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Do you often find that you can’t be yourself around others?
Maybe you have a chameleon personality and take on the character of whomever you’re around.
Or perhaps you find yourself laughing at things you don’t find funny, agreeing to tasks you don’t want to do, offering up your services without asking for a fee, or simply wanting to impress the people you’re with.
These are just a few signs that you are not being authentic to yourself, but rather, being a reflection of what’s around you. This is closely linked to people pleasing.
There are several reasons you might feel like you can’t be yourself around others. However, with a little bit of self-reflection, self-care, and self-development, you can overcome these reasons and start living more authentically without carrying the weight of the world’s judgment around you.
Make sure to read to the end to understand the reasons and how to overcome them with the tips provided.
Speak to an accredited and experienced therapist to help you learn how to be yourself around others. You may want to try speaking to one via BetterHelp.com for quality care at its most convenient.
1. You’re shy.
Have you been shy all your life? Maybe even back in school, you can recall times when being shy really affected your life.
Being shy can leave you feeling self-conscious, nervous, and frankly, just unpleasant. Though its effects range from minor to major, shyness can be a biological tendency or a result of how you were raised. For example, overbearing parents tend to produce shy, timid children.
Being shy might be your natural response to being with others, and that’s okay. It is most definitely not a negative. The focus should be to accept that you’re a shy person and bring awareness to your internal dialogue to reframe how you perceive your shyness.
Work on boosting your self-esteem, strengthening relaxation skills, and improving stress-management techniques to feel more comfortable being yourself around others as a shy-prone person.
2. You fear rejection.
Fear of rejection can be a huge and very significant reason as to why you can’t be yourself around others. It can stem from a fear of not being liked, not fitting in, and feeling like you don’t belong.
People who fear rejection often neglect their own needs and want to help others in an attempt to be liked and accepted. In addition, they are often taken advantage of when seeking a sense of belonging.
The first step is accepting that you have a fear of rejection. Then you can make the decision to do something about it. Next, work on changing the internal dialogue from negative and critical to positive and encouraging. Finally, work on improving your self-confidence, meeting new people, experiencing new things, and prioritizing self-care.
3. You carry shame.
Shame is a heavy emotion. A person usually hides the reason for their shame. This can lead to feelings of guilt, embarrassment, worthlessness, and inadequacy.
Working through toxic shame is a journey and not just a one-and-done quick fix. It requires enormous self-compassion, self-awareness, mindfulness, bravery, and courage as the first step is to face the root of your shame. You can combat feelings of shame by speaking more kindly to yourself and seeking support.
4. You have social anxiety.
Social anxiety makes being around others feel nearly impossible. It brings significant fear and self-consciousness and can make a person withdraw and avoid it.
Social anxiety is a real, diagnosable disorder that can make being yourself around others an unimaginable task. Though social anxiety can be a chronic condition, there are things a person can do to assist with living with it.
There aren’t any quick fixes to social anxiety, but there are a few things that can help. Psychotherapy and medication are helpful, along with self-care and maintaining a healthy relationship with your medical professional. Make sure not to miss any appointments.
5. You don’t like yourself.
Everyone has an inner critic, but when it becomes self-sabotage, there is an issue. It is often the inner critic that causes you to sabotage yourself before you even reach the social event. This looks different for everyone, but a few examples are: disliking all your outfits, feeling like you have nothing to add to a conversation, and speaking to yourself in a destructive way.
Not liking yourself is hard and might be the reason why you can’t relax around others. This can make you feel embarrassed or ashamed of who you are and cause you to withdraw and not want to be yourself.
The key to liking yourself is first getting to know who you are. Spend time alone with yourself. Try taking yourself on dates, watching a movie alone, visiting a museum, or meditating. Incorporate being alone into your daily routine to genuinely start knowing who you are.
When your inner critic begins to question you, challenge it. Challenge self-sabotaging thoughts and behaviors and allow yourself the grace to get comfortable with who you are.
6. You’re not sure exactly who you are.
In a world constantly telling us who we should and shouldn’t be, it can be challenging to understand who you are and where and how you fit.
Likewise, if you’ve been raised by overbearing parents or experienced trauma, it can be hard to know who you are compared to who you feel you’re supposed to be.
So often, we carry responsibility from our parents or grandparents to live the life they have planned, and, in adulthood, we find that is not what serves us. It’s challenging and can be very destructive to your own well-being.
How you feel about yourself, how you speak to yourself, and your inner critic is all part of understanding who you are. Sometimes, to understand who you really are, you have to silence all the noise. The “noise” might very well be the people you’re spending time with, those whom you feel you can’t be yourself around.
In order to get to know who you are, you need to figure out who you’re not. Become acquainted with yourself, your feelings, morals, values, and beliefs. Unlearn what the world has taught you up until this point, and embrace who you are. Don’t be afraid to outgrow relationships; move on and let yourself live. Not everyone is meant to remain in our lives forever, which is perfectly okay.
7. You lack self-confidence.
If you’re lacking in the self-confidence area, then that very well may be the reason you are unable to show your real self to others. Lacking self-confidence can make a person doubt themselves and leave them feeling unworthy and inadequate.
Because self-confidence is based mainly on your perception of yourself rather than reality, it’s important to recognize if you’re struggling with this so you can make the appropriate changes.
The fix for lacking self-confidence is to build and strengthen it. Challenge any negative self-talk, learn how to say no, and set healthy boundaries to protect your peace and mental health. Set realistic goals, use positive affirmations, and make a list of your best qualities. Having more self-confidence and feeling better about yourself will help a lot when socializing.
