I used to be such a people-pleaser. So much so, that when I was around people, I would morph into whatever I thought they wanted me to be. This would range from being quiet and still to please someone with a big personality, to drinking and partying to please friends, to being a sexual object just to please men.
I got so used to being covered in various self-inflicted layers of obsequious armor that I had no idea who was really underneath it all. I was good at being a chameleon – strapping on a different set of armor, depending on the circumstances.
Looking back, I know now that I was too afraid to shed that armor for fear of not being liked. Not being liked was the worst thing that could happen to me, and I did everything I could for that not to happen. Because of this, I had a hard time connecting and forming deep, meaningful relationships with others… what they were attracted to, wasn’t really me. Carrying around all that armor was frustrating – I attracted the wrong people, I couldn’t be myself, I didn’t even know who “myself” was.
I didn’t start disposing all this armor for good until the end of my marriage. I had nothing to lose and everything to gain. With a strong support system behind me, I ventured out to find who was really underneath those layers. I soon realized that I had been diminishing myself all this time… Adding layers doesn’t make you bigger, it makes you smaller.
One of the biggest lessons I have learned is that you are doing yourself, and the world, an injustice by keeping even the smallest piece of that armor. You have to get rid of it all. For good. You will be vulnerable without that armor, it will take bravery and grit to shed it… you’ll have nothing to hide behind and that can be scary, but my goodness, it is so worth it.
Not everyone will like this armor-less you… but, wouldn’t you rather have a few people like the authentic you than be carrying around all this torturous weight just to have the whole world like your fictitious layers?
I haven’t worn any armor since the beginning of my self-discovery journey. It’s incredibly empowering and freeing to not be weighed down by all that falsity.
Shedding that armor is one of the bravest things we can do…