I want you to think of me in a certain way. And I'm betting that if we met, you'd want me to think of you in a particular way, too. (You might even think that as you're writing a comment or asking a question.)
I have an image of myself, some things that I want to believe are true. I want you to believe them, too. That I'm smart and warm and friendly. That I care deeply about your happiness. That I'm happy all the time.
I think that's what you expect from me. So that becomes what I expect of myself. And I have no idea why.
Because I'm not that person, I'm always afraid that I will be found out. That someone will figure out I'm not that perfectly projected persona. So I think you want me to be something that I'm not, try to pretend that I am, and then worry that you'll figure it out.
Why is that? I know I'm not perfect all the time. I'm pretty sure that's true of most other people, too. I can get tired, cranky, defensive, and ineffective. If I try to be what I think someone else wants, I end up not liking myself very much, and then not liking them much, either.
But whenever I just let myself be what I am, and do what I do, regardless of what I think other people think, everything seems to work out a lot better. Amazingly, people seem to like the real me more than the me that I try to make up for their benefit.
Turns out the mask I put on, the one that is trying to protect me from all the bad stuff out there, ends up also keeping a lot of good stuff in here. And when the mask comes off, as scary as that is, what emerges is so much better that the stuff I was trying to make up.
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