and eventually I stopped contacting all of my old friends and they had no reason to contact me. I had isolated myself.

6 years ago I wanted to create a better life for me and for my family and I knew the starting point was inside of me and so I began my deep exploration into transforming me.

Since then, I have been challenging myself to stop caring about what people think of me. It has meant doing a lot of stuff that would have horrified me in the past and learningĀ that it is ok. It has been damn hard at times!

In the past year I have gone much deeper down that particular rabbit hole and doing things like sharing my shame and fears is helping me to own that way of being. I am far more likely to do something now because I want to do it, then to first think about how anyone else may react. This is freeing me up to be much more creative and makes life a lot more fun!

That said, I am often still looking for praise. When I record a video, write an article, run a workshop, I want people to say “wow!” “that is great!” and many other platitudes (as in facebook: please like my post (cringe)). Although my initial action is taken because I want to do it, there is a big part of me that wants it to be validated; I want a pat on the back.

This has to stop too!

It is the other side of the same coin. It is still me caring what people think and it means that when someone criticises what i have done it hurts which means that on some level I am likely to hold back. I don’t want to hold back; I want to do whatever I choose to do because it is worth doing and not because I want anyone to like it or to not be critical.

I told my coach about this and he challenged me to start calling myself out when I am doing it and so I am taking that a step further and making a bold declaration here:

Whenever I catch myself seeking approval or validation for anything I have done I am going to tell that person about it. I am going to call myself out whenever I do anything for the sake of impressing someone or looking good. I will own up to my own neediness and by doing so will purge myself of that.

Then, you had better watch out because I have no idea what I will do next!

 

If you do like this or any other post, don’t tell me about it. Share it if you think it of value. I want to impact as many people as I can, but without being validated. If it helps you, that is the only reward I want.