It is only a couple of weeks till Halloween. This time of year brings thoughts of candy, lots of scary movies on television, decorations and costumes. It can be fun to dress up as your alter ego or simply something that makes you look fantastic.
While costumes can be fun, pretending to be someone that we are not can be exhausting. We have all learned that it is important to act a certain way in certain situations. The running and jumping that is allowed on the beach simply wouldn’t do in a bank. The hijinks you might pull at a party could get you arrested on a plane. But I’m talking about a more subtle thing.
We can all think of examples of people that hid the fact that they were homosexual and pretended
, to most of the world, that they were straight. But how are you pretending right now? Do you pretend that you care about recycling but only because of the peer pressure? Do you buy stylish clothes so that you will fit in? Do you go for a drink even though you do not really like alcohol? All of these examples seem less extreme but they can take a toll on your energy level.
If a certain amount of your attention has to go to remembering who you are trying to appear to be, or trying to keep pronouns straight, you are wasting energy. You are in fact, lying. You are not being honest with the people that you interact with. This forms a barrier because they cannot really get to know you if you are pretending to be someone else. It also sends off that vibe that you are being dishonest. On those occasions when you forget that you are pretending and slip into the comfortable behaviors, people will notice and they will see you as disingenuous.
To get to the bottom of this ask yourself why you are pretending to be someone that you are not. How does it serve you? What does it protect you from? In order to decide that you must pretend, you must first decide that you are not OK how you are. Is that true?
Give yourself a break today. Recognize that you are OK the way that you are. Try to relax and behave the way that you would behave if no one was watching and see what happens. You may find that you have more energy at the end of the day and the world did not collapse.