I think I know myself pretty well.
But it’s not how I always present myself.
By the way, it isn’t just me.
It’s all of us.
We all have different personas we present to different people. That’s because there are many sides to all of us. And it’s not as bad as you might think.
Don’t you find yourself acting a little differently with some people than you do with others? We can still be a genuine person while responding to different people in different ways.
And, let’s face it, some people don’t give us much choice.
Here’s an example.
There’s this woman at a little church we attend when we are at our cabin. There is coffee time after the service and my husband and I sat at her table a few weeks ago. (By the way, we met some of our best friends that way.) I introduced myself to her and her husband. I tried to engage her in conversation. Not much happened.
Two weeks ago, I tried again. Again, she was unfriendly. She only responded to me when she couldn’t avoid it. Ask me if I tried a third time? (Do you really have to? However, if she were to approach me in the future, I would most certainly talk to her.) So that part of my personality that is friendly and seeks to connect with people, has had to be put on the back burner when I’m around her.
But back to our discussion.
When I attend a social function (which I don’t like, by the way), I present myself as confident and friendly. I “act as if” which is a really good coping skill in difficult situations.
“Acting as if” is also a great strategy for dealing with depression. Research has shown that when we act as if we’re not depressed, we find that our feelings quite often follow. Walking with our head up, smiling, all these are really good coping skills and they are examples of “acting as if”.
So it isn’t a bad thing to be act different with different people. The apostle Paul said in I Corinthians 9: 19-23 that he did the same thing. (Go here for a really good discussion by Pastor John Piper.)
But it’s important that there some people in our lives with whom we are completely ourselves. My husband is that person for me.
I was never as open with my mother as I would have liked to be. She wasn’t that open with me either and I wish so much now that I had known her better. I wish I’d asked more questions. Found out more about her hopes and dreams, her disappointments and heartaches. But she was a very private person.
A few days ago, I mentioned to a friend of many years, that I was very self-conscious in large groups of people. She said she had a hard time believing that.
I was floored. Had I honestly given her that idea?
I realized later that for a long time she had seen me practicing the “acting as if”principle not realizing that was what I was doing.. And, of course, over the years, all that practice has enabled me to actually feel more confident in large groups of people.
The truth is there are many versions of us. I mean, don’t you even surprise yourself sometimes?
And, of course, we are either encouraged or discouraged to be ourselves with others depending on how open or closed are those people we interact with. We are just naturally more ourselves with people who are themselves that way.
Can we agree, though, the best relationships are those where two people are very open with each other?
We might still keep certain parts of ourselves private, we might still surprise our friends with new revelations but the essence of who we are is consistent.
There is one caveat. If we are always putting on a front and always pretending we are someone different from who we are, that is a problem. “Acting as if” is only a coping mechanism that we deliberately engage in because we are trying to change a troublesome behavior that we feel we need to change. It is never used to fool anyone or take advantage of anyone.
So if you’ve been feeling somewhat disingenuous, because you are not always “yourself”, don’t. Part of being who we are is embracing the many sides to our personalities. It doesn’t make us fake unless, as stated earlier, our behavior is meant to harm anyone.
Hope you have a wonderful day, and God bless.
The post, “The many sides of our personalities. It’s all good.” appeared first on faithsighanddiy.com.