Have you ever heard the phrase “like a chameleon”? It often carries a positive connotation, symbolizing adaptability and flexibility.

For a long time, I believed that being a chameleon in my interactions was a good thing. I thought it meant I was considerate and in tune with others’ emotions.

Little did I realize that while adapting like a chameleon, I was losing a crucial part of myself and absorbing emotions like a sponge. It wasn’t until I embarked on a journey of self-discovery that I uncovered the concept of emotional adulthood.

The Chameleon’s Mask

Growing up, I was never explicitly taught that my emotions were well placed or adequate. My mother struggled with mental illness, and my father, seeking stability, often suggested that emotions were best kept under wraps.

As a sensitive individual, I was frequently judged as being “too emotional,” and the advice I received was to shut it off. It was a challenge that many of us face – how to navigate the intricate labyrinth of emotions while also conforming to societal norms.

In response, I decided to observe others around me. I began to emulate their behaviours, adapting my responses to fit the emotional environment, just like a chameleon altering its colours to blend in seamlessly.

This coping mechanism seemed like a necessity, a survival strategy to fit into a world that favoured stoicism over sensitivity. The mask of adaptation became my armour, but it came at the cost of my authentic emotional expression.

Awakening to Emotional Adulthood

My journey toward emotional adulthood began with the realization that the chameleon-like adaptation was keeping me disconnected from my own emotions. As I started delving into thought work and studying coaching psychology, I uncovered a deeper truth. The ability to empathize and connect with others doesn’t require sacrificing my emotional authenticity. It’s not about camouflaging my feelings to suit others’ expectations.

Emotional adulthood, I learned, means acknowledging that our feelings are valid and unique to us, separate from the emotional landscape around us. It’s embracing our emotions without judgment or the need to change them to align with someone else’s experience. It’s choosing to take responsibility for our reactions and responses.

Reclaiming My Emotional Landscape

One pivotal moment in my journey was recognizing that adapting like a chameleon was not a true reflection of my emotions. I had a day when I felt a sense of unease and restlessness, and I traced it back to my past.

I realized that I had internalized the belief that showing emotions made me vulnerable and exposed me to judgment. This insight was a turning point that allowed me to challenge these inherited norms.

I learned to unmask my emotions and hold them without judgment. I started asking myself questions like: How do I genuinely feel about this situation? Am I allowing myself to fully experience my emotions? It was liberating to see that emotional adulthood doesn’t require suppressing my feelings; it means embracing them while also nurturing my own well-being.

In a world that often values conformity over authenticity, embracing emotional adulthood almost becomes a “revolutionary” act of self-love.

Let’s shed the chameleon’s cloak and step into the light of our true emotions. You can take back your power to craft a life that aligns with your values and aspirations. Contact me for a discovery coaching session on emotional intelligence and leadership 😊

Sincerely yours,

Dr Sophie