When I was a little girl learning to read was hard.
Connecting sounds of letters didn’t make sense, plus I have a form of dyslexia so it was extra confusing.
I was embarrassed by the tutors and extra help.
I feared that others thought I was stupid or slow.
I felt different and hated it.
I knew I was smart and wanted to prove it.
Around the same time, I started to gain weight. The fear of being teased felt constant.
So, I developed survival rules: Be smart. Be funny. Be likable. Hide. Don’t let anyone see the real me.
Fast forward a decade (or two)... I was determined to prove myself to the world, so I got an ivy league education, I started running long-distance, I worked really hard, and tried to please people and not piss anyone off.
My survival rules felt like EFFORT and PRESSURE.
And they DIDN'T WORK.
They made me feel like I wasn't really ME.
A lot of us have survival rules.
And clearly, survival rules can go way back and be so familiar that they seem normal.
But here's the thing: If you have survival rules, a part of you knows it and can't deny it.
It’s the part of you that wants to be SEEN.
Or to be HONEST.
Or to be YOURSELF and CARE LESS what others think.
And it’s the part of you that LOVES YOU EXACTLY AS YOU ARE.
What’s the new tactic?
Re-write the “rules.”
If I could go back in time and re-write my survival rules they’d go something like this:
What other people think of you has nothing to do with you.
Love yourself first.
Let others see you.
Never stop following your bliss.
These are the “rules” I live by now, but they don’t feel like rules at all. They feel like freedom.
Do you have survival rules?
Aim for freedom, not likability.
How do your new "rules" go? (Go ahead, post them below. Let yourself be seen.)