This seems to be a reoccurring state in my life.   After a lunch the other day with a woman friend who described much the same feelings in regards to her ability to say what she truly thinks with friends and family.    She described it as the “party where she was “Uninvited”.  I again found myself thinking about this in my own life. 
Where does it start this guarding against revealing who you really are?   Is it with the parent or parents who disapprove when you show anger or independence?  Do we shut down the spontaneity  of the real self because of fear of being abandoned by the caretaker who loves us.  I have vague memories of my mother’s disapproving looks when I was behaving in what she thought was an inappropriate manner.   Was I not washing my hands properly enough, was I embarrassing her in front of friends, was I sitting with my legs apart  that only boys are allowed to do?   Thousands of behaviors,  thousands of fleeting thoughts as to whether or not those behaviors were acceptable.   The shutting down becomes apparent in the way I talk, the way I walk, the way I hold my body.  
In a previous blog I described the end of a long term friendship, the cause being that I allowed myself freedom of expression.  Yes,the possible  loss of friendships are real if you make the decision to be who you really are. I have concluded that not many people really accept us for who we are.   They, like our  parents in childhood, want us to satisfy their expectations, their fantasy of what a friend, wife, mother or sister, should act like.   Rarely does this expectation come anywhere close to what we really are if we allow ourselves free expression.  
So, most of us change to meet others’ expectations.   We monitor what we say, and how we behave with those we care about, we try to guess what they want. We become a “false self”.  Even we don’t recognize who we are as the false self is not a good fit and is never comfortable. Some people develop full blown neurosis, some take legal or illegal drugs in order to allow the free expression that escapes during these drug induced states. A few brave people continue to feel the freedom that comes with believing that they have a right to exist with or without approval from a parent figure.   They are risk takers and yes sometimes they embarrass us.    
If you are reading this perhaps you are one of those who is at least aware that you have changed in some way to meet others’ expectations and that change has not served you well.  
My first art teacher, an old man, 80 yrs at the time, said to me many times in regard to my art endeavor, “Be Brave” put the paint on the canvas, don’t worry whether someone else likes it or not. So, I’m Trying.    

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