I need help, please

I’ve become recently aware that I am frustrated with playing small. I do it and then I feel resentment towards those I’m doing it around like it’s their fault.

With that in mind, I challenged myself to start “being me” more around others. If they like me, great. If not, I’d prefer to be happy about being myself than happy with their approval.

Perfect opportunity arose this morning. I was picking up a friend’s child to take care of her during her mom’s doctor appointment. Meeting outdoors, quick pickup. On the way there, I realized I didn’t have my mask, but my son’s was in the car and I also could have found one in the trunk if I wanted to (and potentially end up late).

Now, I am fully vaccinated AND we were meeting outdoors. I happily quickly realised my wanting to wear a mask would have been to make the other mom potentially more comfortable/ look like I’m doing “the right thing” (maybe). Realizing this, I decided it was perfect opportunity to do what was authentic to ME. Not wear the mask. Not make anything of it. Felt great about this self-challenge.

I arrived, met the mom and daughter, fumbled chit chat small talk (evidently compensating for friend’s health issue that I felt needed “happy talk” around), and then the very next thing, I hear myself feigning surprise and saying I was sorry I’d forgotten my mask in the car, but that I was vaccinated.

I mean, really??

Would love some insight and help, please. I exhaust myself around others. In thinking about how I’d like to act around others, I have the sense I’d judge myself no matter what. I think the true answer must lie in focusing more on them than on myself/what they’re thinking about me. But it’s definitely a major challenge. One that I think if resolved could have a positive effect on many areas in my life.