I grew up in a family in which my parents were true to their word. If they said they would do something, they would. And they were both "what you see is what you get" kind of people. In other words, they would be the same person 30 years after you met them as they were on the first moment you shook their hand. To me, this was normal. Because of this childhood experience, I became a person who trusts easily - too easily.
Most people that I know do NOT trust easily. And you would think being able to trust others like I was able to do would be a good thing. In theory, yes. In reality, NO.
As a result of trusting too much, I have been burned by people. For example, I lent money to a good friend who promised me to pay me back ASAP. I trusted her. She said she would pay me back, so why wouldn't she? Right? (at least that's what I thought in my naive little head). So ... have I gotten paid back yet (almost 5 years later)?
I have believed people's sunny and outgoing personality to be their true selves only to realize later (and sometimes it's years later) that it is not who the really are. Some of the people I've met who are the warmest, friendliest, most awesome people in the beginning have, unfortunately, turned out to be liars, incredibly selfish, or possess some other negative trait.
But I'm not bitter. (really, I'm not)
I take personal responsibility for my naivety.
But I finally learned.
Because of these situations in my life, I have come up with a theory: Most people have two "selves." There is the OUTER self and the INNER self. Some people's outer and inner selves match up pretty well. I call this authenticity. My family is like this, and I hope I am too (but you'll have to ask my friends. ha!). But for a lot of people, their outer self is a much different than their inner self.
I call this "wearing a mask."
Like I said, I used to believe people's masks. It didn't occur to me not to.
So I've learned to read peoples actions, not their words. Sometimes you have to look very, very closely at all the things that are unsaid and all the clues (red flags) that might be staring you in the face (yet invisible) if you don't pay attention.
You may not be as trusting as I have been (congratulations!). But even if you're not, sometimes it's difficult to see the true nature of someone at first. Because all the information we have to go on in the beginning is their "mask."
But here are 4 reasons you should look beyond the mask and try to see people's INNER selves:
1. The inner self is the real person.
For some reason, our culture almost supports being fake. Just take Facebook as an example. I know someone who calls it "FAKEbook" because so many people have the "perfect life" on Facebook, whereas in reality, their life is a disaster. But who wants to put that "out there?" (okay, I know plenty of people who like to air their dirty laundry, but you know what I'm talking about).
2. Falling for their mask can have negative consequences in your life.
Case and point: my story about lending money. Did it ruin my life? No. Thank God. But would it be really awesome to have my money back? Ummm, YES!!! Maybe you've been cheated on. Or just been taken advantage of in some other way. Whatever your story is, falling for the mask doesn't usually make us happier.
3. Spending time with inauthentic people is exhausting and frustrating.
At this point in my life, I only like to spend my time with people who are real. They are usually the more uplifting and positive ones. I don't mean to imply that I shy away from people with problems. Quite the contrary, or I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing! I do like to help people solve their problems. However, you can't really help people with their problems when they are not straight up with you.
4. At least when you know their inner self, you won't be fooled anymore.
The guesswork stops. The frustration stops. You almost feel free because you don't have to deal with their inauthenticity anymore. Or at least if you do, you at least know what you're dealing with now. If you're lucky enough to have people in your life who are real with you, spend more time with them if you can. I know that's not always possible if the person wearing the mask is your spouse, sibling, boss, or parent. But if it's someone else you can spend less time with, you might want to think about doing that.
I hope I have given you something to think about this week. It might help to take a look at yourself sometime too and see if there are areas where you are wearing a mask. We all do it from time to time (if you hate your boss and don't wear the "I think you're great" mask, you might get fired!). But to do it on a daily basis might not be something you want to continue.
On another note ... 3 Things I want to tell you about:
#1 FREE WEBINAR COMING SOON!!
Due to the overwhelming positive response I've gotten to my article, "13 Things To Remember When Life Gets Rough," I have decided to dive deeper into the concepts in a webinar. Details coming SOON!
#2 New 'Motivational Monday' video series is here!
On Mondays - and in a little over a minute - I teach you something positive to think about to start your week of great! Here is the first one. It's about FEAR-BASED EMOTIONS ...
#3 Be a part of my next book!!!
I am working with my colleague, psychologist Dr. LeslieBeth Wish, on our book series project about INTUITION! We would love for you to send us your story about your experience in listening – or not listening –to your intuitive voice or feeling about any of the following issues:
Dating, Mating, and Relating
Finding Your Happiness
Hiring, Employees, or Choosing Business Partners
If you're interested, just send me a message with your story! Thank you, and I look forward to connecting with you! :)
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