Psychology and mental health · The way we are

The danger of holding back our truest selves

During my tumultuous teenage  years, I fondly remember my older brother encouraging me, in his caring and gentle way, to just “be myself”.

I loved that he believed that being myself was worth being, if you know what I mean.

I didn’t have to be anyone but me, and all this entailed.

Sometimes it’s hard for us to know who “myself” really is, and we can spend a lifetime performing a role meant for someone else.

This can lead to relationship problems, and a mistaken identity that can result in depression and a feeling that life is immensely futile.

theauthenticityhoax

I remember a young friend saying she felt like a chameleon, always adapting herself to her surroundings – or rather, to the perceived expectations of others.

A lot of us feel that way in our early 20s, then in our 30s we seem to find an increasing comfort in our own skin, and the life we’ve created. That’s before the cliched mid-life crisis hits, and many start to question whether they’re on the right path at all.

“Sometimes the story we’re telling the world isn’t half as endearing as the one that lives inside us,” writes Donald Miller in Scary Close: Dropping the Act and Finding True Intimacy.

Miller points out that sometimes we maintain a way of relating to the world that doesn’t reflect our truest self, and we often don’t realise this till we’re in our 30s.

He suggests that maybe we’re hiding something – the true me, and the story – or life – that’s really worth telling and living.

What story aren’t you telling the world? What ‘comfortable’, well-practiced way of doing life are you hiding behind?

What story is yet to emerge from the recesses?

And do you believe that your true story – or your true self – is powerful enough to impact others?

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10 thoughts on “The danger of holding back our truest selves

  1. I like the way you describe the process of self-realization. I’m right in the middle of my midlife crisis, I guess, wondering if I’m on the right path. It does not feel comfortable at all, but I can’t escape it. The feeling keeps catching up with me. It’s comforting to know this seems to be a normal, a good thing to happen.

    1. Yes, it seems to be a normal thing – that feeling that you can’t really escape your dreams, and your desire to travel a different path. You’re not alone, and I’m sure it will become clear, bit by bit, as you work out what is possible/ within your grasp.

  2. “Sometimes the story we’re telling the world isn’t half as endearing as the one that lives inside us.”

    Yeah, mid-life crisis thingie going on here, too. I often think if the story I am telling is what really needs to be shared. Well, yes, it is. But there is so much more. Then I stop and think; is it just TMI?

    Great post! 🙂

    1. Haha, yes, sometimes it can be TMI. We have to pick out audiences don’t we? And possibly edit it down… as the extended version of our story might take all week to tell!

  3. Just found your blog through “For His Glory”. I enjoyed this post on finding your story. I think sometimes we don’t realize how impactful our story could be for someone else – if we are just willing to share it when the opportunity presents itself. I’m looking forward to reading some of your other posts and following you. Blessings!

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