If you are living true to yourself and your inner drivers (and not purposefully trying to hurt others) then you never need to apologise for being yourself. If you are chasing your dream, doing what comes naturally, and being yourself at all times then others just need to accept you for you. If they cannot do that then they are simply not worthy of your time. People who want you to change, or want to belittle your thoughts and dreams, or just want you to stop being yourself are not healthy people to spend your time with. These attitudes are negative and poisonous and they will constantly degrade your life if you allow them to exist around you. Do not do this. Do not let these people and these attitudes in to your life. If people cannot respect you for being true to yourself then they need to be shown the door.
This is not heartless or callous. This is simple fact. Our lives are ultimately an individual experience. We share many of our experiences with others, form relationships and so on but ultimately we are all individuals who see and experience the world in our individual way. We are all individuals operating with our own set of ideas, thoughts and beliefs and as such we should never sacrifice that individualism to please others.
If you are willing to sacrifice your own identity for the sake of others then you are just letting their view of the world, and their ideas and thoughts, take precedence over yours. Why? Why should you take on their values or their set of rules for how to behave? Why does their view mean more than yours?
By changing yourself to suit others you are essentially saying that your own view of yourself is wrong and that others know and understand you better than you do. But it is you, and only you, that lives with yourself 24/7. No-one else sees or experiences the world in the exact same way as you and no-one else is inside your mind, observing and responding to your experiences within the world. That means that no-one else is in a position to ever fully understand you as much as you can understand yourself.
That is not to say that people will never understand you. The basis of forming healthy relationships is that you connect with similar people on various levels and this connection implies a deep understanding of each other. But, as close as you can become with others, and as much as they can learn to understand you, it will never be to the full amount to which you understand yourself. Only you see the world through your eyes, so only you know exactly what is happening within your world.
The point I am pushing here is not to say that you should be a loner with no friends and no relationships, and never letting anyone into your close inner circle. In fact I recommend quite the opposite. I believe that we absolutely need these types of relationships in our lives. We need to connect with others, we need to form close bonds, and we need to experience love. But we need to do this while being true to ourselves.
We must always choose being true to ourselves over being fake just to please others. Being true to ourselves is the only way that we can be truly happy in our lives and this is obvious for two reasons:
One, if we are not operating in a manner that is 100% congruent to our inner thoughts, feelings, beliefs, drivers, and desires then how could we ever expect to become fully happy? We would always know deep down that we have not been living completely true. We would always have things to regret, things to wish we had or had not done, and things to resent others for. That is not the recipe for happiness.
The second reason for living this way is that it means we start attracting only good, positive, high quality people to form relationships with. We attract people who accept us for who we are and people who are not worried about changing or judging us. These people are naturally happier, more positive, and also more understanding of how relationships work. These are great people to have in our life.
But if we spend our life being fake to please others, changing ourselves to project whatever image we think others want to see, then the quality of people we attract in to our life will not be high. And besides that, we will be attracting people based on whatever fake version of ourselves we have portrayed to them. That means we will have to maintain that façade forever in order to maintain that relationships. Or, as normally happens, we would eventually start showing them the real us, to which they will react negatively because it feels like we have changed from the person they first met and connected with. This is the main reason why relationships break down.
In the past, I have been the fake people-pleaser in my romantic (and platonic) relationships and guess how they all ended? Not well. Deep down I hated the fact that I was putting on an act rather than being myself and that caused me to slowly resent the other people in the relationship even though I was essentially blaming them for something that I had chosen to do. And when I started “opening up” and showing more of the real me the relationships degraded - we did not get along as well, we argued more and loved less, and I heard “you’ve changed” countless times.
It took me a long time to realize that I was causing the problems in my relationships by not being true to myself but when I finally did it was an amazing shift of perspectives. I started being completely upfront, honest and true to my inner drivers whenever I met someone new and the results were fantastic. I now have a great group of close friends and a wonderful wife that I love very much. This is not gloating, just me recognizing that this would not have been possible without me learning to live my life for myself.
Which is why you need to always be living true to yourself and never apologise for doing so. Not only does it create a much healthier and happier life for yourself, but it also attracts people who actually like you for being (the real) you.
### This article is an excerpt from a book I am currently writing. If you loved it, hated it, or want to provide any feedback please do so in the comments section or by email directly. Also, I will be contacting my subscriber list over the coming months for ideas, reviews, and chances to obtain pre-release versions of the book. If you are interested to participate then please use the newsletter sign-up form below to register. Thanks - Zac Sky