How to be who you are, online

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It's time to drop the act!

Perhaps it's time to drop the act because the fake persona that you've been carrying around doesn't cut it in social media or in the real world for that matter. It won't get you very far. Not anymore.

This is my story

I grew up in a foreign country, and in a home, I thought was my own; with a mother and brothers that bore no resemblance to me. They weren't relatives either. They didn't look anything like me. But I didn't know this. (Children are naturally oblivious of racial differences, they don't automatically see them.) I thought I lived at "home". It wasn't obvious to me that the warm, homey set-up wasn't really mine. On top of that, my birth mother visited every month or so, to check up on me and make sure I was doing OK. All I remember thinking at the time is that I wanted her to leave. Her way was different and we had no rapport. I never had the chance to bond with her the naturally.

My birth mother visited to nurture an ongoing relationship with me but it didn't work. Even at a young age, I knew she wasn't very good at expressing her care. I didn't feel her love for me. It was like she was just going through the motions. I didn't like her visits because I figured that I already had a mother, I mean, who was this woman? Although she looked like me, she didn't feel like a mother. The foster mother was my real mom, I thought! It confused me and caused me to have identity problems later in life. On top of this, I was molested by my adult foster brother at three, four years before I left that home. 

Although I lived a happy life there, (I was too young to understand the abuse and its effects until I grew older) most of my life, I've struggled to figure out who I am. I was raised in a white family but I'm black and my mother who is from a different part of the world, felt like a foreigner every time she visited.

The abuse from my foster brother caused me to have low self-esteem issues growing up. There was no intervention for me to try and smooth things over until I was already an adult. So, the erroneous information I learned from my foster brother about values, wasn't interrupted by therapy. Instead, it became ingrained into my subconscious.

Bad relationships

Then came the bad relationships I've had with abusive men for the better part of my life. It was the natural progression of things and I couldn't see what was wrong. there was an explosion of built up repercussions at one point and all hell let loose! I got a glimpse of what was wrong after that because I was forced to get to know who I am. I mean, I don't want a repeat performance.

It's taken years for me to sort things out emotionally and feel normal in my own skin. I had the wrong idea of what a relationship with a man is about and I've learned it the hard way because of a lack of timely intervention. I had to peel off the wrongly informed layers, slowly. It's taken years. It wasn't a fast process. 

Stop hiding

I say all of this to say that it's no skin off my nose to tell you the truth about me. if I'm honest, I find it quite therapeutic. There's no need to hide. We've all had experiences we'd rather not talk about but to do it is to embrace life. Now I am free.

Here are some ways for you to practice being yourself:

  1. Be honest and open
  2. Control negative thoughts
  3. Don't compare yourself to others
  4. Stop caring about how people perceive you
  5. Stop being a people-pleaser
  6. Surround yourself with positive people

The world is changing

The world is changing especially online. We can't usually see or touch a person but we know where they're coming from by what they say, and their level of congruency. Online, it's a level playing ground and people are not easily fooled if they're being honest with themselves. Cut the crap and get real. You'll be doing yourself a favor and you'll likely be more successful in the long run.


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