Once upon a time, everything everyone said to me meant that I needed to change me… Some could say that was because I CHOSE to be victim to everything and everyone around me, I CHOSE to have no voice or no say, or I CHOSE to rely on others to decide my fate. Some could say it was because I was uber co-dependent and couldn’t think for myself. Some could say that this behavior happened because I CHOSE to always be wrong. Some could say that because I was willing to change me for everyone else, that meant *I* was wishy-washy, didn’t know myself, and didn’t love myself.
People could, would, and did say all that to me. However, I have a different understanding. Let me provide you some examples from my own life as case in point…
“You have become comfortable in your fat, Angie. It’s like you sit there and are just happy being that fat.” This meant that I needed to start counting calories, working my ass off, and being overly aware of and suddenly uncomfortable in my body because me being content with my body wasn’t okay for that person because *my body* offended them. Therefore, because that person was uncomfortable with my appearance, it meant that *I* needed to change so *they* could be comfortable.
“You always wear those same cotton fabric pants, Angie. You never wear jeans. You should wear jeans.” This meant that, because that person was uncomfortable with my fashion choices, I needed to go shopping and buy jeans – which I have *never* liked wearing, even when I was younger and a size four. Therefore, because that person was uncomfortable, *I* needed to go into debt to wear clothes I didn’t like so *they* could be comfortable.
“You laugh too loud, ask too many questions, and wiggle too much, Angie.” This meant I needed to figure out how to laugh quietly – AND drop all my friends who also laughed loudly so I wasn’t influenced by them – stop asking questions, and hold as still as I could. Because those people were uncomfortable with how I behaved in general, *I* needed to conform to all of their points of view so *they* could be comfortable.
“Angie, you love too much, feel too much, care too much, and do so for too long.” This meant that my innate ability to love without condition and without end made the other person uncomfortable. Because of their discomfort, I had to figure out how to either stop loving, stop feeling, and stop caring -or- how to live without letting on that I was still loving, still feeling, and still caring so that *they* could feel comfortable living.
As an Empath with a global reach, I can *feel* what other people are feeling/thinking and when others are uncomfortable, it is magnified exponentially within me. I will do WHATEVER it takes to support that person in being comfortable so that *I* can be at peace. And in my earlier years, this meant changing me to match whomever I was with at a very rapid rate, almost instantaneous. I call it The Chameleon Effect.
I am a genius at it.
Every Sensitive I have encountered during the course of the last 15 years as I have been doing the work I do, has been able to relate to this energy of conforming to others, have professed to having some sort of Chameleon ability themselves. This does not mean that all Sensitives are Chameleons, but I am willing to bet that the vast majority of them are.
As I have come to understand what is mine and what is everyone else’s, I have also come to understand that when someone is uncomfortable with me, for whatever reason, it is THEIR issue to change, not mine. Granted, it is beneficial for me to look at what they are bothered by – especially if their being bothered by me bothers me (ye-eaaaah… wrap your head around that one!) – but, I can only be accountable for and responsible to change myself for myself. Truly, no amount of me changing me to make others happy/comfortable actually works. That is the catch of The Chameleon Effect. While I am changing to match others, it does not guarantee that I am going to fit in! Nor does it guarantee that the change I make will match their expectations of me.
Because of the side effects of being the Chameleon, I began to look at how it was serving me. I began to wonder if it was a gift to myself or if it had become a burden. In my earlier years, the Chameleon Act was to keep myself safe, to keep myself sheltered, to keep myself fed. If I Chameleoned myself to match my environment, then all was well. But that ongoing shifting of myself to conform to everyone else’s needs grew exhausting. Therefore, for me, the Chameleon had become more of a liability than an asset.
