Why the real you is pushing people away

Why the real you is pushing people away

When we begin embracing our authentic self, there are consequences.  Many of these consequences are surprisingly delicious, and completely welcome. They leave us asking, why didn’t I do this sooner?

But authenticity also comes with some distressing side effects.  Sometimes, when we reveal who we truly are, we make others feel uncomfortable.  The reality is, not everyone knows how to love the real you.

warsan shire poem for women who are difficult to love


Peeling back the layers

The real you is an anomaly.  For the right people, you are a welcome exception to the rule – a beautifully strange addition to their world.  For others, you are a looming question mark in a land of absolutes. Your complexity stirs confusion, and even fear, in such people. They are shallow swimmers, easily drowned by the depths of your heart.  They’re not ready for deeper penetration.

Press and ear to my chest and you'll hear the oceanThis is unfortunate because peeling back the layers of one’s personality is a form of foreplay; the slow, tender undressing of the soul is the definition of seduction. Many people can’t get beyond the first layer. They’re so busy fumbling with your overcoat that they never discover the French lace underneath.


Don’t bend, don’t water it down

For some, you will always be too much, or not enough.  In their eyes, you are too strange, too different, too difficult to understand, and easy to take for granted. They want more of what you aren’t, and less of what you truly are.

You are a softy body of hard to swallow contradictions michaela chung

They will try to change you.  Don’t give in. Resist the temptation to flatten your complexity and water down your soul.

“Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.” ~ Franz Kafka

We don’t need to alter who we are to make others feel more comfortable. The moment you feel like you need to prove yourself in a relationship, it’s time to begin looking for an exit.  One of you will have to go.

Saying goodbye is never easy.  But it is often necessary. In the end, you don’t belong to anyone, but yourself.  So, why not take full, unapologetic ownership of who you are?


  1. I really love the “press an ear to my chest” quote!

    • Thanks, Marina. 🙂

  2. I identify with this 100%. Loved reading your goods today.

    I consider myself an ambivert. I accept me 100%. Though others obviously don’t. I attribute this, of course, to the “shallow swimmers” you mention in this piece. Most people aren’t deep. Most people don’t even try. They’re scared. That’s just the plain truth of it. But I’m not complaining. Just when I start thinking that everyone should be more like me, I realize that uniqueness can belong only to people like me. I’ve worked for it. I went deeper than others and saw what others refused to see. It takes all kinds of people to make a world.

    I’m a world traveler, too. Traveling in Thailand right now.

    I love to write. I write hard and smart every single day. Working on memoir right now. I want to tell the world exactly what I think of it. It’s been a pretty amazing ride, so far. My theme is, ‘Misery’, ‘Miserable’, ‘Miserables’, something like that. It is the story of how life turned out to be nothing like what I thought it was going to be when I started out. I thought I was asking a lot of the world and of myself, but I realized I wasn’t asking enough. There was more to the picture than I ever dreamed.

    Anyway, glad to be here. Glad to identify with you.

    • Thanks for your comments. “I thought I was asking a lot of the world and of myself, but I realized I wasn’t asking enough” – love this! Nice to hear from a fellow writer and traveler. 😉

  3. I mentioned this when I first read it but great first post! Seriously, I agreed 100% with all of it, and now have you on my quote wall at work with your name proudly displayed. I read this the other day “The lyrics in your favorite song express everything that you struggle to say or express to others.” – @FactBooks –> This to me was lyrics, you helped express what I been wanting to say for a long time. Just wanted to simply Thank You!

    – Oscar

    • Thank you so much, Oscar. I feel honored to be on your quote wall and to have written the words you’ve been wanting to express. 🙂


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