Do you put on a good show?


Putting on a happy face (image courtesy of Google images)

We all do it, and probably most of the time, whether we’d like to admit it or not.  We put on a good show to the world, that’s not really our true selves.

Maybe we do this because:

  • we think that’s the role in life we think we should be playing – a responsible parent who needs take care of the family, a  consultant who feels they had better appear that they always know more than their clients, the ‘positive’ friend who always holds up everyone else, or the ‘good’ daughter who can’t do any wrong.
  • we’re unsatisfied with our image of ourselves
  • we want people to see us in a particular way
  • we are hurting or unhappy, and just don’t want people to know
  • we need to cover up what is bothering us or what we would rather not face.

There are countless reasons and we’re all unique, and our life situation continuously changes.

Dr. Joe Dispenza teaches “Do you know what a mid-life crisis is?”  It’s when the gap between who you really are and who you are portraying to the world gets really big, and you no longer feel like yourself.  My next post will discuss this.

Countless times I have heard people say ‘I need to be strong’ and ‘I’m trying to be positive’ but I can tell they are hurting inside.

There are certainly appropriate situations to put on a brave face to the world.  However, have you noticed that if you put on a ‘good show’ for a long time, it’s exhausting?  Keeping up the facade takes a great deal of energy.  And also it pulls you farther away from your true self, which in my opinion, weakens your spirit.

Perhaps ask yourself:  “How much does my outside appearance match my inside self?”

And “How does that feel?”

It’s worthwhile asking yourself these questions.  When your outside more closely matches your inner self, you will feel more comfortable and at home.  I know I have learned this in the last several years, and dropping the facade has made a big difference in my life.  It takes self-awareness and confidence to be OK being who you really are.


22 thoughts on “Do you put on a good show?

  1. It’s so hard to be yourself with a job. I used to work for a big insurance company and when they would ask my opinion or for feedback, I would be truthful. But they didn’t want to hear the truth. They just wanted to hear what a great idea the products were and how much I could sell them. It made me have to pretend. Absolutely exhausting!

    • Hi Lois, thanks for sharing your experience. I think it’s near impossible to be 100% authentic, 100% of the time. In the case that you describe, it’s really a choice you are making – telling them what they want to hear or likely be out of a job. It’s understandable how you chose to be in that case. And yes, it IS exhausting!

      Thank you Lois,

  2. I think a related phenomena is that of the difference between our online identities and our real ones. I have a friend who is a young Chinese female who’s online persona is an elderly African man. If you spend time in Second Life or other virtual worlds, you find that most people are nothing like their real selves. Personally, this feels deceptive to me. My online name is always my name or something close and my avatars are always as close as possible to my real self. This gives me a sense of groundedness, while pretending to be someone else makes me feel creepy. Last week I was having lunch with a couple of single women and we were talking about how the men they meet rarely match their puffed-up online dating site personas. I have also read studies that show many people’s resumes contain embellishments, exaggerations or entirely fabricated experiences. Taken together, this suggests that many people construct false selves in many situations. I can’t help but think that this must lead to a fragmented sense of identity. To people saying things like, “I don’t even know who I am anymore.”

    I have no suggestions for this – it’s just an observation – but a very wise retired doctor and psychologist told me once that “all dysfunctional behaviour arises from an inability to accept and deal with things as they are.” That is one of the most profound things I have ever heard. The more you think about this, the more you can see the truth in it. Addictions, obsessions, compulsions, phobias, denial, compulsive lying, eating disorders, uncontrollable anger, acting out and any other dysfunctions are all, at their deepest level, rooted in an inability to deal with and accept reality as it is. Taken another way, mental health can be defined as being able to accept the world as it is and yourself as you are – good and bad. Of course, we should continue trying to make the world a better place, but along the way, it is better to face the world with clear eyes and unaltered perceptions.

    • Hi Ken,

      Interesting observations and thanks for sharing. I saw a Ted Talk recently on ‘lie spotting’ and how people tell little white lies every day. The degree to which people consider something a ‘little white lie’ or not is subjective, isn’t it.


  3. My meditation practise has helped me to feel more sadness and joy. Breathing in my own and others pain and breathing out relief, helps me to be more compassionate toward myself and others. I have learned that feeling our own pain and the pain of others, no matter how great or small, must be taken seriously and lightly. When we ease (breathe) into the pain, rather than turning away, we begin to relax with the difficulty. When we feel ourselves expand, we can begin to hold everything life throws at us. Life becomes less heavy and our hearts more tender. We can carry the suffering more effortlessly because we are no longer expending energy on keeping up the false self. As the gap begins to close, we spontaneously feel more joy and no longer have to work at being positive and happy.

    • Kim, this is beautifully explained from the heart. I imagine one of the sources that inspires you in this regard is MBSR (Mindfulness-based stress reduction). Mindfulness starts with being present & aware but goes deeper into practices that help us understand and deal with physical and emotional pain.

      It is powerful and enlightening, and I’m so glad you have shared this. It’s a curious topic, and a strangely powerful one, to practice not pushing away pain but instead feel it and allow it to be.

      Thank you so much for sharing this Kim. I hope it embarks some to learn more about this.
      You have a lovely spirit,

      • Actually, it was InspireHealth, the integrated cancer care center in Vancouver, that inspired me to begin the practise of meditation and more precisely the practise of Lojong meditation. The MBSR classes have been valuable as well.

  4. Thank you Wendy for pointing out the relationship between vulnerability and authenticity. Being authentic is not for the faint of heart. It requires effort and risk. But it’s worth it.

    • Hello Soul Doula, nice observation actually. You’re right, being authentic isn’t easy and it’s risky. It usually challenges the relationships you have with people – “Will they like the authentic me?”.

      Nice comment, thank you,

  5. I agree being yourself is important, I also think many of us are launched out of the womb with an already inclined can of negative biological soup that we can be imprisoned by if we do not do some intentional work to overcome. Deciding who we want to be is not an easy task if there is negative biological and possibly environmental momentum especially during development which is a sensitive period. It is possible to forge an intentional life out of a poor hand (so to speak). The flip side of the coin, which I think you are alluding to, is not being trapped by the expectations of the people in your close social circles to be somebody your not. That pretension energy drains the energy needed to carve out something more authentic. We need to have trusted capable people committed to our best life at the heart of our relational core, and we need to offer that as well to the best of our ability. IMO (I have no monopoly on insight, this is just the best I have as far as perspective right now)

    • Hello Wisdom of Life,

      Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. Your insights are important for people to hear.

      Yes, I am suggesting that the idea is not being trapped by the expectations of people around you, or society. If we follow what we assume is expected, we are not being true to ourselves and living an authentic life. I know this isn’t always easy. It does take time and inner reflection to even know who we really are. I’ve done the ‘work’ of this reflection and it took me years, and the help from many ‘teachers’ along the way.

      It’s all worthwhile though. We shouldn’t expect to be perfect but the closer we get to being our authentic selves, the better we feel.

      Thank you so much for commenting, and have a wonderful day,

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