Over on my other website, sarahkbrandis.com, I set myself a blogging challenge. When I did that I was operating as my ‘Marketing Persona’ – an extension of my professional image. I absolutely had my business hat on.
And so I am over here on my psychology and personal development blog, operating as my ‘writer persona’, wearing a different hat to carry out said blogging challenge.
This gave me a great jumping off point for the first of my many September blog posts. Today I want to write about our many personas; or the different hats we wear. And I’m wondering if having these different facets to our outer appearance may be one of these two things:
- Could it be inauthentic? Are we putting on different hats to please different people, or to present ourselves differently in accordance with what society, our employers, or our family expect from us?
- Could it actually be super-authentic? Are we finding an outlet for each of our interests in appropriate places by taking on and off our ‘hats’ depending on the circumstances?
I’m going to argue for option 2, and do so by making a distinction between hats and masks.
I might be stretching the metaphor a little here, but bear with me. I’m thinking of a hat as an embellishment, and a mask being something that we hide behind; with the latter being inauthentic. Not because we are actively choosing to be so, but because outside forces pressure us to feel we can’t show our real selves.
For myself, choosing to put on a hat is almost pre-framing and setting the scene for my day. If I’m meeting with a client, I put on my professional hat. How does it look? Well, I dress a little smarter, but still like me. I speak a little better, meaning I enunciate and try not to swear! But I still let my sense of humour out to play and I still speak my mind.
I used to wear a mask to work, and you know what, I wasn’t happy. Not one little bit. As a happy and confident person, I wear hats, not masks.
Do you feel that you have to put on a mask sometimes? Does it make you feel inauthentic, unhappy, or trapped?
What is the worst thing that could happen if you took that mask off? And more to the point, what is worse than being unhappy?
Today’s conclusion: You can leave your hat on… as long as it makes you happy!