2 min read
No one knows the real me and I’ve been living this double life that I can’t even begin to explain. It is daunting to think that all of my relationships are based on lies. How do I begin to discover who I really am when I’ve been living a lie?
Dr. Holland’s Reply:
I would encourage you to not be so hard on yourself about it. Anytime we have a personal insight about ourselves (particularly if it is an unflattering one), there is always the temptation to then reflect back and judge ourselves very harshly.
You may have thoughts like: I am living a lie. I should have known better! How could I have been so foolish?
Despite the natural temptation to indulge in this kind of thinking, such reactions are unfair and counter-productive.
Life is a constant search for self-discovery. And you want to reward yourself for being more insightful about yourself, rather than punishing yourself.
I know that is easier said than done, but I’d suggest taking some time to consider how this new, more honest self might interact meaningfully with the people in your life. How can you begin to gently introduce this ‘truer self’ to others? What do you worry would happen if you were more honest? How might you conduct an experiment to put your assumptions to the test?
Taking these kinds of steps may sound scary, but if you can embrace the challenge of it, the journey can be an exhilarating.
You have the opportunity to explore a whole new side of yourself that you have been neglecting. You are growing!
If life has meaning and purpose, I must imagine that it has something to do with the very kind of growth, struggle, and self-revelation that you are describing here. So rather than beat yourself up for your new insights, rejoice in them!
You may find our articles on taming your inner critic, re-thinking negative thinking, finding meaning in relationships, and tuning into your ‘third ear’ helpful. I wish you the best in your personal journey!
This question and response were originally published on Quora.