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Our personalities, in general, have three completely separate facets. We have our true inner persona, in which we are exactly who we are with no falsehoods or masks, for better or worse. This is a side no one besides ourselves is allowed to see, and in fact we often hide many aspects of this being from our own consciousness for various reasons. There may be parts of our psyche of which we are embarrassed or ashamed, or perhaps we just like to keep a bit of ourselves reserved. This is an area in which we may feel a bit of discomfort if we stay too long, for almost everyone who has any level of introspection will have some part of themselves of which they may not be particularly proud.
We have our private persona, the part of ourselves we reveal only to those close to us. It may be months or even years after getting to know someone before we allow them access to this stage in our persona circle. We may never let them get this close. It depends on our comfort level and our trust level in regard to this person. Within this persona are different levels of amenity ranging from a sort of distant intimacy with an associate to near-inner persona levels with immediate family, especially with a spouse or life partner. This is an area in which we feel a great degree of comfort. We can “be ourselves” without fear of judgement. We can let loose knowing those around us are close enough to us and have known us long enough to appreciate us for who we are in general rather than basing their impression of us on a moment.
Finally, we have our public persona. This is the image we present to the world, the visage with which we identify when we think of ourselves. This is the part of our being into which most of us invest the highest amount of mental effort. We carefully craft a character for the world to see when they look our way.
Since we pour so much of our soul into manifesting our outward appearance, it can be extremely difficult to accept anything less than adulation for our efforts. Hence the need for so many to produce the perfect profile image and use it to collect admiration from peers. Our comfort level here is dependent on how we feel about interacting with strangers. Some of us thrive here, others not so much.
In this public arena we are faced with many challenges, and how we react to them can have a profound impact on our happiness and overall satisfaction with life. As it has been said before, we cannot control the actions of those around us, but we can control our reactions to them. This is easier said than done of course.
Those who are adept in the art of meditation will tell you that clearing your mind and facing your true inner self as frankly and as often as possible is an invaluable tool on the road to happiness. All well and good, but that is a long and difficult path. I’m not saying there is an easier way, but perhaps with a bit of self-reflection we can foster our desire for acceptance and work to transform it into acceptance of self. For that, in my opinion, is a great leap toward true success.
I intend to continue this diatribe further in a second chapter if you will. The main reason I began exploring this thought process was something all of us with children have dealt with many times, and that is the art of public parenting. Raising a child to your standards while keeping them from harm is difficult enough, add to that the stage that is public life and there is a whole new dynamic involved.
This article originally appeared on Life Outside the Box and is republished here with permission.
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