About two years ago, a friend pointed out that I have different behaviours with different friends; with happy, bubbly people I'm happy and bubbly; with guys I tend to be standoffish and reserved; with people I think are intelligent I act intelligent and understanding, and so on.
This wasn't a huge deal, it was an underlying symptom of a bigger problem. It made me see that: underneath all of those modifying behaviours, I couldn't see what's left. I don't know what my personality is when I'm not trying to please other people. Because that's just it; everything I do revolves around either pleasing people or avoiding disappointing people.
I don't act for myself; I act in a way to conform and fit the model of a person that I think others will like the most. If people don't like me or acknowledge me, I can get upset or even angry; being liked and not judged by others is the most important thing to me.
And I hate this feeling of not knowing anything about myself, of not knowing what part of me I've manufactured to make other people happy, and what is truly indicative of me as a person. I'm a chameleon: my fears change me to whoever I feel everyone would like best. And I can't see the colours underneath.
Because I stop me from acting, from changing things; I just do things the way others do them, and I never go out of my comfort zone, never voice any original ideas; I rarely seem to have original ideas. I just depend on other people to tell me how something should be done, because I don't believe I'm capable of getting the correct solution myself. I don't mean to say this in a self-deprecating way: I just have a very strong feeling of inferiority, and this overriding belief that everyone else can do anything better than me, has lead to me being trapped into depending on other people. I need other people to tell me what to do and how to do things; in things like study methods, cooking, housekeeping, job-hunting, etc.
Above that anxiety, dependency, and feelings of inferiority: I have nothing to anchor myself to. No central belief or idea of myself that I can cling to when everything else falls apart. When all these pillars break down, I have nothing left. I get by, and I'm superficially happy in life, but I know that beneath the surface, I'm not really.
I've talked about this with a counsellor a lot, and it was with his help I managed to get all these thoughts together coherently, as I didn't understand a lot of this before counselling. But I can only see the problems now, not the way forward. My biggest challenge, and one that I know no one can help me with, is discovering my personality, finding my authentic voice.
I don't know how to put that first foot forward.
I'm not writing this for attention; honestly that's the opposite of what I want. But I need to address this publicly because I need to confront my fear of judgement by naming it, by talking about it, and being honest about it. I don't think I can begin to build a real identity until I've put that fear behind me.