8. You have imposter syndrome.
Imposter syndrome is a real psychological struggle. It manifests as an intense fear of being exposed as a fraud or feeling like a phony. Imposter syndrome can make it increasingly challenging to be your authentic self around others.
You might have a significant fear of failure, feel inadequate, and carry a lot of emotional stress. Imposter syndrome can aggravate other mental health conditions, so it’s best to acknowledge it and work toward dealing with it.
9. You have anxiety.
Anxiety can sometimes be your friend, but other times you just wish it would leave you alone. It puts questions in your mind that you didn’t even know you were concerned about. Anxiety can trigger physical responses too.
Anxiety might prompt you to second guess yourself, feel like you don’t belong, and have you self-isolating to avoid a specific situation. Though a slight level of anxiety is normal, if you’re finding that you frequently feel like you can’t be yourself around others, then it’s time to start working through it. Anxiety is very challenging to live with but not impossible.
Helping your anxiety begins with accepting it and growing to understand it. Next, identify your triggers and assess if they’re triggers to work through, eliminate, or reduce. Some triggers we must learn how to cope with, but others we can avoid altogether. A few things to help with your anxiety include practicing mindfulness, meditation, daily exercise, and eating a healthy diet.
You can even use a few tools to help when you feel like you can’t be authentically you. Mindfulness and being present can help you stay focused in the moment rather than fixating on all the things anxiety is telling you.
Communication is helpful as well. If the people you feel you can’t be yourself around are your support, open up and communicate your anxiety to them. This can be helpful in the challenging moments.
10. You consume too much social media.
Do you find that you’re always scrolling through your social feeds? This can cause you to compare yourself to others, lead to the development of imposter syndrome, and intensify any anxiety you may have.
Social media, though great for helping build connections and relationships, can also make you feel inadequate and lonely.
If you feel you can’t reveal your true self around others, take a look at the content you’re consuming and recognize how you feel about it. Without even realizing it, social media could be causing you to feel self-conscious or “less than.”
Make sure you diversify your feed, follow accounts that make you feel great, and monitor how much time you spend on it.
11. Your environment or your relationships are toxic.
If you frequently feel like you can’t be yourself around others, it could be that the environment you are in is unhealthy. It is also possible that your relationships are toxic in some way.
You might find that you’re accepting a role someone else wants you to take on because you feel unable to assert your own wishes. You wear the mask of housekeeper, carer, or even eye candy because that’s what your partner, friend, or family member expects of you.
If the environment you’re visiting or living in is toxic, it can prompt you to hide your true self away. It’s almost a defense mechanism to protect the real you from the people you are around. After all, you can’t be so badly hurt if you don’t show who you really are.
12. You have weak communication skills.
If you don’t have the best communication skills, it’s natural to feel a little uneasy around others. Perhaps you struggle to communicate your thoughts or don’t know how to add to the conversation. So you always feel like an outsider looking in rather than being an active participant of whatever is going on around you.
Either way, you can strengthen your communication skills to improve this. Once you do, you’ll find a new and improved self-confidence that allows you to be yourself.
13. You’re a people pleaser.
If you’re constantly trying to make sure everyone else is happy, you’re neglecting your own needs and values. Being a people pleaser can quickly grow very trying and frustrating.
You might find that you’re always saying yes to things you don’t actually want to do, taking on commitments that don’t fit into your calendar, and much more. Being a people pleaser is tough.
It would help if you first learned to prioritize your needs and desires over others. In addition, people pleasing can be a symptom of other mental health conditions, so always make sure to discuss your health with a medical professional.
14. You were raised by parents who never accepted you.
If your parents never accepted you for who you are, and instead tried to form you into what they believed you should be, it could explain your current difficulty with living authentically.
If you’re struggling with this, it’s important to know it’s a journey. First, you must commit to unlearning what you were taught and accepting who you are. It won’t happen overnight, but it is something you can change in time.
15. You experienced trauma.
Past traumas could be the reason why you can’t be yourself around others. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be life altering, and it can become increasingly challenging to live and cope with.
However, with therapy, support, and learning about your trauma, you can most definitely work through it and improve your self-esteem. These two things will help you grow more comfortable in your own skin so that you can show your true self when with other people.
There are many reasons why you can’t be yourself around others. Of course, only you know which reasons are relevant to your situation. But, whether it’s because of shame, imposter syndrome, a lack of self-confidence, weak communication skills, or anything else, you can work through it and make significant progress on your journey.
If you can improve your confidence, get to know yourself, and learn to like who you are, you’ll find it’s much easier to be yourself around others.
Still not sure why you struggle to be yourself around others, or how to? Talking to someone can really help you to handle whatever life throws at you. It’s a great way to get your thoughts and your worries out of your head so you can work through them.
Speak to a therapist about it. Why? Because they are trained to help people in situations like yours. They can help you to identify which of the above reasons applies to you and then provide tailored advice to help you let your guard down and show your true self to others.
BetterHelp.com is a website where you can connect with a therapist via phone, video, or instant message.
While you may try to work through this yourself, it may be a bigger issue than self-help can address. And if it is affecting your mental well-being, relationships, or life in general, it is a significant thing that needs to be resolved.
Too many people try to muddle through and do their best to overcome issues that they never really get to grips with. If it’s at all possible in your circumstances, therapy is 100% the best way forward.
Here’s that link again if you’d like to learn more about the service BetterHelp.com provide and the process of getting started.
You’ve already taken the first step just by searching for and reading this article. The worst thing you can do right now is nothing. The best thing is to speak to a therapist. The next best thing is to implement everything you’ve learned in this article by yourself. The choice is yours.
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