Many of our love life patterns begin in early childhood. Our parents teach us by example what we need to do to get (their) love. This incorporates very strongly into our image of ourselves and the world. Unless we break free from it, it will likely remain for the rest of our lives.
I talk to many clients, especially women, who have been cut off by their parents in different ways. “Why do you have to be so expressive/loud/talkative/emotional/creative/energetic/whatever? Please calm down.”
The underlying message is “why do you have to be so much YOU?”
Shaming someone for being who they are is no small thing. Especially not when it’s done to a child. Children will do anything for love and connection because they are literally unsafe if rejected by their parents, and this pattern (unless broken) remains.
If you needed to tone yourself down during the first part of your life to feel loved, safe or accepted, chances are you’ll keep doing it in your love life when you grow up. The problem is that now the situation is very different, and now it won’t work.
It is very hard to enjoy the company of someone who is making themselves small: there is simply no one there to connect with.
If you are not fully there, no one can fully get to know you and fully love all of you. Ironically, this will confirm your old and incorrect belief that you are flawed and need to change in order for people to want to be with you.
But let’s explore the opposite. What would happen if you, instead of shrinking down and hiding, started to show up?
Maybe not 100% all the time, everywhere and with everyone right away, but little by little started to show more and more of who you really are. What would happen then? If you wore that dress you really love but your inner critic thinks is “too much”, or if you shared your opinion just one time more than usual every day, or took that salsa class that you’ve been dreaming of but didn’t think you had the courage to take.
What would happen if you started to take small steps towards being more of you? What if your parents were wrong?
What if it is actually not only ok but wonderful, amazing and beautiful to be as expressive/loud/talkative/emotional/creative/energetic/whatever as you are?
What if I told you that that is your biggest strength. What if I told you it is what your dates, lovers and partners will appreciate the very most about you, if they only get the chance to see it.
What would happen then?
Let me give you a spoiler: It is ok to be you. Start now.