Private vs Public Self

There is often a huge difference between a person’s private self and their public persona.  This has been especially true for me over the past 12 years. Since I have been sharing more of my story, I have spoken with others who also portray a different image to the rest of the world. In today’s society with all of the social media that has been incorporated into most of our lives, it is hard to really be able to show your true self. I feel like a facebook profile, for example, is also another way of portraying the image you want the rest of the world to see you as. It always amazes me how everyone seems to have so many close friends, be in amazing relationships where nothing is ever wrong, and travel so frequently.

I talked with an old friend one night last week after she read one of my posts here on this blog. She told me it was like she could have written every word herself and then proceeded to tell me some of the things that were going on in her life. I was really shocked. I have browsed through her profile over the years a few times and to someone who doesn’t know her, I would have absolutely no idea she was struggling so much. I knew she had IBD and had a couple surgeries but thought things were really OK now.  When I said that to her, she responded by telling me her ex looks at her profile and she didn’t want him to know she was having some issues which, of course, was completely understandable to me.

After talking with my friend for a little while, it made me realize how I certainly am not the only one who has been walking around trying to be someone who they aren’t. I have been guilty of doing this for 12 years and believe me when I tell you, it is exhausting and so not worth it. All of the time and effort people spend so that they will be looked at in high regard by others is a complete waste of time. I am certainly not criticizing anyone for doing that because as I just stated, it was how I was for a very long time. It is how a lot of people with IBD and other related illness are. I have learned that more recently and it is upsetting to me. It is certainly one thousand percent understandable, but it still saddens me.

We all want to be looked at as positive, fun, exciting people who live glamorous lives but that isn’t the case for most of us. This also goes back to the post where I talked about how important it is to accept yourself completely. Once I really started believing this concept, I stopped the act and started being more real. I didn’t share everything with everyone, but I also didn’t pretend. That is the key with me. I don’t like to complain and never have been someone who did that (except with my parents), but I also realized that I was in some ways making certain things up to avoid the truth. I never told anyone an outright lie, but I definitely have stretched the truth on more than one occasion.

The last couple months or so have been really life changing for me. I am so committed to just being myself and having people in my life who love me for the person I actually am. If I could describe this experience in one word it would be: refreshing. It is so nice to just say it like it is. I was never good at doing that. I always danced around the truth for fear that I would be viewed in a negative light and now I can say for the most part, I really don’t care what other people think of me anymore. I have gone through too much and fought too hard to be where I am today, and I just don’t have the time or energy to waste on making myself look better or different than I actually am. I am me. And I am really starting to come to grips with that fact. No one is perfect. We all know that. We all have flaws. We all make mistakes. We have all been in or are currently dealing with some negative things in our life. And you know what…that is what makes us human. That is life. Life isn’t all rainbows and sunshine all of the time. It would be really nice if it was, but since that is hardly the case, I say we all just be ourselves to the best of our ability and see where that takes us in life.

My guess is that it takes us a lot farther than pretending to be someone you aren’t and never will be.

  • Steve Ochs

    Another thoughtful, well-written post. Thanks.

  • aunt jodi

    The “real” you is more beautiful,inspiring and stronger than anyone you could possible “be”.
    So glad you have let yourself out!
    …at least you don’t have I-itis to worry about….