“They won’t like me if I’m real.”

Is that true?

Hmmmm. I believe it sometimes.

Can you absolutely know that it’s true that “they won’t like you if you are real”?

No. I can’t know.

How do you react when you believe that “they won’t like me if I’m real”?

I pretend: my voice is different, maybe a bit higher, a bit “sweeter”, a bit softer, a bit politer, a bit—um—faker!
I cushion things to soften what I perceive would be the blow.
I try to protect.
I couch and smoothen out.
I say things indirectly, trying to get my way without coming out and saying what I want.
I pretend to listen even when my mind has left.

Who would you be without the thought “They won’t like me if I’m real”?

Less reactive.
Less reading people to see what they want to hear.
More coming from my center, my truth, whatever that looks like in any moment.
No need to smile if there is not a smile automatically coming. No need to pretend.
Much more spontaneous. Voice deeper.
Less smiles and probably more laughter! Ha. That’s a funny one to notice!
And in situations when I’m unclear, I might just express my unclarity or confusion or unsureness, rather than pretending to be the more evolved and mature person I think I should be.

Turnarounds to “They won’t like me if I’m real.”

>They will like me if I’m real. — That could definitely be as true, if not truer.

Can I find 3 genuine examples where that’s been truer?
1. I’ve heard interesting comments from people recently, when I was just being myself without trying to watch out for anyone’s feelings or for “appropriateness”… I actually heard a couple people say something like, “who is that? where do you keep her? we like her!” Interesting.

2. In my relationship, I fessed up to my confusion about wanting or not to do something, and we moved on in our day and later the confusion cleared and I did feel like doing the very same thing. I notice it feels bad to do something halfheartedly just to please or because I think I should. Not doing whatever it is in those moments, frees me up to do them wholeheartedly when the movement/desire is there!

3. I have often gotten a big sense of connection (no separation) when I have expressed my inner world without sugarcoating or dramatizing. A number of people tell me they can relate, and that I express what they also feel.

>I won’t like me if I’m real.

Hmmmm. Some part of me, maybe. After all, it is that part in me that is perceiving and projecting what the world wants from me, and so it is that part that then feels uncomfortable with the “real” me, whatever that is. So, maybe that is actually truer: I won’t like me if I’m real.

>I won’t like me if I’m pretend.

That’s actually turning out to be the truest. It feels bad. My neck and shoulders hurt and get stiff. It’s like I’m keeping myself secret when I pretend to be something I’m not, just to please you or avoid losing your approval. And then if you do, supposedly, “like me”, who is it you are actually liking then anyway?!


What about you? Do you have any stressful thoughts about being real or about pretending? I’d love to hear! These questions I just posed in relation to my stressful thought are an example of simple and powerful inquiry using The Work of Byron Katie. Oh— Annie… thanks for your comment on my last entry that prompted my inquiry! Love, Heidi

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