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Finding Your Authenticity in a Lifetime of People Pleasing

“Who am I? What do I want? What do I need? What is it that I even like? What are my passions? My hobbies? Err…. who am I kidding… I don’t even know what I want for lunch, let alone who I want to become.”

Sound familiar?

Perhaps you are an emerging adult, feeling detached from what excites you. Maybe it is difficult to recall a time where you felt “aligned” with your authenticity. You might be at the point where you are just trying to get through the day so that you can crawl back into bed, where you can forget about all of these existential and overwhelming thoughts.

Being a young adult is difficult “af.” Most of us can remember the times when our younger selves looked up to twenty-something-year-olds with starry eyes, thinking “wow, they are really adults,” or, “they really have it alllll figured out.” HA! To be young and naïve.

In all seriousness, feeling disconnected from your authenticity can feel like a tremendous weight to carry. It can feel disorienting, uninspiring, and downright depressing. For so many of us, we are merely conditioned to be disconnected due to the intersection of societal standards and our contextual upbringing.

Many folks grow up with caregivers who are inconsistent in their moods and responses to us as kids. This can create the sensation of having to “walk on eggshells” around our parents and caregivers. In other words, we must put our own needs, desires, and personalities on the backburner in order to “assess” whether our family members are approachable that day. We learn that it is on us to mute ourselves in service of connection to the family.

This relational pattern can then transcend outside of the home and into our other relationships. We move through our relationships with “people pleasing” tendencies (i.e., prioritizing the needs of others in order to access acceptance and connection from those around us).

This is then further perpetuated by many societal norms. We are taught to look, act, speak, behave, exist in certain ways in order to “get in” or “fit in” to social standards. Oftentimes, being our authentic self might be unsafe or unsupported due to racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and white supremacy. All of these prejudices and systems further alienate us from our truest selves. At the end of the day, it is a basic human need to access acceptance and connection from other human beings. We, as humans, can go through a lot in attempts to achieve this need of connection.

Chronic detachment from our core, authentic selves can be protective in many ways. It may, in fact, have helped you to survive thus far. It is our body and mind’s attempt to get what we are needing: love, connection, nurturing, and acceptance. Simultaneously, it can contribute to sentiments of being stuck, confused, blunted, and overwhelmed.

You deserve to feel connected to who it is that you really are. You deserve to understand, intuitively, what it is that you need. You deserve to be surrounded by people and places that accept and support you and your essence.

Through the therapeutic process, you can understand yourself in a deeper way so that you feel empowered to become the most aligned version of yourself.

By: Emily Powell, M.S.Ed, M.Phil.Ed

Interested in learning more?

Reach out to Emily here

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