The pressure to conform is not something limited to the peer pressures of adolescence. In my work, I encounter many people who are not being themselves in many, if not all areas of life.
In fact, my belief is that in many instances, the root cause of depression or anxiety is that the authentic person inside feels trapped in a role, or by the expectations of others, into being someone he or she is not.
It is as though the inner, authentic self , is stuck wearing a costume, and everyone relates to the costume, not the authentic individual. He or she may try to explain to others about a deeper, unseen part of their being, but this seems to fall on deaf, or unreceptive ears.
Others want the individual to be who they think he or she is, and may be threatened by the thought of that image changing. This is, of course, what happens often between adolescents and their parents. There is a tug-of-war between who the teen really is on the inside, and who the parents want him or her to be.
This also happens for women as they grow and evolve into a different woman than who they were in their twenties. They may become stronger, more outspoken, may develop new interests, or want to deepen their spirituality. This can create tension in relationships, because the woman wants/need to grow, and the man may want her to stay the same.
The bottom line, of course, is that we should encourage others to be and express who they truly are, for that is when they are happiest. It is “soul-stealing” to expect anyone, man, woman or child, to suppress and deny who they are, and to instead act the role of the person we wish them to be. Truly loving another means celebrating their essential self, and delighting in its unfoldment.
Copyright © Gwen Randall-Young, All Rights Reserved. Contact us if you would like permission to reprint.
CDs You May be Interested In:
Your Authentic Self
Raising Self Esteem
Thinking for Yourself: Empowerment for Youth
Trusting and Following Your Intuition
Building Motivation Releasing Procrastination