Grant Montgomery: The real you
“What people think of me” is a very powerful motivator. From high school through adulthood, it continues to shape us more than we like to admit.
Think about it: Do any of us go through one entire day, passing through different environments we encounter, being utterly true? 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 – the admiration of others, power, success – and is it 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 instinctively knowing we have this need to belong. Many of us gained approval in our families only when we did what our parents expected. This is also where we learned 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, in a sense we created masks or personas to please them. And as we grew up, we continued the act, playing a role under this persona, because we feared that if we didn’t meet the expectations of our peer groups, spouse or significant other, we will be rejected emotionally.
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 who you feel close to. What is about them that makes you feel close to them? Probably that you can be yourself around them. We 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. And we can never find this intimacy with others until we are comfortable in our own skins, and can do the same with others.