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How can I stop trying to be good and find the real me?

heart to heart The questioner's philosophy
Christian - brought up in a Christian family and I believe in god but more as a belief rather than because of anything read. I can't back up my thoughts with stories. I just believe religion is a good basis for morals.
The questioner's hopes and aspirations
To get married and have a family. To be able to have a job that allows me to provide and to be seen to provide for my family.
I believe I have had a very lucky upbringing. My parents always loved me and supported me in everything. They were always there and allowed me to strive for whatever I wanted. I always wanted to achieve and to impress them and through sports I believe I did this. My father was well known in the community and was principal of the large school which I went to. I always was secretly proud of this but was conscious that anything that I did might reflect back on him. I was always a "good" boy and did the right thing.

I have only recently realized that this need to be a good boy has made me put too much pressure on myself and I always now seem to be scared of failing and thinking something will come and ruin my "perfect life." I have recently broken up with my partner after 6 years. She was/is my best friend but I still pulled away and I don't know why, apart from I think I haven't ever lived yet, by not rebelling when I was younger. I am also scared that if I commit I will never know the real me. Because of my need to be a good boy I fear I will spend the rest of my life trying to make her happy and I will end up neglecting myself. I love my ex girlfriend and want to help and protect her, but I am not sure if I have the lust or emotive feelings, or if I am just trying to have the feeling of gratification and of being wanted that I always had as a boy.

I guess my question is how do I release this constant pressure on myself and how do I find the real me and learn to know my feelings? I'm not sure if I have posed a real question but I would appreciate your thoughts.

Wallace's reply
Wallace It is very important that before we make the decision to marry that we know ourselves. Many people marry before they know themselves and, as a result, establish a relationship with their partner that reflects the type of relationship they had with their parents - resulting in a life of unfulfilled potential, containing the seeds for possible divorce.

Sometimes we need to ignore our fears because they are ephemeral and sometimes we need to listen to them because they offer a genuine warning that we are taking the wrong path. In your case I feel that you are discerning correctly and that your inner guidance is warning you, through these feelings of anxiety, that you are not yet ready to make a life long commitment in marriage.

I suggest you do the opposite - why not go out and get some life experience. Reach beyond your comfort zone. Break out of your "perfect life." Have fun! Travel, try different jobs, take up new hobbies and generally spread your wings. By engaging in new experiences and new challenges you will discover who you are. You will gradually mature and then you will be ready to meet the woman of your dreams, marry without feelings of anxiety, settle down and provide for a family.

If you agree with the sentiments in my reply and choose to spread your wings instead of settle down, then I suggest you discuss your new found aspirations with your ex-girlfriend/best friend so that she will understand your change of heart. Speak to her in the same way you wrote to me and discuss your feelings in some depth. By doing this you will have made the issues clear, brought your old relationship to a close and allowed both of you to move on to new horizons. By closing your existing relationship in this way you will be taking the pressure off yourself, and getting to know the real you through discerning and trusting your inner guidance.

Further Help and Resources
If you would like to learn more about discerning inner guidance and discover how it can guide you in relationships and in helping you find your true self, I suggest you order my book Unfold Your Wings and Watch Life Take Off. Also take a look at our Quick Coach articles on Being true to yourself.

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