To be yourself or to fit in, that is the question. Be yourself off course, you might think - unfortunately it’s not always that easy and here is why:
As humans we have two main social needs: the need to belong and the need to express ourselves authentically. These two needs are often in conflict with each other when we grow up, but as children one has a higher rank than the other.
For a child belonging is more important for their survival, because a child can in fact not survive without its caretakers. A child needs their caretakers to want to take care of them and will do whatever it can to make sure they do.
Therefore the child adapts to protect itself when notices that it’s natural expression results in the caretaker either getting angry or pulling away.
A child will almost always choose belonging over authenticity, to avoid potentially loosing their source of survival. To avoid punishment or disconnection by their caretakers, they will suppress their expression and adapt their behaviour.
This suppressed expression is stored in the body as trauma, which can get triggered in similar situations later in life. The nervous system activates the strategy to avoid the certain expression as soon as it is triggered, remembering it as dangerous to express.
This inner priority actually shifts as adults: now it’s more vital to be authentic than belong, because we’re not dependant on others taking care of us to survive anymore. But since most of us have developed a lot of strategies to avoid certain aspects of our authentic expression, we will continue to adapt our behaviour and choose belonging over authenticity anyway.
The good thing here is that it is never to late to release this suppressed expression from the body & nervous system and to relearn our strategies to avoid it. We can do that by consciously giving ourselves new experiences by taking small steps to welcome and express ourselves in a connection we feel safe in. When we get a new experience of this expression not leading to disconnection or punishment, the trauma starts to release from our system piece by piece.
This is what we practice together in our connection circles, through embodiment practices, conscious communication tools and heart opening sharing -> you find all upcoming events on my website.
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