I do it, you do it, we all do it. Putting on a different mask for every different role we play in life. I could say that we should never alter our behavior depending on the situation but that wouldn't be realistic or make any sense. We have a lot of pressures, as people, we are not one dimensional and we all wear many different hats. How we are in the bedroom will never be the same as how we are in the boardroom. The you that volunteers is not the same person that may go out for a wild night. We need all of these components to make us feel whole and we need them most of all to feel alive. The problem comes with the confusion we experience when we feel like we are all of these things. Responsible and organized, passionate and driven, relaxed and vulnerable, lazy and carefree even careless and wild.
Have you ever gone out with your friends and had a crazy night, cut loose and acted in ways that you may have when you were younger? In the moment you loved it, whatever it was, dancing, laughing having a drink or doing something you think only your younger self would have done. If you haven't had these experiences I bet you think about them. But what happens the morning after? If you are comfortable with your multi facets you may revel in an amazing night. Some of you may just chalk it up to a rare occurrence that is so far outside of you that you would rather file it away in your mind.
The truth is, that mentality is a type of self sabotage because almost every person wants and needs to express their multi dimensions. The problem is we take on some idea from society that being us and just being isn't okay so we feel guilty and we don't allow ourselves to be expressive and free. I am by no means saying to run off and abandoned your responsibilities, what I am saying, is, in order to be the complete version of ourselves we need to allow our entire being to feel joy and exist.
Perfect example, a guy meets a beautiful woman when he is out. He is drawn to her smile and energy but he is also drawn to her sexiness and sensuality, then, when he gets her, he now asks her to behave and dress differently which causes pain, confusion and many power struggles. The person he met was expressing a part of herself that is now being requested to change because he is afraid. She may well adapt to the request but unless she makes a modification by her own choosing there will forever be a part of her that feels like something she did or is, is wrong. If she is able to, she may have a conversation with him so she can be her true self.
What happens with all of us, is that we feel so afraid of being judged by our partners, society, bosses and friends that we alter who we are to be accepted. The tricky problem is that since it is not of our own doing it will never feel right. It can cause us to get further and further away from ourselves. We may wake up one day wondering how we got here and who we are. We were so worried about making others happy that we didn't allow our own light to shine through anymore and that can lead to a huge feeling of disconnect and disenchantment.
This is very similar in our work, we go in full throttle, bravely selling ourselves with gusto yet once we settle in we become afraid to rock to boat. We stop taking the initiative, stop speaking up, many times we become afraid to be a leader because we want to go with the flow. That may serve its purpose for a short period or in some cases years; The most scary reality is when it becomes a person's total life. They awaken one day with a wallet full of regrets that no one wants to cash in for them. The surest way to fulfillment and joy is to understand that whatever we are, we are that person in everything we do, we are simply using different tools in our tool chest for different jobs.
So how the heck do we remain true to ourselves in each situation we experience? Checking in with how you are feeling will give you the best indicator of how true you are being to yourself. Without being reckless or disrespectful ask yourself how you would function if you had no barriers or concerns about how you would be perceived. Listen to your body, when you are in alignment with your authentic self you feel the fullest and freest. If that feels like it has been a while, then think back to a time you felt the most vibrant in your life.
Our physiology offers us so many clues to what we need if we just listen. In what parts of your life do you not feel like you are being your authentic self? What are your biggest fears and worries? What would the benefits be for working through these blocks? What would the costs be if you don't? If you lived your life just as you were forever would you be able to say at the end of it that you lived your most fulfilled life? If you answered yes then you are on the right track, if you have room improvement like we all do, then think about what you would need to change now to get on the right track ? Take some time to think about and write out a list of answers. Then, review your list periodically to make adjustments and see how you are doing. This exercise can keep you motivated and focused on learning to be your true self. Use your list often and let yourself enjoy this life as you truly are.