Very often you look to others, your friends, family, coworkers to see how you’re doing. Are you good enough? Do you fit in? Are you going to continue to rise up whatever ladder you’re looking at, professional or personal? You’re born like a plant seeking the light. If the plant is placed in a dark corner it will twist itself to try to grow toward the light. If a person, from a very early age, realizes what gets them love and attention, they will repeat those attitudes, beliefs, what they say or do, to continue getting love from others. However, you were already born a person, and maybe your family of origin doesn’t understand that. Perhaps they believe it’s their job to turn you into a person, not to be curious about who you are and to guide you into adulthood and independence as yourself, who you were when you were born. You begin wearing a mask you believe is you. The problem is that you have to keep changing masks depending on the other people you’re around and what expectations they have of you. Since you haven’t internalized a solid sense of self that allows you to put on a persona when necessary such as for a job interview, the professional persona. The difference is that you recognize you’re wearing a particular persona to do something you’ve chosen to do that requires a certain look or attitude, but you know it’s a persona, that it doesn’t define who you really are, that person you hang out with every day and every night thinking you’re pretty cool, even when you mess up.
People wearing personas or having a false sense of self tend to be critical of themselves and fear to mess up to the point where it creates tremendous anxiety about doing whatever, just right. When you’re comfortable in your own skin, you know messing up is O.K. It’s part of being alive. We all mess up. We all step on our tongues. We all wish we could go back and change something. Still, it’s important that we keep checking in with ourselves to separate what’s real and meaningful for us even if it doesn’t match up with what the people around you want you to be or think or act. There will never be another you. It would be a shame if you couldn’t exist in the world knowing you’re safe and will never be lost, as long as you’re with yourself, your true self. Even if you are lost, emotionally or physically, relax and know it’s O.K. because you’re with yourself, your best friend, and you’ll find a way to a solution, you and your unique, valuable, authentic self. I have a friend I travel with, and some years ago we were in Italy. I was driving and trying to find the hotel. I was getting very frustrated and upset because I seemed to be going in circles, and it was already twilight. She said, “It’s OK. We’re just taking the fifty-cent tour.” I relaxed after her message and found the hotel in no time at all.