How to overcome your need to fit in

Your real friends will appreciate you for you — quirks and all.

The question: I feel like I’m never myself in social situations. It is almost like I’m a chameleon and I just try to blend in with everyone else. I’m not sure exactly why I’m like this. Do you have any insight into this and tips?

My guess is that you get anxious in social situations because you fear how people might respond. Perhaps you’re afraid of rejection or judgment and you adapt by trying to be like others. Though it may make sense on one level, you’re missing out on being you, while others miss out on seeing who you truly are. Follow this exercise taken from my book, “BE FEARLESS: Change Your Life in 28 Days.”

1. Before you can be yourself you must know who you are: for example, what you stand for and what makes you tick. Know where you come from and where you’re going. How would you describe yourself if someone asked? Be able to give such a description with ease and confidence. Make a list of your convictions, beliefs, passions, values and strengths.

2. Understand the role that hiding behind a mask plays in your life. Are you shy, anxious or unsure? Do you feel inadequate? Or perhaps you are afraid to shine or dislike attention. If so, seek help to address any underlying issues.

3. Practice expressing yourself by writing out your thoughts and feelings, including how you feel about yourself, situations you might experience on a daily basis and people you might encounter during the day. Learn to express yourself clearly.

4. Don’t care so much about how others perceive you. The more you do, the more you are trying to fulfill their expectations and not your own.   

5. Do away with social comparisons. They only lead to resentment and move you away from being who you truly are.

6. Finally, practice opening up to people you trust by starting a conversation, talking about your day and how you feel. Be honest and forthright when expressing yourself.

- Jonathan Alpert is a licensed psychotherapist. His new book, “BE FEARLESS: Change Your Life
in 28 Days,” is available at major booksellers and Amazon. Follow him online at www.jonathanalpert.com, on Facebook (www.facebook.com/jonathanalpert) and on Twitter @jonathanalpert.  

Metro does not endorse the opinions of the author, or any opinions expressed on its pages.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

California passes 'yes-means-yes' campus sexual assault bill

Californian lawmakers passed a law on Thursday requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on…

National

Syrian refugees top 3 million, half of all…

By Stephanie NebehayGENEVA (Reuters) - Three million Syrian refugees will have registered in neighboring countries as of Friday, but many remain trapped by the advance…

International

North Korean leader's money manager defects in Russia:…

A senior North Korean banking official who managed money for leader Kim Jong Un has defected in Russia and was seeking asylum in a third country, a South Korean newspaper…

Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 29,…

The Department of Transportation and NYPD said there may be residual delays near all of the street closures on August 29, 31 and 31. Several streets and avenues will be…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

Movies

Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."

Entertainment

Comedian Joan Rivers, 81, rushed to New York…

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Acerbic comedian and fashion critic Joan Rivers was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Thursday after she reportedly…

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…