Whenever there is one of those moments of life-realizations that jumps into my world it seems to become a reoccurring theme. Perhaps it's because my awareness has been tuned onto such an epiphany, or perhaps because it is something that I feel I really need to work on; more so, I believe it is because it is something that I Want to work on and situations begin to surround me to provide such opportunity to grow and learn. Regardless of reason, the topic of our "filtered" selves has been my recent reoccurrence.
When you choose to be fully yourself, you often times can run into confrontational viewpoints from others. When we step into ourselves it's not always something that fits society, and therefore can make people uncomfortable, jealous, envious, or questioning. Even if it's not something that goes against the typical "norm" of society, society still teaches us to filter ourselves, that there are parts of ourselves that we should hide, that we should behave a certain way, that our emotions are often wrong.
For myself, I am covered in tattoos, currently have pink hair, and have several piercings on my face; I dress somewhere between hippie, steampunk, punk, and casually "normal"--being a designer no doubt has an influence on my sense of ever-changing style. Because of these things, I'm not exactly a "normal" fit into our traditional bland society. For the most part, I embrace these sides of myself headstrong, positively, and with the upmost joy. And then I got to thinking… I Do filter myself. Even though I am covered in tattoos, when I am meeting certain people I start to dress differently. I love showing off my tattoos, not because I want to be showy but because I feel in my element and completely myself in the summer time wearing what I want when I want. But I filter myself around certain people. I might choose to wear something "pretty" or a little more "conservative" to offset the brash tattoos, piercings, and pink hair. It's not that I don't dress this way on some days regardless--it's not a "fake" side to me--but, in certain situations, I do so to seem more "normal". So, the realization dawned on me: I filter myself because all of a sudden I become self-conscious about Who I Am. My tattoos, my piercings, how I choose to dress may seem outward, even egotistical to some people, but for me they are self-expression (and I believe this is the same for many artistic, wondrous individuals). So why would I filter any part of myself because of another person? Fully stepping into Who I Am is important to me, it is something that I watch some people do seemingly so flawlessly (and perhaps people think I am the same way from the outside, I'm not sure), but I am envious and I strive to be so confident and comfortable. I filter myself when I think I need to try to impress someone, or downplay another person's perhaps more "traditional" or "normal" comfort-level of what people should look like. But that's not who I am. A filtered self is not who I want to be, it is not who I strive to be.
Why wouldn't we want to step into our fullest selves? While the mentality of filtering ourselves may be automatic, perhaps even without too much thought, I invite you to realize that filtering yourself in any way is counter productive. Think about it. We tend to sensor ourselves when meeting new people, because we think we need to make a good impression--but that's not showing our true selves, and we should only want to be around people that want our true selves; and if we are stuck around people that don't, then we should embrace ourselves regardless. Plenty of times people filter and sensor themselves in new relationships, because we believe we need to be more "tame", perhaps not "crazy", to impress them. But what's the point? In the long run, you're lying about Who You Are, and in any case you should only Want to be with someone where you can be entirely and completely yourself. This goes for any kind of relationship: friends, boyfriends/girlfriends, family, work, etc.
We spend so much of our time filtering the things we say, the way we act, the way we look in order to make the people around us more comfortable. We filter ourselves out of a need to not hurt anyone's feelings , offend anyone, or to avoid confrontation. While in our heads this may seem like a good idea, showing our shiniest, most well-behaved sides, this also gives us the mentality that our own feelings are second to everyone else's.
On top of that, it also doesn't show people the Real You. And you should always strive to be the Truest version of yourself, because life is too short to be anything else or to surround yourself with people that don't embrace the True You.
Now, I should clarify… Filtering ourselves doesn't mean you're not still feeling like yourself, it just means (and feels like) you are not the Fullest Version of Yourself. It's not that the behaviour is fake, it just means you're putting forth only the "good stuff" so to speak. I struggled with this for a long time when I strived so hard to have a Positive Mental Attitude at all times; believing that any negative feelings were not good and that I should not show those sides of myself. It began to feel as if I wasn't allowed to be negative ever. I since learned that lesson, especially in such a social-networking platform as both my blogs. People need to realize that we are all Human. People have All different sides to themselves; and that includes the people you are trying to impress or sensor yourself around. By being fully yourself, you also encourage those around you to do the same; and, again, life is too short for anything else. You are human, just as the people around you are, just as I am. Yes, sometimes we are glowing balls of energy and light and beaming smiles; other times we have sad thoughts and irrational thoughts, we get angry, jealous, envious, and hurt, and sometimes we get depressed. All of our emotions, all of our wants and needs exist whether we show them or not, and they are just as important as the wants and needs of the people around you. This is why filtering yourself is counterproductive; because it leaves the impression that those wants and needs aren't valid. Essentially, you devalue yourself.
There are several problems with devaluing yourself, mostly because it attacks your self worth and can leave you feeling unworthy of the people and situations around you. The behaviour of filtering yourself is also not healthy because, in the end, you are only building walls around yourself and against the people in your life. The encouragement in this is to remind yourself that you Are amazing, and you don't need to filter yourself for Anyone. The more you embrace your own self-worth, the more people will embrace it as well, and the less you will feel the need to filter yourself anyway. Allow yourself to be vulnerable--because that's certainly how it will feel at first--so that you can have a healthy relationship with Your Self again, and therefore healthy relationships with the people around you. This is a step in personal growth, and it is still (in my opinion) one of the greatest ones to learn: the more love you have for yourself, the more love you have for life and the people in it.
I know it's not always an easy thing to do; I, for one, have come to realize I have a bad habit of this. Inspire and encourage yourself to be the Fullest Version of Yourself at all times. Remember your own self-worth. Remember that to embrace yourself fully means to embrace life and happiness more fully. Life is too short not to fully accept, embrace, and value yourself, those around you, and life.
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