A month or so ago, one of my professors discussed the notion of the self. He began by telling us that when he was a student, he had a professor who at some point asked him and his classmates to think of when they are themselves the most: when they’re by themselves, or when they’re with other people? He then continued to say that while he did think of this question as a very interesting one, he later realized that it made little sense to ask it, since each one of us has multiple selves, not just one.
However, it is still true, or so I believe (and feel free to disagree with me), that some of these selves are …well, let’s just say, not as real as others. Sometimes we do and say things that we don’t necessarily consider to be true, and that we definitely don’t think are in line with who we really are.
Keeping this in mind, it’s easy to think that when we come home, out “masks” come off, and we finally become who we truly are, not having to hide our feelings, thoughts, and finally being able to do as we please, and speak our minds. But is this really true?
Again, I’ll come back to the idea of multiple selves: it doesn’t means that if you act differently around different people, you’re lying about who you truly are. It simply means that you’re elastic when it comes to which shades of your personality you’re going to let shine at that particular moment. For instance, if you’re with someone who you know doesn’t like a certain type of jokes, then you’re much more likely to not make them (that is, if you care about that person).
Now, it may well be that some of the time, you’re going to lie, thus covering your self, or that particular shade of your self, with a mask. Perhaps some circumstances make it more likely for you to do so than others. Regardless, this doesn’t mean that you’re not being your true self when you’re with your friends, simply because you’re not the same when you’re with them as when you’re alone. Those are simply two different versions of yourself.