What would you do?

... if you weren't afraid of what other people might think? What would you create in your life? How would you feel? What would you STOP doing? What would you START doing?

 

For as long as I can remember I have worried about what other people think.

 

I have always been sensitive and picked up on people's feelings. I used to blame myself, thinking that I had done something wrong if their energy was negative in any way. I would spend hours agonising over what I had done to upset them - not understanding that actually I was picking up on vibes they didn't even know they were giving out a lot of the time.

It put me into a pattern of overthinking and letting my imagination run wild. What were they saying about me behind my back? Why were they 'off' with me? How could I rectify it? It was a constant juggling act of how to manage the emotions and moods of other people because of the impact that it would have when they weren't in a good place. I was dodging energy bullets left right and centre!

At school I was the joker, the clown, the one that had to make people laugh in order for them to like me. If I wasn't funny then why would they like me? I made myself the brunt of many jokes - I laughed off bullying behaviour from older girls. I enjoyed seeing people smile and enjoyed being the one to lift their energy - it gave me purpose. l tried so hard to be that loud, confident and bubbly person - never showing emotion or weakness - the happy go lucky girl that of course everyone would like and want to be friends with. That way they could never think badly of me... could they?

 

Sensitive soul

 

A 'friend' of mine once said to me that another friend of ours was really similar to me, 'but nicer'. It stung so deep and it made me think... is that what people think of me? That I am not nice? That I am not kind? That I am selfish? That kind of comment HURTS.

I became very cautious about how my actions and behaviour could influence others, because I felt EVERYTHING. If I could feel it then everyone else could surely? I didn't understand then what it meant to be an empath or a highly sensitive person, I just thought it was normal. So I continuously asked... how will this make them feel? What would they think if I did something a certain way? How would I be letting someone down if I didn't do as they expected? I navigated my whole teenage years and well into my twenties trying to dodge the negative energy bullets.

And it lead to anxiety, excess stress, perfectionism, excessive criticism. Because I do care what people think. I can't help that. I care because I can feel it when they think badly of me. And that is hard to take.

 

Wide open

 

Over the past few years, since I launched Protein & Pearls over three years ago (my first blog set up with my two amazing friends Sarah and Kirsty) I have shared my adventures quite publicly. I have talked about my struggles with anxiety, my body image issues, disordered eating, the journey to becoming a yoga teacher and coach, my change in business models, my growth and my challenges. I have put all of this out there and it can leave you feeling quite open and vulnerable at times.

On one hand it is amazing and empowering, but on the other hand it can make you feel self conscious about your decisions. As my amazing community has grown I have been more aware of the responsibilty to show up in a truthful and inspiring way - and for me that isn't always sharing just the rosy parts of life.

Each time I put something up about a low day, or a struggle I am having, I feel open to someone judging me or thinking that I am weak/oversharing/flakey/unstable. I have fears that people won't want to work with me, won't want to collaborate, won't want to join a class or join one of my programmes or events if they see that I am weak. If they see that I have flaws and that I am not 'perfect'. And yet I don't feel authentic if I don't share these parts of me.

 

So what is a sensitive girl to do?

 

Hide away and not share? Pretend everything is always bright and shiny? Make out that I have all my sh*t together?

No thank you. I can't.

I have had an amazing few months, and there are some parts of my business and life that feel so empowering and so in alignment I can hardly believe they are real. But then there are also some elements that have felt heavy and 'wrong'. Yet I have focused so much on these 'heavy' elements in a bid to try and resist those feelings so that I don't risk the chance of someone thinking badly of me, that I have ended up spending less time on the elements that feel amazing. If that isn't being out of flow, then I do not know what is!

 

I asked myself yesterday...

 

'What would you do if you weren't afraid of what people would think?'

The answers came through loud and clear. They came through overwhelmingly and once I had the courage to become aware of them and accept them - then I knew that I couldn't just sit there any more.

I am not saying I disregard people's feelings at all - this isn't about me not caring for others - I care deeply. But all the time I am doing things purely to please others and living in fear that they might think badly of me, then I am not doing things for myself. And I can't be responsible for the feelings of other people any more, I can't control their happiness by always pleasing them.

It has been quite an awakening, and one that has brought up a lot of discomfort and a bit of anxiety - but as I take baby steps towards living my life in a way that feels in alignment with who I am and what I dream of, I can physically feel a weight lifting off my shoulders.

 

Dare yourself to ask the question...

 

'What would you do if you weren't afraid of what people would think?'

Journal it, talk about it, think about it... and then feel into what the first step towards it might be.

Feel free to comment below or ping me an email if you want to chat more.

Go forward my friend. I will meet you there.

Lx

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