I had a revelation the other day.
I’ve spent most of my life trying to hide who I am. I’ve become so adept at it that it is automatic and person-dependant. People I judge to be more similar to me or who I trust not to be uncomprehending or judgemental see a truer version of myself. Others see my best performance of a normal person. My family sees a spoilt git with a giant soft spot for cats. I am most myself when alone with myself, or when writing on this blog (though I acknowledge that since I omit so much and don’t cover a lot of things, the overall image would probably be somewhat off the mark too?). The truest version of myself swears more and is less balanced than the blog version. I tame myself a little and don’t say everything that pops in my head. This is all natural and has but a minor effect on the truth of oneself.
Outside the circle of kindred spirits, I don’t consider my social selves to be at all accurate representations of myself. I’m very shy with strangers, and as stated above, I do my best performance of an average person. I also often don’t show my better sides and fear I might indeed come off as rude and selfish.This person is not even a shadow of my actual self. She is a puppet. It would take an extremely clear-sighted person to dismiss it and see beyond.
All this was just intro, not the revelation. The revelation was that the people close to me sometimes surprise me with seeing themselves completely inaccurately. I’ve always had the audacity to spot it and even correct it, where such correction is not rude. But maybe this is indeed audacity on my part, and not their delusions? Maybe they too have private and truer selves that don’t come forth in social interaction? And it only appears a delusion to me because I only see their social self. Hm.
Alternatively, my private self is all a delusion too and my real self is that absolutely dull inhibited extremely proper super-quiet and slightly weird girl with no personality and a visible IQ of 90.
No and no. I can’t quite agree with either line of reasoning. People are indeed delusional at times. I’ve had numerous delusions about myself and probably still do (maybe the one above too about how I think my social self is perceived). It is good if they are corrected, particularly the negative ones. Positive delusions I rarely have the heart to correct. It’s like taking away a sugary dream and replacing it with emptiness.
On the other hand, maybe one should not dismiss these self-characterisations of others so readily as delusions, even if they contrast with the personality one knows. Maybe this person has layers one hasn’t had the chance to know yet. That’s the idea I’ve come away with after the realisation, I suppose.
PS. There is no way people are not delusional. Sometimes, it is so glaring it is grotesque how mistaken a person is about themselves. I must be as delusional. Though I’d like to think I was, but am no more. I probably flatter myself.
A year ago, I was propelled on a truth-seeking quest. I didn’t give that enthusiasm a long life, but it has endured and altered me. There is definitely a pre- and post-disillusionment self.
PPS. I was hesitant using the word ‘disillusionment’ last time. I figured later it was because of the common connotation of it having something to do with an idealist turning into a cynic. No, not that kind of disillusionment. I’m as Romantic as ever. Core nature and all that. It’s more of a veil having been lifted between myself and the way society works. My mind is like a computer-scanner now in spotting the patterns. It can become something you want to un-know though. It takes away from one’s humanity. Fortunately, it is not my only mode of thinking.