“Persona” – derived from Latin, meaning mask or character in a drama.
Do you don a different persona for work, family or friends?
Will “the real” you please stand up?
We define ourselves by the multiple roles we play—career, social, political, family (spouse, parent, child, sibling), etc.
We end up with different sets of behavior for the various people and contexts in our lives. This doesn’t mean that we suffer multiple personality disorder in the clinical sense. But if our various “roles” take us out of integrity with ourselves, it is time to pay attention. We will discuss here how to assess and access the ability to be deeply authentic in every situation, and offer tips for integrating the various aspects of personality.
Shaking the Past
When we maintain a role or a persona that no longer suits us, what was once spontaneous and sincere behavior becomes an unquestioned routine habit.
Frequently we continue habits, patterns, and roles from the past. This can cause an inner conflict (usually subconscious) between our self-image and outer persona. You may find that you are still “Daddy’s little girl,” even if you are a mature, responsible woman.
Giving Away Power
Many women (and men) behave according to the expectations of those around them in an effort to meet the approval of others.
Taken to the extreme, some may not even know what they want because they are so accustomed to trying to meet the expectations of others. A conscientious businesswoman may continue to allow her boss to treat her in a condescending manner, simply because she fears his authority. If she is confident in the quality of her work, then her confidence seems incongruous with expected workplace norms such as humility. Patterns like these may extend to other areas of life, such as marriage or friendships.
We tend to give away our power when we don’t see any other options. Do you assume you have to stay in a job you hate, or an unhappy relationship? Although there are many things we can’t control, including other people, we do have the ability to change our attitude and response to any given situation.
Learn the NineSteps to Take Control
Strong Desire to Fit In
Fear of rejection, desire to please and “fit in” are common motivations for giving away personal power.
These feelings are natural in high school, as we try on our adult personalities and seek acceptance from our peers. As adults, we continue to seek professional, cultural and social acceptance but do it more subtly. Naturally, etiquette is required in professional settings and other social situations for a smoothly running society, but often women exercise such a high level of decorum to their detriment.
Women tend to be people pleasers.
This tendency may be partially attributable to physiology, the biological role of giving birth and nurturing children. The needs of our children require us to adapt and frequently make personal sacrifices for them, a necessary phase of dependency in early childhood. Many women continue to put their own needs last, even if they have no children, or after their children are grown. They put their husbands’ or partners’ desires first, eager to please, to be liked and loved.
A level of self-awareness, healthy boundaries, and good self-esteem are needed to be in full integrity with oneself and to release outdated roles.
Do you have a level of self-awareness necessary to free yourself from outdated roles? Find out by taking the “Are You a Chameleon” Quiz!
Take the “Chameleon Quiz