For most of us, as we go about our lives, the persona or face we present to people changes depending on the situation and the people that are interacting with us. We show more or less of our real self in relation to how comfortable we feel.
At work, you may show one side of yourself, but at home more aspects are exposed. Parts of you come out more with one friend than another one. We act and interact differently with our family than we do with acquaintances. I’m starting to understand and believe that this may cause struggles in our lives that are more subtle than we’ve previously thought.
Slowly but surely, over a long period of time, we begin to feel less comfortable expressing our true self in any given situation. The small choices we make in this area can mean that we unconsciously begin to act to please others more than ourselves. As we spiral down this path, our self esteem suffers, our self confidence decreases and we depend on others to maintain our level of happiness. Fear of judgment could also develop as we become more uncomfortable showing our true selves.
I’m starting to examine how and what parts of myself I show to others. And more importantly, I’m looking at what parts I’m hiding from the people I interact with on a regular basis compared to others I just meet. Here are the list of actions I’m taking and questions I’m asking to understand what part of me is hiding at any given moment:
- Make of list of your closest friends. Write down what parts of yourself that you hide from each of them.
- Write down the reasons why you hide that particular part of yourself from each of your friends.
- Do you see any patterns?
- Pick a couple of friends and a couple of parts that you hide and begin to show that side of yourself to them.
- How do they react? Does anything change with the relationship? Do you feel that you are being judged or criticized?
After you’ve become comfortable with my technique, I would suggest going through this list with work associates, acquaintances and people you have never met. My goal is be myself no matter what the situation is or whom I meet. I don’t want to feel like I have to hide anything. I owe that to myself.