Let’s face it — we all want to be chosen, liked… loved even — by those around us.
In job interviews.
When meeting new people.
We were taught early on that the best way to do this is to put your “best foot forward.” To be highly agreeable.
Although our parents and teachers likely had great intentions, what it ends up looking like is forced smiles. Laughing at jokes we don’t find funny. We round our edges and “tone down” the real us.
Not only does this “good little boy/girl” act feel inauthentic, but it also BACKFIRES and has the opposite effect we’re looking for. Here’s why:
1. You attract the wrong people. When you tone yourself down on that first date, or first handshake, you attract people who LIKE that false version of yourself. They hire you because they believe you.
2. You must (stressfully) keep it up. If your “nice guy / nice girl” act works, then you are forced to keep it up. Because the moment you let down your guard and the “real you” comes forth, it can start to cause problems.
3. You miss the right matches. Worst of all, “people pleasing” backfires because you miss people who are actively seeking your true qualities – precisely because you are HIDING them.
… All this to MAYBE avoid being rejected by someone? I say it’s not worth it. Even if you successfully “win over” the wrong person, you’ve already lost.
OK, so people pleasing sucks… so why do we do it?
Reason 1: Fear of Rejection
We fear that if we show our true self at the very beginning it will be “too much.” That we’ll scare them off. Or that we “aren’t enough.”
But if you notice, the fear goes a bit deeper than that, and comes from a place of SCARCITY. We people please when we worry nobody will hire us. Or few will want to date us.
This fear prevents us from taking any risks, so we walk on eggshells with the dominant thought being, “Don’t mess this up!”
Reason 2: The “I’ll Reveal Myself Later” Myth
This is the common thinking, “Oh, I’ll be polite now and reveal my true self later.” It’s based on traditional manners, where we should start every interaction as a polished, upstanding member of society.
(… And then reveal your real parts later once you’ve gotten to know the other person.)
The problem is that it becomes increasingly difficult to reveal these hidden parts as time goes on. People grow accustomed to your filtered self, and often can’t handle — or won’t appreciate — those parts.
So they remain hidden. Or we get rejected later on, when we finally reveal our true selves.
This is the game that the vast majority of people today are playing — and losing. We hide our true selves from people who don’t like that true self.
How insane is that?
I know this because it’s something I tried to do for years. I believed I needed to show a more “palatable” version of myself to the world. I also know the pain that comes along with not being yourself.
There’s a better way: Own who you are.
Fact is, people pleasing has never worked for you. If you look closely, all your true friends came when you were being you. All your best relationships came when you revealed your true self.
Since authenticity yields the best results, a better way is to own who you are and show up as your true self… from the very beginning.
When you embrace rejection you find abundance (ironic, I know). As you walk through the world as your true self with zero apologies, yes, you will reject the mismatches. But you also start to attract the right matches. You see just how many people SEEK and APPRECIATE your weird qualities.
You enjoy the satisfaction of simply being yourself. In a world that chases external things for happiness, know that true satisfaction is found in just being yourself. No reaching. No posturing. Just sinking into your honest-to-God nature.
Be yourself from the very first encounter (starting today).
- If you’re an introvert, own your introvertedness.
- If you’re an extrovert, own your extrovertedness.
- Embrace your weirdness or wildness, and know that there absolutely are people out there who crave even your most “unpopular” qualities.
- Encourage the mismatches to leave, as it creates space for the right matches to enter your life.
- Don’t bend to the world, instead let it bend to you.