Stop Paying the Emotional Toll of Pretending
When I became a fitness instructor, I feared disappointing others. I wanted to give clients the best experience I could. At the time, I didn’t know how to create that experience on my own (so I thought).
I thought that more research would show me how to design a great class. I looked to what other instructors were doing, but nothing felt true to the type of class I wanted to offer.
One instructor brought a flashy disco ball to every class. Another had complicated choreography. Still others had playlists that didn’t speak to me. Yet I tried to conform, incorporating aspects of their style into my own.
This was enough to get me started in front of those first audiences, but ultimately my classes felt a little flat to me (and probably to others too). The mix of initial nervousness, while trying hard to be like someone else, created an inner struggle. In short, I was pretending.
Have you ever felt the need to pretend like that … to show up differently than who you truly are?
Maybe you agreed to something that you really didn’t want to. Or you didn’t express your needs or opinion, then let someone else’s dictate instead.
If so, then you know how stressful it feels to pretend. It is draining.
When you try too hard to be someone you are not, others end up seeing a watered-down version of who you really are. And you’re guarded, knowing they aren’t seeing all of you, while wondering what they’d think if you let go of the façade.
Here’s the thing: when you live beneath a façade, even when it feels subtle, it costs you love of yourself. Because the façade comes with the underlying story that showing up fully would not measure up.
At least, that was my experience as a new instructor.
Understanding that I could be who I was, and have that be okay, did not come right away.
I couldn’t see right away how I was creating my self-doubt. But then a powerful wave of knowing told me that I had hit on the distressful thought:
Loud is strong and quiet is weak. I needed to be loud and charismatic to be likeable.
As an introvert, I’d been trying very hard to be loud and outgoing. It wasn’t going well.
But that understanding shifted everything. Suddenly, I had permission to show up as who I was. Introversion didn’t need to be an obstacle to powerful leadership and connection. There was room for different styles. No pretending necessary.
When I let my guard down, my own style emerged, and it became fun...for me, and for my clients.
Love creates connection, and that connection always has to start with you, as you truly are. You are the source of your own centeredness and happiness. When you love yourself, you feel safe showing yourself to others. You will connect on a deeper level.
Life feels much fuller and fun when you don’t have to worry about how others will respond to you. (The truth is, you can never control what others will think about you. Their happiness is theirs to cultivate.)
How often do you stray from the person you want to be?
Imagine a version of you who gets to show up fully, and be whoever you want.
On the job.
In your relationships.
This isn’t just a made-up character. This is the person you get to become.
P.S. - You don’t have to continue pretending. Connecting to yourself at a deeper level and exploring who you want to be is the roadmap to greater happiness.
In my coaching program, you get to explore how you want to show up for yourself, and then how to better connect with others. Even for those relationships you’ve been in for a long time. You get to grow in a way that feels good.
Schedule your 1:1 coaching consult at https://christinerazlerhpw.youcanbook.me to get started.