Whether we are trying to impress someone or not, we all need a place to feel loved, to know we are accepted, to fit in. We gravitate towards those that make us feel liked, understood, and apart of something.
Many of us have that with our personal families. It is a sense of belonging. We also find our niche in relationships with people of like minds. Our commonalities bond us. One’s creativity, passion, pain, social group, sports, business setting, gang affiliation, or plethora of other factors can attract us to other people who are somewhat like ourselves in one way or another. They make us feel safe. They make us feel comfortable. They make us feel like we are wanted.
When we are out of our element we can momentarily close down. We can become awkward and uncomfortable. This unfamiliarity also causes some to overcompensate, act out, and draw negative attention to ourselves. Even those with charismatic personalities can either withdraw or speak-up outside the appropriate timing. When we are a fish out of water, all of us feel a certain amount of tension as we really want to be accepted.
On the flip side, there are those who think they “should’ be authentic all of the time. They have no desire to impress anyone. Instead of giving time to adjust to the situation, allow for observation, transition, or working through the un-comfortability, the behavior usually comes off as rude, obnoxious, irritating, and arrogant. When this occurs the person tends to walk away feeling misunderstood, un-liked, and sincerely unappreciated.
With no place to belong, we remain feeling rejected. We translate other people’s awkward responses to our equally awkward behavior into the belief we are unlikeable for who we are. Then, in a pure move of stubbornness, we make a choice not to change ourselves to be liked either. We walk out our pride and refuse to discover what it takes to cultivate healthy, authentic relationships. Unfortunately, this also reenforces our insecurities that we are un-enjoyable.
We want to be apart of a bigger picture. We want to be liked. We want to be loved. We need to belong somewhere. We try performing to fit in. We become posers when we attempt to squeeze ourselves into someone else’s shoe. We become manipulators when we play on others affections. We beguile and use our power as a source of influence. When all else fails, we hide.
When do we know we have arrived? How do we know we found our place in this world? What causes our heart to feel at home? How do we keep that feeling of assurance in who we are while also putting ourselves out there for rejection?
It’s kinda like….shoes.
Our shoes mold to our feet. We imprint our soles on their surface. Sometimes we need a new pair of shoe, but we will have to allow time to break them in. While other shoes have been faithful for years and bring us familiarity and comfort.
However, if we only had one pair of shoes to go with every outfit and every occasion, there would be times the shoes would not be appropriate. They would look out of place. It would be noticeable if we wore flip-flops in a blizzard or running shoes with an evening gown. We do not have to wear other peoples shoes. We do not have to try to fit into their mold and impression. We do not have to squeeze in shoes that are two small or swim in those that are too big for us.
We simply need to find and wear our own shoes. Shoes that fit the occasion. Shoes that fit our style, our personality, and our sense of comfort. When we wear our own shoes, we can look good, feel comfortable, and not draw unhealthy attention to ourselves. We can be our authentic self and dress the part, too. All the while being at ease in every situation.