I heard this line on a podcast the other day: “If you find others draining, you’re being inauthentic.”
I had never heard it put this way before, but it immediately hit home for me. Even though this was a new-agey podcast that addressed the fact that some people are more sensitive than others, the host had experienced this to be true for herself in so many situations, and I would have to agree.
The idea is that with many people, we make assumptions based on how we perceive them, and those assumptions to shape how we feel we have to perform or show up in the situation. And even though it can be so difficult to do so, when we drop those behaviours and simply show up as ourselves, we aren’t left feeling exhausted and drained by being inauthentic and “on”.
I’m both introverted and highly sensitive to stimuli (HSP), so it’s rare that I don’t leave a social situation feeling drained. Almost always, I get home and need to cocoon alone for a while, even if I was only hanging out with people for a few hours. But this concept really struck a chord in me, because it feels like despite my biology and personality, I probably have more wiggle room than I think when it comes to preserving my energy around others.
So these days, I’m challenging myself to be as authentic as I can. Normally I dread small talk and meeting new people, but I’m aiming to just be myself as much as possible, and see if that helps. If I feel tired, I can excuse myself. If I need water, I can get some. If I don’t want to talk about something, I can change the subject. If I don’t feel animated, I don’t have to act animated.
I’m heading into a week of socializing (two of my friends are getting married and I’ll be spending a lot of time interacting with people I don’t know throughout the festivities) so I’m trying this idea on for size. To feel energized, be authentic. I’ll let you know how it goes.