Who Are You?

Nov 30, 2006 by

Are you a different person at home, at work, at church, or elsewhere?  Does your personality change with the situation and group of people you are with?

These questions were posed to me last night and I have been pondering them.

What if we were the same regardless of where we were and who we were with?  What if we were always our “authentic” self?

I can look back over the last few years and see that I was NOT my authentic self in most situations.  I was a totally different person at work than I was at home, and a different person at Church all together.  However, with the personal work I have been doing I can say that things are better.  Not perfect.  But better.

There are certain people with whom I can be my real self.  These are few.  But they know who they are.  They are those who understand my story, my woo, my spirituality, my commitment to things that I have embraced in the past and those I am embracing now.  These are the people with whom I can share my deepest thoughts and fears and confusions, without worry that they will think I’ve freaked out or that they might freak out at me!  To those of you who are in this place in my life: I love you.  Thank you for being a safe place for me.

So, is it because I worship the “God of What Will People Think”? that prevents me from being authentic in all situations?  Perhaps.  I do feel a certain responsibility to not disturb others.  Bottom line: I don’t want those I love to think I am in distress or in a state of confusion.  So, I don’t go into the gory details of my life, my thoughts, my beliefs with everyone.

Why be utterly authentic?  Well, it takes a whole lot less energy to just be yourself than to always be wondering what you can say to whom.  And also, people feel safer around you because you are always you.  Not some ever-changing version of yourself.

So, I pose these questions to you:  Who are you?  How does your authentic self differ from the personas you wear in various situations?  Why do you feel you need to be a chameleon? What are the fears that hold you back?  Would you indeed be happier if you were always the same person.

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  1. Good post. Very thought provoking. I am different, in different situations. Some people can’t handle A Payne all the time. I turn up the Payne when I need to and turn it down if necessary.

    I would like to care a little less what others think of me. A couple things I replay in my head are…

    “It’s not my business what others think of me.”
    “If only you knew how little people thought of you.”
    Not little people and not that they think you are little, but how infrequently you are in other’s thoughts.

  2. John

    Love the new look of the blog!

    I think I’m the same person no matter who I am with. Sometimes I’m less “verbose”, but very much the same person everywhere. There is certainly a time and a place for you to be you outloud and a time for you to be you but no so loud. Obviously I’m not going to do my Ozzy impression in the middle of Sacrament meeting (though I have thought of my impression of Ozzy during church and laughed to myself for 10 minutes. You should have seen the red face!! It’s a good thing it didn’t happen during the crying lady bearing her testimony)…but nevermind… :)

  3. I think there are times I feel less true to myself than others. I think I’m better than I was about that-I’m thinking that is part of that maturation process?
    There are some places I censor myself more than others but it’s less about what they will think about me, and more about what is situationally appropriate, or what the level of intimacy is (emotional, not necessarily sexual). I don’t need to tell the grocery clerk I am annoyed with my work, or that I have horrible cramps.
    I think we belong to a Church that has a strong dogma/orthodox culture, if you know what I mean. I think if you get up and bear your testimony about the ‘woo’ there are going to be people who think you’re on the verge of apostate-ing yourself, but there are others who are going to come up to you later and say Gee-I thought I was the only person on the planet who saw things from that perspective.

  4. This is giving me a lot to think about. It’s true, I think, as we get older many prefer to just be ourselves and quit the facade. I’m finding that, anyway. :-)

  5. PS- I like the new wintry cool cats look (although it is kinda scary to see Santa holding a kitty head)!

  6. Cool new look, except I am not a cat person and the cats creep me out.

    Good thought-provoking questions. I am pretty much a “what-you-see-is-what-you-get” kind of person, except for the fact that the real me would probably swear just a little bit more if it didn’t offend my husband so much.

    No valiant reasons for being true to myself. I’m just lazy. You are exactly right–it takes way too much energy to be someone else and to keep track of who you are supposed to be at any given moment and especially to figure who to be if your different worlds ever intersect.

  7. glo

    I want to be more integrated.

    After 12 hours of thinking about this post – that’s what I came up with….

    Seriously, I think it’s difficult to be true in our culture – and I think that has nothing to do with the church. We are bombarded with images of “acceptable” – and when you have internal conflict that who you are doesn’t match those “images” – we naturally seek to comply. I think it’s human nature. And I hope we all outgrow that as we age through experience with a world and recognition that uniqueness may not hold value but is a fact of life.

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