Who Are You?
I read a lot in today's world about how people only ever present their best selves on social media, that we shouldn't be fooled by the presentation of the perfect life on Facebook or the every day smile on Instagram. I don't disagree with this but what does interest me is how we think this is any different to what we do in real life? Are we really the people that we present to the world?
What are you hiding?
Not just on social media, but in your workplace, when you are out with friends or even at home with your family?
Authenticity is not easy and there are a range of reasons why we find it difficult to present our real and true selves to people but these are what i believe to be the 3 most common reasons:
- Vulnerability - For most, allowing ourselves space to get vulnerable is not easy, especially in front of others. So we go out of our way to avoid this. We duck out of the activity that could help us in the long run through fear of how it will make us look. Or, if we do go ahead, we mask the true way it makes us feel. Brene Brown's YouTube talk on vulnerability is a game changer in this field.
- Acceptance - Our need to be 'part of', to be accepted by those that we respect, as well as others, means that we can get caught up in 'playing the part'. I feel like most of us, to varying degrees do this and it's not always an easy habit to break.
- Social Conditioning - This is perhaps the least obvious of the 3, but much like the other 2 is happening to us all on some level. I don't mean there's some big conspiracy, I just mean that its easy for some of our 'quirks' to take a back seat through concern of the 'social norm'. The environments we spend our time in have a heavy influence. Our social groups, our workplace and our family environments can steer us away from our most authentic selves.
So why does any of this matter?
Well, having spent a lot of my life running away and hiding from my true self, I have learned just how restricting it can be. The more we become entrapped in hiding our most real self, the less freedom we are able to create in our lives.
In simple terms, hiding takes time and energy, both of which we are usually looking to create more of in our lives.
Think of a time that you have had to keep a secret and then think of the time when you were finally able to let that secret out and you will recall the feeling of a weight being lifted.
Each time we hide another part of us we add to that weight and before we know it, we have lost sight of where the added weight has come from. We just feel weighed down, like life is heavy.
So, why not take a chance on presenting your most authentic self to the world? Look at the 3 points mentioned above again.
The need for acceptance
Challenge yourself on each 3:
Can you allow yourself a bit more vulnerability?
Can you begin to notice where your actions are fuelled by a need for acceptance.
What actions are you caught up in based on what society thinks you should be doing rather than your own true feelings?
Practice, become aware, seek change and you might just save yourself time and energy and more importantly, find a new sense of freedom!
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