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14 Ways That Reveal Who You Really Are

14 Ways That Reveal Who You Really Are

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Last Updated on April 6, 2020

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

Most discussions on positively influencing others eventually touch on Dale Carnegie’s seminal work, How to Win Friends and Influence People. Written more than 83 years ago, the book touches on a core component of human interaction, building strong relationships. It is no wonder why.

Everything that we do hinges on our ability to connect with others and formulate deep relationships. You cannot sell a house, buy a house, advance in most careers, sell a product, pitch a story, teach a course, etc. without building healthy relationships. Managers get the best results from their teams, not through brute force, but to careful appeals to their sensibilities, occasional withdrawals from the reservoir of respect they’ve built. Using these tactics, they can influence others to excellence, to productivity, and to success.

Carnegie’s book is great. Of course, there are other resources too. Most of us have someone in our lives who positively influences us. The truth is positively influencing people is about centering the humanity of others. Chances are, you know someone who is really good at making others feel like stars. They can get you to do things that the average person cannot. Where the requests of others sound like fingernails on a chalkboard, the request from this special person sounds like music to your ears. You’re delighted to not only listen but also to oblige.

So how to influence people in a positive way? Read on for tips.

1. Be Authentic

To influence people in a positive way, be authentic. Rather than being a carbon copy of someone else’s version of authenticity, uncover what it is that makes you unique.

Discover your unique take on an issue and then live up to and honor that. Once of the reasons social media influencers are so powerful is that they have carved out a niche for themselves or taken a common issue and approached it from a novel or uncommon way. People instinctually appreciate people whose public persona matches their private values.

Contradictions bother us because we crave stability. When someone professes to be one way, but lives contrary to that profession, it signals that they are confused or untrustworthy and thereby, inauthentic. Neither of these combinations bode well for positively influencing others.

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2. Listen

Growing up, my father would tell me to listen to what others said. He told me if I listened carefully, I would know all I needed to know about a person’s character, desires and needs.

To positively influence others, you must listen to what is spoken and what is left unsaid. Therein lies the explanation for what people need in order to feel validated, supported and seen. If a person feels they are invisible, and unseen by their superiors, they are less likely to be positively influenced by that person.

Listening meets a person’s primary need of validation and acceptance.

Take a look at this guide on how to be a better listener: How to Practice Active Listening (A Step-By-Step Guide)

3. Become an Expert

Most people are predisposed to listen to, if not respect, authority. If you want to positively influence others, become an authority in the area in which you seek to lead others. Research and read everything you can about the given topic, and then look for opportunities to put your education into practice.

You can argue over opinions. You cannot argue, or it is unwise to argue, over facts and experts come with facts.

4. Lead with Story

From years of working in the public relations space, I know that personal narratives, testimonials and impact stories are incredibly powerful. But I never cease to be amazed with how effective a well-timed and told story can be.

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If you want to influence people, learn to tell stories. Your stories should be related to the issue or concept you are discussing. They should be an analogy or metaphor that explains your topic in ordinary terms and in vivid detail. To learn more about how to tell powerful stories, and the ethics of storytelling, take a look at this article: How To Tell An Interesting Story In 4 Simple Steps

5. Lead by Example

It is incredibly inspiring to watch passionate, talented people at work or play. One of the reasons a person who is not an athlete can be in awe of athletic prowess is because human nature appreciates the extraordinary. When we watch the Olympics, Olympic trials, gymnastic competitions, ice skating, and other competitive sports, we can recognize the effort of people who day in and day out give their all. C

ase in point: Simone Biles. The gymnast extraordinaire won her 6TH all-around title at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships after doing a triple double. She was the first woman to do so. Watching her gave me chills. Even non-gymnasts and non-competitive athletes can appreciate the talent required to pull off such a remarkable feat.

We celebrate remarkable accomplishments and believe that their example is proof that we too can accomplish something great, even if it isn’t qualifying for the Olympics. To influence people in a positive way, we must lead by example, lead with intention and execute with excellence.

6. Catch People Doing Good

A powerful way to influence people in a positive way is to catch people doing good. Instead of looking for problems, look for successes. Look for often overlooked, but critically important things that your peers, subordinates and managers do that make the work more effective and more enjoyable.

Once you catch people doing good, name and notice their contributions.

7. Be Effusive with Praise

It did not take me long to notice a remarkable trait of a former boss. He not only began and ended meetings with praise, but he peppered praise throughout the entire meeting. He found a way to celebrate the unique attributes and skills of his team members. He was able to quickly and accurately assess what people were doing well and then let them and their colleagues know.

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Meetings were not just an occasion to go through a “To Do” list, they were opportunities to celebrate accomplishments, no matter how small they are.

8. Be Kind Rather Than Right

I am going to level with you; this one is tough. It is easy to get caught up in a cycle of proving oneself. For people who lack confidence, or people who prioritize the opinions of others, being right is important. The validation that comes with being perceived as “right” feeds one’s ego. But in the quest to be “right,” we can hurt other people. Once we’ve hurt someone by being unkind, it is much harder to get them to listen to what we’re trying to influence them to do.

The antidote to influencing others via bullying is to prioritize kindness above rightness. You can be kind and still stand firm in your position. For instance, many people think that they need others to validate their experience. If a person does not see the situation you experienced in the way you see it, you get upset. But your experience is your experience.

If you and your friends go out to eat and you get food poisoning, you do not need your friends to agree that the food served at the restaurant was problematic for you. Your own experience of getting food poisoning is all the validation you need. Therefore, taking time to be right is essentially wasted and, if you were unkind in seeking validation for your food-poison experience, now you’ve really lost points.

9. Understand a Person’s Logical, Emotional and Cooperative Needs

The Center for Creative Leadership has argued that the best way to influence others is to appeal to their logical, emotional and cooperative needs. Their logical need is their rational and educational need. Their emotional need is the information that touches them in a deeply personal manner. The cooperative need is understanding the level of cooperation various individuals need and then appropriately offering it.

The trick with this system is to understand that different people need different things. For some people, a strong emotional appeal will outweigh logical explanations. For others, having an opportunity to collaborate will override emotional connection.

If you know your audience, you will know what they need in order to be positively influenced. If you have limited information about the people whom you are attempting to influence, you will be ineffective.

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10. Understand Your Lane

If you want to positively influence others, operate from your sphere of influence. Operate from your place of expertise. Leave everything else to others. Gone are the days when being a jack of all trades is celebrated.

Most people appreciate brands that understand their target audience and then deliver on what that audience wants. When you focus on what you are uniquely gifted and qualified to do, and then offer that gift to the people who need it, you are likely more effective. This effectiveness is attractive.

You cannot positively influence others if you are more preoccupied by what others do well versus what you do well.

Final Thoughts

Influencing people is about centering your humanity. If you want to influence others positively, focus on the way you communicate and improve the relationship with yourself first.

It’s hard to influence others if you’re still trying to figure out how to communicate with yourself.

More Tips About Making Influence

Featured photo credit: Wonderlane via unsplash.com

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