"I used to walk into a room full of people and wonder if they liked me. Now I wonder if I like them."
This quote came across my facebook feed this week, and I was surprised by how much it resonated with me. Until recently (well, until Access Consciousness really), I would never walk into a room and just be ALL of myself. I would walk into the room and quickly deduce what kind of chameleon I needed to be to fit in. I avoided confrontation at all costs - if I thought someone might mildly disagree with what I had to say or think it was the least bit weird, I kept my lips tightly zipped.
As an example, most pilots I work with enjoy listening to FOX news in the crew room, which is where we congregate before flights. I don't like any news channel, but FOX news is my least favorite of them all, and I couldn't disagree more with the conversations that ensue in the lounge from the topics that are discussed. In the past, I wanted so badly to be liked by everyone that I would just nod along like I agreed with someone's opinion, even if I didn't. The best I could do to stand up for myself was to just leave the room. In the cockpit, I never talked about my business or anything that they might consider too woo-woo. I certainly never called myself a healer (although now I think of myself more as a guide than a healer). I wasn't willing to receive the judgment I knew would follow, so therefore I was never willing to be all of me.
On the flip side, when I was staffing a retreat or attending a drum circle with some of my more "hippie-ish" friends, I wouldn't talk about flying. I didn't want anyone to form an opinion of me because of my job. When someone would start talking negatively about people that made a lot of money I would keep my mouth shut, rather than say how I really felt. Again, it was more important to have people like me than to be true to myself and my opinions.
When I look back on the "old" me, I'm amazed at how I was willing to bend, staple and fold myself to fit into other people's realities. I wanted so badly to be liked that I would judge the crap out of myself to fit in, all the while cutting off parts of myself that I deemed too controversial to show anyone, lest they think I didn't fit the status quo. I even chose a profession where we all dress the same, thinking I would blend in. That's pretty funny when you think about it. Close your eyes and conjure up the stereotypical image of a pilot. I don't think it's me. Yet here I am, trying to blend in and make myself invisible.
I heard Seth Godin say the other day that you have to be willing to say to people (paraphrased) - this is who I am, and I might not be for you, and that's ok. Until recently I was never willing to do that. Nor was I willing to say - this is who you are, and you're not for me, and that's ok, and I'd rather go hang out with someone who makes me smile. Have a great day!
It seems so simple now, and I can't believe it took me 43 years to figure it out. There's a saying that you are most like the 5 people you spend the most time with. I'm no longer willing to spend time with someone I don't enjoy being around, just for the sake of hoping they will "like me." Life is too short, and I've already spent to much of it hiding.