I was depressed for most of my childhood.
Nobody’s to blame. In fact, I grew up in a house akin to the Buddha’s palace. My parents poured their heart into me and my brothers’ upbringing, and I am extremely grateful for that.
But even with all of the amenities, I always felt something was wrong with me. My body speaks the following message: “Authentic you will be unloved and abandoned. It’s not okay to be you.” To compensate, I became a people pleaser. I thought that being nice to everyone would result in the most love and the least abandonment. Turns out to be the opposite case.
By wearing a mask, I isolate myself even more. Any approval is for the mask, but not for me. Whenever somebody doesn’t approve of me, I feel awful and bottle up my emotions. Social interactions are a frantic plate-spinning act.
I’ve worn the mask for so long that I refuse to give up. Just like that dweebish grandpa who still lives in his rickety ranch house and says no to the retirement home, even though he knows it’s better for him in the long run. Leaving that ranch house would be more like dying than dying itself.
Discontentment is required to reach the opposite side of fear and certainty. It doesn’t happen in one swoop either. But from my visits to the opposite side, I discovered a new message:
“Authentic you doesn’t need love from anyone else. Authentic you is overflowing with his own love. It’s okay to be you.”