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I’m Done Trying to Shrink Myself to Please You

Losing yourself in a relationship can happen both literally and figuratively. If you’ve felt this way, the following stream-of-consciousness work may resonate with you.

My entire life I’ve always felt bigger than most, especially since I’m a 5’10” female.

Growing up I was always jealous of my friends with petite bodies and natural thigh gaps. I selfishly always wondered why I couldn’t have been blessed in that way.

I’ve always tried to shrink down, to change myself, to appear smaller and hide in the back of photos to try to cover myself. I always tried to be less than I was because I always feared being too much.

One night, I was talking to my male friend at a bar in our hometown. He’s noticeably shorter than I am and I tried to slouch, to bend down, to be ashamed that I am taller, and bigger, than he is. It made me feel extremely uncomfortable.

This is not a new insecurity — it’s a feeling I’ve felt so many times but it’s a feeling that doesn’t get easier.

As I started trying to squeeze and slide through people at the bar on my way back to my friends, I realized that I had to stop feeling this way as others were bumping into me without any disregard or apology. I realized then that just like them I’m allowed to take up space. I realized that I might be tall, but that doesn’t make me any less of a woman, or person for that matter. It doesn’t matter that my thighs touch or that my stomach is a little round. None of that matters because I’m enough the way I am. I only feel lesser when I start comparing myself to other people.

Comparison is the killer — the reason I feel less and my insecurities arise.

I always tried to shrink down not only to please myself, but other people.

I tried to make other people more comfortable than myself, and I knew that had to change. Something had to give.

I realized I’m allowed to take up space, just like you are. I’m allowed to be exactly who I am with or without other people’s approval because as long as I’m enough for me that’s got to be enough. I’ve always given to others, even when I didn’t have much to give. I’ve always talked my friends up while looking down on myself. I’ve always been my own worst enemy. That night in the bar when I was getting elbowed trying to gently squeeze past people who didn’t even care to acknowledge that they were bumping into me. I finally realized I don’t deserve to treat myself that way anymore. I deserve to love myself, be proud of myself and take care of myself.

Trying to hide who I am to make other people feel more comfortable makes no sense.

I’ve done things like change my personality, pretend I don’t feel passionate about certain topics, try to quiet who I really am because I don’t want to appear too much. But through that it made me realize that I am exactly who I am and I can’t change that, nor do I want to.

I’m not going to be for everyone, it’s not possible — just like everyone isn’t for me.

There will be people who don’t like me, people who will think I’m too much or too little, people who will judge me before they know me, and that’s okay. I’m no longer worried about being enough for everyone else, as long as I’m enough for myself.

I don’t need to attract everyone; I just need to attract the right people who love me for me.

Never again will I try to shrink down parts of me to please someone else because I’m done being afraid to take up space. I’m allowed to take up space. I’m allowed to express myself. I’m no longer afraid to be “too much” or “too little” for anyone, as long as I’m enough for myself.

If you resonated with this story of losing yourself in a relationship, listen to this incredible spoken word poem on the same theme by writer Lily Myers:

There are many ways you can be losing yourself in a relationship. Check out this article about the intersection of weight loss and love for another perspective.