Being a Chameleon can be painful because it requires us to continually adjust to other’s judgment. It is an externally focused program that demands we be aware of everyone else first. Because of the intensity of the external focus, eventually we can begin to feel isolated, lost, and so very sad. All of our energy is outside of us, focused on everyone around us, in an attempt to appease them. Therefore, all of our life force is outside of us too. Additionally, and this is the point I want to stress… The Chameleon Effect requires others to show up as judge and jury in front of us. It requires others to continually pass judgment on us, sentence us according to their own beliefs, and then expect us to conform to that standard. When we teach others that we will Chameleon ourselves for them, they use it! And while a Chameleon is able to transform themselves forever until they die, doing so can bring death more quickly. It is a waste of energy and a distraction from all the magical, miraculous things that that Sensitive could be doing instead!
I had never really paid close attention to the side effects of The Chameleon Effect until I nearly crashed my entire system a couple months ago in this last go around with my own personal Chameleon. While I can still be The Chameleon – and I do it in session so that I can speak to my client in a way they will hear – I no longer choose to Chameleon myself for any reason. It used to be a moment-to-moment occurrence for me, an automatic response. Now, it is done purely by choice. That is part of the reason why my painful experience a few months ago – where I CHOSE to allow abusive behavior in the name of love – threw me so far off track. It had been so long since I had done that sort of thing that, when I realized I had Chameleoned into a form that I couldn’t recognize myself, I was stunned.
Today, as I walked to and from the coffee shop near my work, I realized how happy I feel, generally and most of the time. I was curious about that, as I had this jovial exchange mid-crosswalk as I passed by another woman in the crosswalk. We didn’t stop, we just chatted amicably as we passed, both of us chuckling as we went on our way. And I thought about that… wondering… what has changed in my life that I am so happy these days?
And suddenly, there, as I neared the other side of the crosswalk, it hit me. I have learned to employ my Chameleon at will ! It is no longer an autoresponder system. I no longer allow other’s judgments of me to run rampant in my world, changing my form, my behaviors, my very beingness for them. I got tired of feeling people look at me, sentence me, and then tell me that they knew best for me, now be it, Angie! I got tired of the self-righteous people who judged me as wrong, toxic, or combative when I stood up for myself and spoke out, saying it wasn’t okay to be treated as they had treated me. And, most importantly, I grew very, very complete with anyone who told me their way to live, their way to love, their way to believe, or their way to worship was the only way to do those things.
No! It isn’t okay for anyone to put their shit on me. And it is definitely not okay anymore for me to put their shit on me myself. The day I woke up a few months ago, unable to move because I was suffocating under the most monstrous Shit Suit™ which I had unconsciously built all by my Chameleoned self, I realized that if I continue to allow my Chameleon abilities to run by the dictations of others through their words, feelings, actions, and beliefs, I am going to die and it’s going to happen soon. The exhaustive effects of a Chameleon who is being run about by the whims of others is catastrophic. And while that sounds dramatic for those who may not understand what it means to be an unhealthy Chameleon, ask anyone who relates to this post about just how much, exactly, they want to give up and leave this planet. It is too much to carry the weight of anyone else’s judgments and that is what all Chameleons must do. They must carry the weight of those who judge them. Until the Chameleon CHOOSES to honor themselves first and CHOOSES to not change themselves in order to appease another.
So, now… these days I choose when to transform, when to match, when to not match, and to what or whom I match. This shift in my consciousness, by bringing my awareness of my Chameleon self to the surface and seeing all the magic that she is – that I am – has opened me up to a space of gentleness and peacefulness and happiness that I didn’t even know was possible.
We are powerful creators, us Sensitives. We have abilities that confound and confuse some people, inspire and awaken other people, surprise and awe others. And that is what makes us so fucking cool. I am here to tell you, my Dear Sensitives, your abilities are profoundly beautiful and it is time – NOW! – to stop camouflaging yourselves and to allow your audaciousness to burst forth and change this world. My fellow Chameleons, I call you out and ask you to join with me in courageously coming out into the world, among these humans, and refusing to ever again conform to anyone else’s words, actions, feelings, or beliefs so that we can do the work we are here to do!