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. When I was young, my father always described me as معقد, which is Arabic for “complex/complicated”. I never understood what he meant by that, nor did I ever think he was being serious about it (he always said it with a cheerful attitude).

    Around September of last year, during my first year of university, my introverted side quickly began to grow. It was amazing; during an extremely light-hearted conversation with my friend, full of laughs and giggles, if we touched on a deep topic for even a second, such as politics or scientific theories or concepts, I immediately show traits which are characteristic of an INFJ or INFP. Because probably my favorite thing ever is being able to talk about something with someone in very great detail, thus having a deep and insightful conversation.

    Now that I think about it, my father took notice of this when I was around 10-13 years old, since he always saw me as someone who loved books and didn’t like playing soccer at school. I never noticed it myself, despite me being insightful and always looking inside myself, as well as others.

  2. This is beautiful!

  3. I recognise this so much. The curse. But also the blessing.
    I had a partner who I scared away, and now I have one who isn’t scared.

  4. “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.”
    The best quote I’ve ever read.
    Btw, there’s never a problem for me to burn bridges between me and other people, therefore I don’t match their scheme. I bear the solitude very cheerfully. And because of that I am considered strange, abnormal and anti-social.

  5. Beautifully written. Completely understood. Thank you.

  6. Wow! So beautiful and spot on.

  7. Introverts – other people gets scared/worried around us. They will get upset because we’re too “weird”.

    Extroverts – used as a tool by society to get people more comfortable/happy. Perfect ingredient at a party.

  8. I was waiting for someone to write about this! Thanks Michaela! It couldn’t have appeared at a better time! Well, this is a surprisingly new act for me, but I have recently made a promise to myself to be 100% me, no matter what. For a long time I didn’t really know what that meant or how to go about it. I’m gradually getting tired of being shadowy around people and would prefer to speak my mind without shame or worrying about what other people think of it. My desire to connect genuinely is now much stronger than my desire to be liked by everyone. (I am very much an introvert and often deal with shyness unless the conversation resonates with me). So anyway, I took a leap in seeing someone new with every intention of being as boldly my own person as I pleased. In the short time together, we bonded over an unthinkable amount of subjects and had a hell of a time right off the bat. I have to admit, it was a bit mind-boggling when everything disappeared within a month, as if it never happened. Cold turkey, with no explanation. He chose to disappear and I let him. Without a doubt we both had fun – and its a shame that he couldn’t value the experience as a process and kept an open mind. But in the end, I don’t regret not holding back my thoughts as I felt them, and I feel stronger than I did before. I suppose that in doing this, one can “weed out” the garden and cultivate those who aren’t afraid to reach deeper with their mind and heart.
    Thanks again for the great resource on being an introvert. I also follow Space2Live!
    Some highly recommended reading for anyone and everyone- this is one of the best books I’ve come across, hands down.
    You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero

  9. Cow-a-Bunga.

  10. But if I keep pushing people away up to the point that I don’t really have a best friend, soulmate or whatever you want to call it, should I seek for help or something? I know people, a lot of them, I have friends whom I can meet once in a while just to catch up, but they are not the people I can give 100% of the stuff I wanted to talk about to, and I want to give 100% of stuff I want to talk about to at least someone.

    I feel like it’s a wasting of time to talk about something I interest the most to these people who although they may not mind hearing it from me but I know they will forget as soon as we say our goodbyes that day. This is pretty much the reason why I keep pushing people away, I guess.

    Now that I really think about it, I’m really kinda longing to have this someone I can pour anything I want to share without the feeling of “wasting my or their time”. I’ve been single for so long, too long actually, maybe that’s why? As I get older, I get this feeling of looking for a life partner?

    Is it normal? Am i being too much?

    • It’s ok. I often feel an intense need to share specific inner thoughts and feelings with someone. Unfortunately I can’t always find the right time or social initiative to do so especially with three children wanting and needing attention!
      The thing is I do have a few close friends who I catch up with infrequently but when we do we can talk deeply. I have found however that I will talk about different things to each friend to varying degrees and some I wouldn’t share some things at all depending on our commonality.
      I would not have a singular person who I would connect deeply with on every level I want to explore and at every time and occasion I would want to do so.
      Even with my husband who is also an introvert I have to pick my moments and topics. We do connect deeply but not always as frequently as I would like. Because of his health issues he also needs probably more inner time than than average introvert Im guessing.
      I’ve realized one single person cannot be everything to me but I can appreciate the points of connection with different people. One of the ways I show love to husband is to not expect him to be everything to me emotionally.
      I also am a Christian and pray to God about absolutely everything and anything which lightens me so I don’t have to vent as heavily to others about really intense feelings which I know a lot of people find uncomfortable especially early on in relationships.
      I try to assess points of deeper connection with new friends and stick to and explore those conversationally. Sometimes I start waffling about something I’m really exited about like my personal discovery of introversion and encounter some blank looks and vary nods and then have said to myself whoa honey Its time to let that subject go…
      Hope this helps…

      • This comment resonated with me. I feel mostly bored with people and their small talk and have felt sometimes as though I am too haughty or think too highly of myself, but the reality is that I don’t want to talk to some people about certain things, or go certain places with certain people.But then I haven’t found the people that I want to have my favourite conversations with or go my favourite places with and I sometimes feel lonely. I have very extroverted friends who sometimes ruin events for me because they are sooooo ‘loud’. As a result I have been spending less time with them, which is not ideal because then I do miss their camaraderie. I have also been single for an extremely long time and it makes me feel as though I am invisible. Being introverted, in this aspect, is hard and I am learning to accept myself slowly but surely and be strong in my personality, but I WANT the someones that I want to let in to be with me in my favourite places. ‘

  11. Thank you. This is just what I needed.
    And almost all of the comments are amazingly beautiful and weirdly I felt a connection to the people behind the screens. It’s funny how you can meet someone face to face and stil feel like you are from two completely different planets and here i lay reading this blog and comments and i instantly feel and know exactly every emotion and situation described.

    Well you know.. ones not used to that. So I’m amazed how much I feel you guys so deeply even though I don’t know any of you.

    • You’re welcome! Thanks for sharing your beautiful thoughts on this. I know exactly what you mean about the irony of feeling more connected to strangers on the Internet than some people you meet in real life. 🙂


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *