We Lose Ourselves When We Change Our Words

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I can’t tell you how many text-based communications (text, email, social) I’ve sent where I’ve wanted to say one thing and then immediately erase erase erase. My mind would flood with anxious thoughts over how this person might perceive me if I really spoke my truth.

Why do we do this? Fear.

We get scared!

Being our most authentic selves with other humans is scary! Most of us have some childhood trauma we fall back on. An experience where we said what we were really thinking and it didn’t go so well…As a result, we become calculated in what we say to others.

One of the perks of text-based communication - we have the ability to craft our messages like art.

Calculation creates anxiety

We sit there on our phones drafting the “perfect” reply. Not from our authentic truth of what we really desire to say, but from what we feel will be best received by others. Often when we do say our gut reaction, we sometimes experience anxiety there as well, “They haven’t answered. They must not have liked that text. I knew I shouldn’t have sent that. I should have played it cool.”

I lived in this trap for a lot of years!

Sure, there were certain people in my life that got the full Becca, but I certainly curated messages for many people in my life.

I’m not saying that I was “fake” with people, but I definitely would communicate using language I thought they would like vs. what I wanted to say. One of the perks of text-based communication - we have the ability to craft our messages like art.

We make it all about them

What I realized is that the people I was curating for were people that I was secretly scared would judge me. I made my replies all about them, and it wasn’t really about me or even how I felt. The truth is, I was deeply insecure myself and scared. If I responded how I wanted to, would they still like me?  

When really, it’s all about our past

I don’t know about you, but this majorly started for me in high school when I started texting with boys. I wanted to seem cool, sexy, smart, interesting, and like the kind of girl they would want to be with. Once I would get a boyfriend, the façade would fade and I was able to just be me. And turns out, they loved that even more.

In those early days of texting with the opposite sex, I remember sitting in extreme anxiety over sending the “perfect text”

It sounds so silly now, but I know this is common because I’ve seen it with virtually all of my girlfriends. We would even send each other texts in advance and look for validation – “Is this text ok? What do you think?” with response, “no change that line” or “yea, you sound breezy”. What would happen if every interaction we sent what we really felt? Would we end up with the same people in our lives?

We lose ourselves when we change our words

When we spend years hiding ourselves and not speaking our honest truth, no wonder we feel lost. When I started discovering who I really am a couple years ago, I started paying really close attention to how I interacted with others. Not in the sense of being my “best person” – that came later. But in the sense of looking at my honest thoughts and reactions to people in my life.

Our words mask our true self

I found it was so freeing to respond to everyone how I really felt without 10 filters beforehand. Some of my friends dug it, and others didn’t! The ones who didn’t I realized probably didn’t enjoy the real me and eventually we grew apart. They enjoyed the me that I “put on”.

We all put on a bit of a show around certain people in our lives. And there are (if you’re lucky), certain people you can be your absolute weirdest, freak flag, inner child self with, and they love you dearly for it. How much better does it feel to be the real you? Most likely, that is when you feel happiest, most joyful, and most free in life anyways. Life is short. Why not be the real us and truly enjoy ourselves?  

Start breaking the cycle

If you would like to practice living your most authentic truth, start paying attention to your text-based responses. This includes email (exception for work), text, instagram, facebook, snapchat, etc. Start noticing how you reply to others, what words you use,  and what you truly want to say (and are holding back). I need to include a caveat – this post is not about criticizing others, it is about honoring YOUR needs and YOUR truth.

  • When are you diming bits of your light to honor other people?

  • When are you not honoring your needs?

  • When are you agreeing when you disagree?

This is a practice and takes some time to conquer, but the more we live from a place of truth authenticity, the happier we feel.

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Becca Wiseman