Who. Are. You?
Have you ever looked back on your life and ever thought—who was that? Why did I act that way? Where was the real me because surely I never would have done or said that? …I have. On numerous occasions. For example, I can’t believe I ever considered myself a chola…this was way back in the day…in my early teens…Yes, I still cringe. I also cringe when I look back on my days as a party girl. The things party girl me wore were amazing! I mean, I had guts! On a good day, I looked lovely but, honestly, I remember not feeling all that comfortable. My friends were very complimentary, of course, as we all dressed alike hence it made me feel confident that I wasn’t making a fool of myself. I also presumed that I’d grow into my swanky outfits and that that feeling of discomfort would stop…but I didn’t. I was young, and I had a hard time voicing my opinion, luckily eventually it happened.
I think that we’ve all probably had moments of uncertainty about who we were or are; about whether or not we’re being real, and true to our values and beliefs. While it does happen—we look back, we question ourselves and cringing at the imposter that overtook our body. Truth is, we should embrace that individual and accept that that person really was the real us because, as Emily V. Gordon puts it, these are all real versions of us. We take on these personas in response to our environment given our state of mind at that point in time. As our environment changes, so does our persona and its okay because that’s part of being a living breathing being—as such, we adapt and evolve.
So, if we are able to move past our own different personas I think it’s okay to expect others to accept our evolution because this struggle is not unique to one person, we all experience this in one way or another. In turn, we should return the favor by being more accepting.
The question of whether someone is real or not has become evident to me since I’ve become more active online. I hear accusations of online personalities not being “real”, of being fake for the sake of increasing views or traffic, or whatever. Personally, I’ve never had such thoughts given that I truly believe that there is no such thing as being “fake”. The quote, “It’s what you do that defines you” comes to mind. Which I perceive to mean, that our actions are part of who we are.
I think that it is a well-accepted fact that we cannot be the same person at home with family as we are with our friends, or in our place of work. It is evident through our demeanor as well as through the way we dress. Sometimes when people from the various parts of our lives intersect they act surprised by our change in character. Think of the Meryl Streep in the Devil Wares Prada, at work she’s a beast but at home, she’s a sweet caring mother. (That’s what I think people might say about me… :) )
The idea that we need to embrace our different facets is reinforced by the innumerable amount of self-help books available. Many attempt to help you find stability between work and life; some help you find the go-getter in you. Some books are dedicated to the advancement of women in the corporate world and place an emphasis on being less “girly”. (Argh! By the way…I really dislike books that tell me to be less of a girl and that being a girl will be the thing that keeps me at the bottom of the totem pole. I refuse to accept that as there is a great deal of merit in being a “girl.”) Notably, I’ve read a few books in each category as I do see merit in them. Some have more relevance than others and Super You is certainly one of them. Having said all that, I still encounter too many incidents where accusations are being flung around like candy where someone proclaims that another person is not being “real”. And often times the accuser thinks they are doing that person a service by pointing it out because “it’s for their own good.” I disagree and, dare I say, so does Emily V. Gordon. She defines this as brutal honesty, a weapon used to hide behind. Being honest is great, and necessary, but you have to be tactful and considerate in your delivery. These are things many users of this weapon fail to apply, especially when online.
A personal story
Once upon a time a coworker overheard me cussing while working on an excel project, alone. He approached me and said that it was refreshing to see that I was “real” and that I wasn’t always a perky goody two shoes. (Really?) My response to him was that I couldn’t believe that he would say something like that and that I found it inappropriate. He then defended himself and said that because he was “real” he just had to say something and that he wasn’t trying to be mean. I then had to excuse myself from my own workstation as his hostility had made me uncomfortable. (Of course, he would never acknowledge his ill behavior.)
A few weeks later he apologized in person and noted that he acknowledged that he had been inappropriate. This revelation came to him after he was reported to Human Resources by another woman for sexual harassment. (Wish I’d had the guts to do the same as he had a way of being inappropriate, often.) I was quite relieved, following this interaction, as I felt quite uneasy while being in the same room with him prior to it. He still had the tendency of being inappropriate from time to time, but less towards me. It’s almost as if it were a part of his personality. Eventually, he was let go.
While my situation was remedied by his apology, to some degree, not everyone has the luxury of it stopping and much less of ever receiving an apology.
In conclusion, let’s work on not accusing each other of being fake. Let’s instead attempt to understand where we’re each coming from. We may be masking fear of rejection through inopportune laughter or overly enthusiastic presentations. or through an exceedingly solemn personality. We just can’t tell through a video, or tweet, what it’s like to be in that person’s shoes.
By the way, I’ve only touched the surface of realizations that Super You presented. I highly recommend picking up this book for yourself given that if I were to dive further into it, this post would be substantial (to say the least).
A few weeks ago I held an international giveaway for this book as I really feel strongly that it’s a book more people should pick up.
Congratulations to Tea (@deadlywendyhandly)!! I asked participants to share their superhero name and she chose The Procrastinating Papergirl, which I found quite delightful.
Hope you’ve enjoyed this post. Whether you agree with me or not, please let me know your point of view.
Have you ever been on the short end of the stick and been misjudged? I’m very sorry... Unfortunately, it probably won’t be the last time, but let’s try to learn from each situation and follow the Golden Rule—not do on to others what we don’t like having done onto ourselves.