Real You

Grant Montgomery: The real you

“What people think of me” is a very powerful motivator. From high school through adulthood, it is still shaping us more than we like to admit. Do any of us go through one entire day being utterly true no matter how many different environments we move through? Do we even know the true me? Whether it is born of fear or longing or uncertainty or cunning or wickedness, it’s so natural for us to shape ourselves according to the moment, or the person we’re with, that we scarcely notice how much we do it.

Now, toss in the promise of reward – wealth, power, success, the admiration of others – and boy, oh boy, it is hard to be true to our self. But only when we have taken an honest look inside ourselves, and seen what really fuels the things we do, will we appreciate how utterly remarkable and desirable it is to be true to ourselves and others.

Most of us have never become comfortable in our own skins. And at this point of our lives, we probably think the mask we wear, and are now so used to wearing, is real.

We come into the world as babies feeling connected to our mother and father. As we gain identity, we realize we’re separate from others, but we instinctively know we have this need to belong. Most of us experience conditional love in our families, gaining approval only when we do what our parents expect. This is where we learn to deny our feelings and create personas, so as to avoid the possibility of the abandonment we fear.

In order to win the love of our parents, we create masks or personas to please them. Our fear of reaction takes precedence over our need to be ourselves. As we grow up, we become an actor, playing a role under this persona, because we fear that if we don’t meet our parents’ expectations –and later that of our peer groups, spouse or significant other– we will be rejected emotionally.

Once we have created a persona, we then continue this journey of wanting all the important people in our lives to like us. Our fear of reaction takes precedence over our need to be ourselves.

But all the while what makes us real as persons is when we are in touch with our feelings. Think for a moment of a friend, a non-family member, who you feel close to. What is about them that makes you feel close to them? That you can be yourself around them?

We only get closer to others when they open up and share something personal about themselves. We get closer because we begin to know the real them. Generally, we can only love people to the degree that they’re willing to let us know them. And this is why we can never find this intimacy with others until we are comfortable in our own skins.

Read What is your persona?

The above inspired from “God Loves an Unmade Bed” by Fisher and Allender, and  “Beautiful Outlaw” by John Eldredge