Who am I? I’ve often struggled with who I am, or more correctly how I’m perceived by others. Depending on the situation I may introduce myself differently. I’m Alex’s dad. I’m the church youth leader. I’m a healthcare recruiter. Each time being careful to paint the right picture of who I am to better increase my acceptance by whomever I meet. I can’t explain it. It bothers me. The constant insecurity as I wonder if I’ve spoken, acted, or even dressed appropriately enough to win acceptance. Why do we leave the most important piece of who we are as individuals up to others to define?
I look at my life and wonder how much of it I’ve let others define for me. The stuff I have, the things I do, the haircut, clothes, car, church, job; all of it to set the right picture to be better accepted by people. And yet how much of it is meaningful? My problem is always, the more I worry about how other people see me, the more neurotic and depressed I get. Friendships all feel artificial. And when you finally say something honest, you get a look like “I can’t believe he just said that”.
Isn’t it funny how we say the best friends or moments we have are those in which we can “just be our self”? You can go on vacation and just blend in. You can hang out with friends and not “put on a mask”. So why do we have to change for every other day of life? Is there something about our personal self that is unacceptable in regular life? And is it worth changing who you are to gain that additional amount of respect or in most cases income?