I recently heard in my therapy practice that there are three distinct people being juggled inside of you at any given moment. The person you want others to see you as. The person others see you as. And finally the person you actually are. The hope is that you find a way to be at peace with all three.
I am not at all congruent on this matter. I’m not even sure I can articulate the distance between who I am and external reality. In my head, I’m introverted, cerebral and not very interested in other people. In my head I prefer to keep to myself.
That doesn’t match at all with the person who others see as cultivating and thriving on attention. The person who enjoys spending hours on social media doesn’t seem introverted. I think that’s the person others see me as. They see me as an extrovert who intuitively gets attention.
And that sure as shit doesn’t match the person that is smart, hard working and well connected. Thats the person I want to be seen as. That’s the “brand” I think I should have to be respectable in the eyes of others. I want to be seen as the person you turn to who can help you solve a problem. I want to be seen as the person you turn to if you need an introduction. And then I want the people I send introductions to to trust that I will only send them the best people.
Of course, the truth of the matter is I am all these people. I am an introverted cerebral person that likes to spend time alone with her thoughts. I am also the person who thrives on attention and knows how to cultivate it. And I am a hard working person who you can count on to make good introductions and steward your social capital well.
So next time you get worried that the world thinks you are someone completely different from who you see yourself as just remember you are 3 people. You are different. You are the person you want others to see you as. You are the person others see you as. And finally you are also the person you actually are. It’s all you. And it’s wonderful.