This very common, not so simple, but thoughtful question sprung up recently when I had to share a professional pitch in a group. It’s funny how in order to answer this before now, I would search for catchy words that I thought would make me sound interesting, or rather that attributes intelligence especially when it has to do with a job. I didn’t realize that I was selling a different person I wasn’t even sure I knew, until I intentionally stripped myself of whatsoever expectations, threw the question at me, with an intent to respond sincerely for me, could I come up with an honest answer.
I have come to realize how easy it is to gradually build up an un-matching profile separate from who were truly are, because that falsehood we create befits societal standards of who we should be. Especially in this era of social media where our sense of worth is sort of measured by likes, comments and numbers; I say we’re only opening up to surface validation. And what’s worse is that to a large extent we pressure ourselves into performing for a group of strangers.
The danger with keeping up with an image of what the world wants to mould us into is that at some point, we loose our essence of being. After a whole effort put to pleasing, and changing and remolding the expected version of ourselves, we gradually begin to dislike that person because every opinion trolled at that image will prick hard. And the reason is because not only is self-love diminishing but there will always be a clash between the expected version of ourselves and the real us, as both cannot exist as one.
So instead of asking myself just that one question, here are some of the others that follow and I hope you will do same too. Who are you when the curtains are drawn and you’re alone sitting in the silence of your thoughts? Who are you when the world’s eyes are shut and no one is watching, or liking or commenting? Are you still performing or falling in love with the presence of that person?