Many times those who are living a lie do so because they don’t feel it’s safe to reveal who they really are. They might be frightened by disapproval from friends and family. Or they may have been bullied as a child. Other times, avoiding an authentic life can be used to hide mental illness or self-hate.

Here are 14 ways in which you reveal who you really are. If you’re brave enough, or if you dare, aim to share who you really are, little by little, everyday, with those you trust. You may be surprised at the reaction. If the reaction is not positive, you may need to re-think who you are inviting into your world. If you don’t feel you have a safe group of friends or family, yet, to share yourself with, go out and live with all your truth and conviction. Don’t forget a half-truth is still a lie. In time, you’ll attract those that need to be in your life. I promise. There is no greater comfort than settling into who you really are. Like Kurt Cobain once said, ”Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are.”

1. Hardships reveal who you really are.

Allowing yourself to be exposed and raw is a very intimate experience. To really know yourself and others, what you are like at your most vulnerable, will include revealing yourself at your worst moments. Sometimes with tears  streaming down your face or when you are emotionally downtrodden and weakened. It could be due to heartbreak, a job loss, disappointment, a death in the family or a divorce. All can be truly tragic and upsetting to the rhythm of your life and dreams. This is one way you will reveal who you really are. During hardship, you can choose to remain stagnant and fearful or you can learn from the misery or your poor choices and make a new path for yourself.

2. How you act when you’re upset.

If getting upset or disappointed involves you taking your anger out on others (verbally or physically), you are revealing yourself negatively. It makes people want to step away from you and not be your friend. It repels good people from your life. Even your family members may want to separate from you, especially when you are furious and raging. If you take a time out to process the situation, and why you are so upset, and be cognizant of how you relate to others when you are pissed off, you’ll be better off. It won’t be easy for everyone. But controlling yourself even when life is not being kind will only benefit you. Never forget, as Mark Twain once wrote, “Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.”

3. How you treat those who can do nothing for you.

If you only care about impressing those in positions of power, or those who are rich or good-looking by society’s standards, so that you can benefit from this connection, you reveal yourself to be shallow, self-centered, narcissistic and lacking in empathy. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe is said to have written, “You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.” How you treat those in less prominent positions and those who may not be famous or well-known or powerful in society is very telling as to who you really are and what you really are. But if you’re tired of the way things have always been and are committed to another approach, you can change your habits.

4. Who you are when no one is looking.

You are who you really are when no one is looking. Truer words have never been spoken, or written. It’s easy to do the ‘right thing’ when others are watching and taking note. But what you do and how you cope when there’s no one there is very powerful. If you are lying, cheating, hacking private e-mail accounts, plotting revenge, gossiping about others, taking advantage of someone, choosing what’s easy, are keeping and creating endless secrets, you are revealing an unhealthy way of living. Often, if who you are in private and the self you present to others and who you are inside, is drastically different it can cause significant stress and internal chaos. It’s like holding yourself emotionally hostage. If you are really scared to be who you really are in the company of others you care about, you may be overly preoccupied with how others view you, and how they might respond to your style or interests. Don’t pre-judge their reactions. Make it your aim in life to embrace yourself completely. Being who you really are relies on it. If you are being kind and welcoming, speaking honest and thoughtful words, and wishing only the best for yourself and others, you are revealing a healthy outlook worth continuing.

5. The types of relationships you pursue.

Sometimes those who have not healed from past relationships, abusive situations or other traumas, will continue to pursue those that remind them of their troubled past. It’s important to remember that you are not your past. Your past is a part of your story, but it is not everything and you don’t have to keep reliving it everyday. Who you are attempting to date, marry or befriend can reveal who you really are, but if you are not fully healed, your pursuits may be skewed and are only temporary. If you find yourself interested in a particular type of personality, there may be a pattern to your choices. You may also be pursuing people because they reflect how you view yourself and the world. Your relationships can reveal a lot about who you really are.

6. How often you admit your own mistakes and failures.

Mistakes and failures are a natural part of living. Without mistakes and failures, we wouldn’t learn all that we do. You may take responsibility for your actions and are honest about the part you play in the choices you make, you may not want to acknowledge your troubles at all, because you just can’t deal or you may be hesitant to mention where you went wrong because you are most concerned with how others will view you and what others will say or think of you. These are some ways you will reveal who you really are. Mary Pickford, one of the first actresses of the United States and Canada, once said, quite beautifully, “You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing that we call ‘failure’ is not the falling down, but the staying down.” Not only how often you accept responsibility for your actions but also how you you cope with the failures will reveal who you really are.

