Be yourself, everyone else is taken
As a naturally emotionally sensitive person, you may have accumulated experiences of being misunderstood and marginalised, and subsequently you have learned to feel bad about who you are.
This results in problems such as low self-esteem, trying to twist who you are in order to ‘fit in’, or becoming very sensitive to criticisms and rejection. In other words, you have internalised the ‘shame’ others or society have imposed on you.
How many years have you been trying now, to fit in, even when you don’t?
How much have you sacrificed, how much discomfort have you endured, in order to be like everyone else?
One way of breaking out of this negative loop is to consciously remind yourself of your uniqueness, and stop trying to be who you are not.
Being different can be lonely, but that is not where suffering lies - suffering lies in the perception that things as they stand are ‘not okay’. Or worse, that you are not okay.
If you can truly free yourself from all the ‘shoulds’ society has imposed on you, and begin to practise embracing what is, life will reward you with peace, joy and fulfilment.
It is easy to see something and think that is what you want, even when it is really not what your soul truly needs.
D H Lawrence had this figured out back in 1923, when he said,
‘Men are not free when they are doing just what they like… Men are only free when they are doing what the deepest self likes. And there is getting down to the deepest self! It takes some diving’.
Because the deepest self is buried inside, if you want to be free, you have to give up the illusion of doing what you ‘think’ you like, and seek what your soul wishes done. For some, support from a counsellor/psychotherapist at this point can be useful.
Here is a bite-size, implementable practise that you can incorporate into your life right now:
Just for this week, whenever you hear or see someone else's’ life, status update and feel a surge of uncomfortable envy, say to yourself ‘This is his/her life, and not mine. I have my own path’. Or, you can repeat the following Oscar Wilde quote to yourself: ‘Be yourself; everyone else is taken’.
It may seem awkward and mechanical at first, but somehow our subconscious mind would have received your message.
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About Imi Pui Yin Lo
Imi is an award-winning mental health professional, accredited clinical psychotherapist (UKCP), art therapist (HCPC, BAAT), supervisor and trainer. She specialises in emotional intensity, sensitivity, and borderline personality traits. She is the founder of Eggshell Therapy, based in London, UK.