All people present a persona when they interact with the world. Personas are the characters we portray to others as our identity. You have heard of using your “phone voice” while at work, or having to be “on” when referring to socializing at a party or gathering. We behave a certain way when talking to our boss; another way when we are on a first date; another when talking to our parents; and still another when talking to our friends. We use different personas for different occasions, and while some personas are actually necessary and can be very useful, at times we unfortunately resort to a persona that is born out of insecurity or fear. We create personas that are worn like masks that we can wear when we are worried about impressing others, when we don’t want to disappoint someone, or when we want to fit in.
Built out of what we believe to be expected of us by our parents, friends, teachers, society, or constructed to protect ourselves as a defense mechanism, our personas are a product of our thoughts and beliefs. When we spend too much time worrying about what others think of us, we lose ourselves in the personas we create, and we can even lose sight of our inner truth. In the spirit of winning friends, impressing people, going with the flow, or not rocking the boat, we call forth a persona we can wear as a mask that portrays what we think will be the most appealing. When we are feeling insecure we try to mold to what we believe is expected of us in a given situation. We do this to soothe our fear of not being liked, of looking weak, or to avoid feeling different. Sometimes in an attempt to protect our self-esteem, we even put on a façade for ourselves and lose ourselves in the mask we have decided to wear for others. We want to fit the mold or ideal that we have determined is the appropriate or acceptable role for us to play. We may behave arrogantly to hide our insecurities, put down others to elevate our self-worth, or behave in other ways that act as false cures for our damaged psyches.
We can choose to think however we want to, we can decide what is important to us and what is not, and when we want to, we can change our minds! We can literally be anything we decide to be; what a wonderful skill we have! And isn’t what we believe for ourselves more important than what others want to believe for us anyway? When you are at peace with every aspect of yourself, the good and the bad, you can freely present your authentic persona. By accepting who we are, appreciating others for who they are, knowing that everyone has their own unique truth in this world, and by recognizing that we cannot please others people by being someone we are not, we can get touch with our authentic self.
People are either going to like us or they are not, and I think it is safe to say that we would all rather have someone like us for our authentic self than be in love with our mask. In truth, it doesn’t even matter what someone else thinks about us. The sun will still rise tomorrow…no matter what they think!