Do You Know Who You Are?

January 11, 2023

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forbes.com

People tend to hide behind a mask or many masks to hide who they really are.

Some people believe first impressions tell a lot about someone’s character and personality, but many times people put up a front and act differently with people they do not know. In fact, people might not act like their true selves even in front of people they are comfortable around. 

How would your closest friends describe you? How about your closest family members? How do your teachers see you? If someone heard the way these different groups of people described you, would they think they were describing the same person? There is a difference between acting differently in certain situations and doing a 360 and becoming a whole different person. Some aspects, actions, and characteristics should remain constant at your core; the ones that make you who you are no matter what situation you are in or who you are talking to. 

Sometimes, if one has an unhealthy relationship with social media, it can be difficult not to ‘edit’ your life. On the other hand, if used responsibly, social media can be used to show sides of yourself that can be hard to portray in real life.”

— Camille Khong

Sometimes people, especially in this social-media-driven generation, can get caught up in the likes, followers, and comments of it all that they lose sight of who they are. Trying to get the most likes and posting what one thinks their followers want to see, creates a false persona and image of who someone is. This amplifies the fake parts of social media and gives others the unrealistic sense of someone whose life is perfect. Camille Khong (12) defines being your true self as “acting on your own wishes and fulfilling desires that you set for yourself.” In regards to authenticity on social media, Camille believes that in this generation, “sometimes, if one has an unhealthy relationship with social media, it can be difficult not to ‘edit’ your life. On the other hand, if used responsibly, social media can be used to show sides of yourself that can be hard to portray in real life.”

It is important to mention that none of this is anyone’s fault; in fact, society has normalized the idea of pretending to be someone you are not due to certain expectations. Growing up, many are taught to act a certain way with authority or to only show certain emotions in public, and somewhere, the idea of being yourself gets lost in translation and forgotten. 

So, if you are seen differently by different people and on social media, who is the real you? It could be that you are a sum of all the versions of yourself: how you act with your friends plus how you act with you family plus how you act when you are by yourself. Or perhaps you know that there is one version of you that is real (where you do not have to pretend) while the others are just masks you wear. Either way, it is important that you know, but if you don’t, there are ways you can find out. 

One way that might help is spending some time by yourself. When you are alone you can focus on yourself and learn who you are without the influences of other people. Additionally, if you are lost and do not know where to start, you can try finding things you know for sure are concrete to you and unchanging, such as morals, values, people you care about, or a passion you have. No matter who you are in a situation, look for the things that are unchanging. If you are pretending and trying to be someone you are not, the main sign is feeling uncomfortable or thinking too much about your actions (hesitation and overthinking).

No matter what people expect from you and how they tell you to act, do not forget you are at your core. You could have 100 versions of yourself but there is one that you must fight to protect because it is the hardest to get back.

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