What if your false self was just a facet of your personality that's been blown out of proportion?
I recently finished reading The Gift of Being Yourself by David Benner for the Staff Directors Spiritual Formation Group. We met as a Group in Chicago this week.
One idea from Benner's book really jumped out to me. He describes the personality as being full of a whole bunch of different facets. You're funny and kind and curious and musical and all sorts of other things. We each have a unique combination of these personality facets. God made each of us unique.
But over time, we receive praise for some of those personality facets and punishment for others. For me, growing up, I got a lot of praise for reading and learning and enough punishment for showing my emotions that I bottled them up. This makes a lot of sense. There were four boys in my family. It was a wild place. A kid who would sit and read and keep his emotions under control ... well ... that's a pretty good kid to have in a full house.
But over time, those facets of our personality that we receive praise for become more and more important to us. And we bury the facets that get us punished. Our personality begins to become skewed. We present the praise-worthy facets to the world and hide the rest. We develop a false self: the self we project to the world.
There's more to us than we project. Buried beneath the surface are all sorts of things, things that could be wonderful if brought to light in the right circumstances. But it is terrifying to bring them to the surface. Bringing them to the surface means admitting to the world that the picture of ourselves we've always presented isn't an accurate representation of who we really are.
We risk rejection.
But then, if you know that the person everyone's accepting isn't the full you, it might be worth the risk. Right?
Can you identify facets of your personality that you've buried or over-emphasized?