7. How you treat people in need.

Do you look down on those that have less than you? Do you pity them or come to their aid? Do you ridicule their style or make fun of them? Are you willing to help others or do you feel put out? However you may approach those in need will reveal who you really are.

8. What you read, listen to and get entertained by reveals who you really are.

Do you like anime? Sadomasochistic films? Action or political satire? Do you enjoy listening to the radio or violent movies? Does a comedy make your evening complete or maybe a famous trilogy? Do you like classic literature or journaling your thoughts? Do you paint or work on engineering and coding? Or are you more business-minded? Do you collect dolls or something else? Do you prefer traveling, listening to records, or jogging? Do you frequent strip clubs, expensive resorts or casinos? Do you like photography, attending live music shows or gardening? Do you spend time wreaking havoc in your community, vandalizing and bullying passersby? Do you find pleasure from quiet time at the library or a soothing chat and tea with an elderly person? Do you use drugs to numb yourself or drink until you are passed out? Do you enjoy a weekly television program or cooking up edible delights from scratch? There are a million ways people like to be entertained. One’s entertainment preferences often reflect what’s going on inside their mind and heart. What you choose to do in your free time and what you find joy from tells all about your story and who you really are.

9. The way you approach your greatest failures.

Your failures don’t define you, and you shouldn’t wallow in self-pity or punish yourself for the stones that may obstruct your path from time to time. But how you approach those struggles will reveal what you are made of and who you really are. If you use your failures as a time to attack those around you, play the blame game or belittle and humiliate, throw tantrums or yell obscenities, it’s time to take a look into your habits and character. Your greatest failures are often simply the beginnings of your greatest achievements.

10. What you find comforting reveals who you really are.

If you find pleasure in the struggles of others (Schadenfreude), or laugh at their expense, because it makes you feel better about yourself, you are revealing yourself negatively. If you find comfort in loving, sharing and being kind, you are revealing an empathetic approach to others. Celebrating someone’s bad days just because you feel low about yourself isn’t cool or interesting. It doesn’t make you seem fun or enticing to hang around. What you find comforting and relaxing will reveal quite a bit about who you really are and what you really want out of life for yourself and those around you.

11. How you spend your money.

Going on spending binges, spending money you don’t have or at the other end of the spectrum, never spending any money and living very frugally are all ways of revealing who you really are and what you feel inside. Do you spend your money to help others, your community or to furnish a comfortable, inviting home? Do you enjoy spending your money on loved ones and family members? Are you cautious with where your money goes? Do you keep a financial log and save all your receipts? The way you spend money and view finances shows a lot about who you really are.

12. How you speak of others behind their backs.

Gossiping, accusing, criticizing, unsolicited advice and blatant lying are some peoples choices when offered a chance to speak of others. Others might opt to not talk about others private comments and personal life, but instead focus on kind and respectful words or not talk too much at all about others when they are not around, to avoid denigrating another’s character or life, out of turn, and without all the facts. Remember that what you say about others will reveal a lot about how you feel about yourself. What you say about others will show who you really are. If you need to speak the truth about someones hurtful or negative actions and their impact in your life, it’s a quite different story, however.

13. The choices you make are revealing of who you really are.

When you are faced with options, how you choose reveals who you really are and what you really want. Do you go for the easy route? Or is being brave and daring important to you? Do you like new ways of approaching an old topic? Do you reach out to a counselor or is your father’s opinion more important to you? Do you go for the popular choice or the most healthy option? The pattern of your choices are a big part of your true self.

14. How you argue.

Fighting fair is an integral part of any relationships. Do you go straight to the most insulting retort? Do you hear out your friend or partner? Or do you opt for swift revenge? Revenge will only lead to more emotional injury and show that who you really are isn’t so healthy. As Mahatma Gandhi once stated, “An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind.” If that’s the way you have been operating and want to change, you can change how you fight or argue. When you fight, do so neutrally, recognizing that perfection is illusive. Be present, open and honest. Don’t keep score and don’t demand someone read your mind or try to do that of others. If you want to reveal a healthy and revitalized self, you’ll listen and encourage the same of them, when it’s your turn to talk. The way you choose to argue or discuss a disagreement shows a lot about who you really are and what you are about. Remember that almost everything we live is a choice.

Featured photo credit: DuneChaser via flickr.com

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