Have you ever gone through the experience of being around people who make you feel not quite like yourself? I have, lots of times. Some people make me lose my cool (although, in all fairness, I’m never entirely cool 😉 ) – I instantly forget how to react to things, how to come up with witty responses and I completely lose my ability to detect sarcasm. Doesn’t that sound like fun?
This happens for a number of reasons, one of them being a rather obvious one: some people take advantage of my insecurities to make me feel inferior to them, or maybe they are, in fact, so awesome that they deserve to treat me like I’m dirt and they’re gods (hint: sarcasm).
Those people aside, some people just make me feel a tiny bit off, often through no fault of their own but solely because of how I feel around them. Of course, this happens to people when they’re around their crush all the time: as soon as emotions are involved, all rationality goes down the drain and nothing makes sense anymore. Crushes: turning people into morons since the beginning of time!
That being said, I have similar (if not entirely as debilitating) issues around authority figures; I have always felt slightly uncomfortable around teachers, some co-workers (especially those above my pay grade), bosses and sometimes even family members. The reason for that is undoubtedly my fear of being judged and of not being good enough and therefore not being accepted the way I am. My impossible endeavour for perfection makes a lot of things feel like a failure, which I have a hard time accepting even if it’s very probable that not a single one of the authority figures in my life has ever considered me or any of my actions a failure.
Also, some people intimidate me just by being who they are. This especially applies to self-confident people who seem to have their life figured out, regardless of whether they have or not. When I’m around such people, it happens that I turn into a completely different person, adopting a way of talking and reacting that is very much unlike my own. This usually confuses not only the other person (unless they’re a complete stranger) but myself as well, sometimes to the point where I end up not liking myself all that much. I get frustrated because I instinctively start bending over backwards to be someone that the other person might like, whether it matches who I am or not. Fun stuff, right?
To be fair, this doesn’t happen all the time and the intensity of my spontaneous changes in character depends on what shape I’m currently in, meaning whether I’m comfortable in my own skin on that particular day or not, knowing that the extent of my personal comfort zone varies depending on my current anxiety and / or self-esteem levels.
All this aside, I have decided to try being more aware of who I am and to not give as much credit to whether other people would like the real me or not. I shouldn’t feel the need to develop some mad acting skills and to get into a wholly different character only to be accepted by others. What’s most important is that I like and accept who I am − after all, I’m the one that has to live with me.