There are many who have created a false image of themselves with which they walk around – often until the rest of their life. Sometimes – if you are sensitive and observant enough – you see it; but often you don’t. The reason being, that these people are expert manipulators and expert in hiding “who they really are”.
Why do people create a false image of themselves?
The reason is, they feel unsuccessful, on both the personal as well as the professional level. They are trying to “upgrade” themselves in the eyes of others as well as in their own eyes.
What makes them feel unsuccessful?
The reasons might be many, and varied from one person to another. Overall, they might have grown up feeling worthless since childhood (due to their parental attitudes towards them or to a competition with more successful siblings). Or, for that reason or another (such as: low self-esteem), they have a bottomless need for love, appreciation and acceptance.
Regardless of the reason which drives them to create a false image of themselves, they develop such an image – at times consciously, at times unconsciously – feeling that only if they’ll present to the world around them an “upgraded” image of themselves they will receive the love, attention and appreciation they need.
What behaviors does their false image manifest?
One person, for example, might be there 100% for others, friends and partners; giving whatever he/she can give, without asking anything in return (since this person gets back the love and appreciation he/she so much desires).
Another person might sacrifice him/herself “at the altar of relationships”, neglecting his/her own wishes and will, letting partners abuse him/her, not requesting anything in return – as long as he/she won’t be left alone (being in a relationship means: he/she is a worthwhile person who has managed to have a partner).
Yet another person might be too aggressive with others, too controlling, wishing all the time that everything will be done his/her way, and only his/her way. By exhibiting such a behavior this person deludes him/her self to thinking that others respect him/her, or are afraid of him/her (especially is he/her has a high-level position!). He/she also feels he/she is right, all-knowledgeable, one who can teach others what’s best for them!
As you see, people with false image manifest various behaviors, but the common element in all of them is: they attempt to receiving love, attention and appreciation, filling the bottomless need they have to be loved and recognized.
Can a person with a false image be happy?
It is difficult to believe that a person who is not who he/she really is; who attempts at all times to “convince” others that he/she is who he/she is not; who takes out much energy on a continuous basis to preserve the image he/she has created for him/herself – that such a person can really be happy.
The reason being, if you deviate from the “real you”; if you “pretend” to be not who you really are (whether consciously or unconsciously); if you elicit too much energy to keeping the mask intact – it is impossible for you to stream your way in life in a relaxed, calm way, and feel happiness.
The opposite is true: you are always “on your guard”, making sure you do your best so that people perceive you the way you would like to be perceived, impressed not by the “real you” but rather by the mask you wear.
Oh, this should be so tiring!
Why those wearing a mask don’t remove the mask and change the false image of themselves?
In spite of not being truly happy, and in spite of feeling tired, they usually don’t attempt to remove their masks. The reason being, many of them are not aware any more of the fact that they wear a mask. After all, they have already gotten accustomed to being the mask!
This being the case, even if they begin to realize that they walk around with a false image, they are afraid of what might happen if they will remove their mask: “who would I be?” Even scarier is the thought of “how would others relate to me without my mask?” “Would I still receive the love, attention and appreciation I am currently receiving?”
Concluding that the answer is NO in capital letters, they keep wearing their mask, even if, down deep themselves, they would have loved to free themselves to become “the real them”, happy and authentic, being surrounded by friends and partners who will love and appreciate them for who they really are…
Taking off the mask requires courage
Taking off your mask requires courage, the courage to be authentic and true to yourself and to others. The courage to approach relationships without pretending to be not who you are and believing that “being who you are” is a requirement to being able to develop a truly loving, caring and mutual intimacy.
Taking off your mask – one which you might have been wearing for years – might not be easy, but it is worthwhile: it will enable you, maybe for the first time, to be authentic in your relationship; open and true to yourself as well as to your partner; to reduce and eliminate the constant stress of being on your guard in order to not “be caught” as a dishonest person, one with a false image, wearing a mask to disguise the real you.
It is only when you get up the courage to take off your mask and be authentic with a partner that you become empowered to develop a successful intimate relationship.