Although someone is on this planet to express themselves, so that their life can be an expression of their true self, it doesn’t mean that they will feel comfortable doing this. Instead, what can feel comfortable is going along with what other people want.

Therefore, they are going to be physically separate from others but they will act as though they are an extension of them. As a result of this, their true self could typically be ignored and rarely see the light of day.

The Alternative

If ever they were to tune in their true self and ended up behaving in a way that was in alignment with who they are, they could soon end up feeling incredibly guilty. In addition to this, they could experience a fair amount of shame and doubt and feel unsupported.

This could cause them to believe that they are doing something wrong, which could make them change their behaviour. Part of them will want to express themselves but a bigger part of them won’t feel comfortable doing so.

The Same Old Story

Due to how uncomfortable they felt when they listened to themselves, it is to be expected that they will go back to how they were before. This will probably mean that they will experience a fair amount of frustration and anger, and they could often feel helpless, hopeless and depressed.

There could be moments when another person realises how fed up they are with living a life that doesn’t reflect who they are, yet this could be something that seldom takes place. The reason for this is that one could do their best to hide how they really feel.

A Natural Assessment

When they are in the company of those who appear to be living their own life and are full of joy, it could be hard for them to handle. Part of them, through identifying with them, could feel uplifted, but, another part of them could feel fed up and trapped. It could seem as though someone like this has something that they themselves don’t have.

Their ego-mind could conclude that someone like this is lucky, whilst they are unlucky. As opposed to embracing the life that they have been given, it will be as if they are stuck in an invisible box, with them having to play a few different roles.

Stepping Back

If they were to think about how long their life has been this way, they could find that they have more or less always been this way. Subsequently, one could believe that they were born this way and that there is very little that they can do.

They are, then, just different to others and they have to put up with what is going on for the rest of their life. Most likely, they are the way that they are due to what took place during their formative years.

Going Deeper

If doing what other people want is the only way for them to not only avoid feeling guilty, but to feel supported, prevent themselves from being overwhelmed with shame and filled with doubt, it can show that three key stages of their development didn’t go well. Each stage would have supported the next stage and allowed them to develop into a well-adjusted adult.

These stages were marked out by Erik Erikson, who was a German-American developmental psychologist and psychoanalyst. A human being is like a house, inasmuch as each stage needs to be completed in order for them to be strong and secure.

Weak Foundations

If a house doesn’t have good foundations, it won’t be long until it will fall down. In the same way, if someone doesn’t have strong foundations, they might not fall down but they won’t be able to make the most out of the life that they have been given.

Ultimately, as these three stages are unlikely to have gone very well, they won’t have a strong sense of themselves or feel secure. They are then going to look like an adult, but they won’t feel like powerful and capable.

Stage One

The first stage of their life, trust vs. mistrust, a stage that would have lasted about a year, should have been a time when their needs were met on a consistent basis. This would have allowed them to know, at the core of their being, that people are reliable, dependable and trustworthy.

As this didn’t take place, it would have set them up to associate other people as being unreliable, undependable and untrustworthy. The support that they needed would have rarely been provided and this may have stopped them from developing a sense of hope.
Stage Two

After this, they would have gone into the second stage of their development – autonomy vs. shame and doubt. But, without having successfully passed through the first sage, they probably wouldn’t have been ready.

This would have been a time when they felt the need to do things for themselves and to assert their will, but, most likely, they were not encouraged to do so. Consequently, this would have prevented them from developing courage, confidence and feeling secure in their ability to survive in the world.

Stage Three

By the time they got to the third stage of their development, initiative vs. guilt, they won’t have expected their needs to be met; they will have stayed in a dependent state, lacked self-esteem and doubted themselves. Thus, they wouldn’t have been in a position to start expressing themselves.

Whenever this did take place, they may have been punished in some way. At this stage, they would have learned that there is something inherently wrong with them having power and control over their environment and having their own purpose.


Many, many years will have passed since they were a small child but they will still be experiencing life in the same way. They might have a well-developed intellect and body, a job and even be married, yet beyond all this, will be an adult who is developmentally stunted.

The child, or children within them, will carry a lot of pain and this pain will need to be worked through. By getting in touch with the children inside them and allowing these parts to express themselves, they will be able to fill in the gaps and gradually move through these stages.


If one can relate to this and they are ready to change their life, they may need to reach out for external support. This is something that can be provided with the assistance of a therapist or healer.

Author's Bio: 

Author, transformational writer, teacher and consultant, Oliver JR Cooper, hails from England. His insightful commentary and analysis covers all aspects of human transformation, including love, partnership, self-love, self-worth, inner child and inner awareness. With over two thousand, seven hundred in-depth articles highlighting human psychology and behaviour, Oliver offers hope along with his sound advice.

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