I was browsing the recent Oprah magazine and saw an advertisement with a picture of Drew Barrymore. Well, that’s what the caption said but I still don’t see her in the image. The airbrushed image is nothing like the girl I’ve been watching since her days in E.T. Who was this person?
It made me think about the images we see in the media and the fake facades that celebrities have. But are we so different? How often do we put up a façade to cover our true emotions or thoughts? I think some of us do this, without even realizing it. We remain quiet or agree with others because we don’t have the confidence to speak our minds. For many years this was true for me. I didn’t believed that my thoughts were worthy of other people’s attention so I never, or at least rarely, put them out there. I never would have written a blog with my thoughts and feelings exposed to the world, but I guess with time we can overcome those fears and show our true self.
The question becomes how to break down the walls and expose our true identity. The first step is to expose that inner identity to ourselves. Become aware of who you are and who you want to become. Compare your inner most thoughts with what you say to those around you. What do you keep to yourself and why? Keep a journal with your thoughts about these questions each day and review it to see what parts of yourself you keep hidden.
Next, start to expose a little of those parts of your inner self that you normally keep hidden. I’m not talking about insulting people you don’t like or telling off your boss because he’s an idiot, but if you have been keeping your feelings from someone, you should try to find a way to talk about it.
I was once coached that there are three responses to the way people treat you. You can suppress your thoughts and feelings, but this leads to dissatisfaction, unhappiness or depression as you hold in your emotions. You can blow up at the person and get out your feelings, but the person may not really listen because they may see you as irrational and the situation is not likely to improve. Or thirdly, you can be expressive and tell the person how you feel. This is the most productive response because you are more likely to be heard, and even if the other person does nothing, you will feel better for having expressed your true inner feelings. I had this experience and even though the person continued to be arrogant and pompous, I felt lighter and it improved my perspective on the situation.
To get practice exposing your inner self, you can start to express your thoughts at meetings or gatherings with family and friends, a little at a time until you start to gain confidence in yourself. Don’t start with highly controversial topics. The idea is to start small. You can start posting one line thoughts on Facebook or Twitter and may be surprised to find that others feel the same way and that your true inner self will be accepted. You can even start blogging and expressing more in depth thoughts to anyone who will read them. Each little step will help you see that your inner self will be accepted and that it isn’t so hard to expose it to the world around you. Be prepared for the possibility that someone will not agree, but remember that it is just their opinion and they have a right to it, just as much as you have a right to yours.
So the next time you want to express a feeling or thought and stop, ask yourself why? If it is to spare someone’s feelings then it may be the right thing to do, but if it’s to hide a bit of your true inner self, try taking the chance and putting it out there.
The more you expose of yourself to others, the more you will discover yourself within.
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