How Do I Change Who I Am?
“It must be exhausting being you.”
This is something that has been said to me more times than I care to admit. But, not in a sympathetic or compassionate way; not in a way that might consider that I am, in fact, tired of the way I am. It’s judgemental, it’s condescending, and it’s downright rude. Because yes. Yes, it is completely and utterly exhausting being inside my head. And I am so, so fed up of it.
I’m constantly told that I take things too personally and I need to stop caring so much about, well, everything. But, here’s the thing – it’s who I am. Would you force an introvert to socialise or an extrovert to stay in? Would you belittle an optimist if you didn’t agree with them or provoke a pessimist to change their mind? Sensitivity and insecurity are so deeply ingrained in my personality that I can’t just change overnight. For all the will in the world, I can’t force myself to be someone I’m not.
It’s been a problem throughout my entire life. I constantly overthink things and get easily offended by people who may not even realise they’re hurting my feelings. I find it hard to hide my emotions and my face always gives away when I’m not pleased. It’s no secret that I struggle with mental health and I don’t doubt for a second this plays a huge part in the way I react to others. I’m irrational and abrupt. I often say things in the heat of the moment I regret and my words come back to haunt me.
Anxiety plagues my mind. It convinces me that I’m disliked, that I’m unloved, that I’m not worth other people’s time. It’s the reason I worry so much about what I can’t control, despite knowing it’s pointless. I’ve lost countless friendships over the years because of it – and do you know why it keeps happening? Because I cannot change who I am.
My stubbornness is the most exhausting part of my life. I find it so hard to forget when someone has upset me and hold grudges for the longest time. I can sit in a room with someone I was once friends with and not utter a word. I can erase someone completely from my life because I believe they no longer deserve to be a part of it. But, it can be so unbelievably draining to carry anger and resentment around with me.
There are times when I feel so alone from the weight of it all. Yet, I feel like I have no one but myself to blame. There are times when I wish nothing more than to be different. I wish I could keep my opinions to myself and not take criticism to heart. I wish I could hide how I really feel and not let others dictate my happiness. I wish I could stop overthinking and sabotaging relationships with those around me.
But, how do I change who I am? How do I stop taking things personally? How do I stop caring about what other people do and think and say about me?
Should I even change at all?