Recognizing When Your Act Is Harmful

We all have “acts” or masks we put on to help us in different situations—for work, for interacting with friends, even for church. “Acts” aren’t necessarily a bad thing and can be quite helpful. The problem arises when we let the “act” become our identity, forgetting who we really are. Here’s an example of how one woman’s “act” took over her life.

When Irene was in her twenties, she had a decent job that she didn’t really like. She felt stuck because she didn’t know what she wanted from life. She fell in with a group of women friends who seemed to have it all together—jobs they loved, great boyfriends, expensive tastes—and they were always ready to have fun.

Feeling that if she pretended to be like these women, she would figure herself out. They all seem to have done so. She donned her mask to be like her friends—buying the same clothes, getting similar haircuts … you get the picture. She went with them to expensive restaurants and nightclubs and had a great time. She was having so much fun, she didn’t want to think about what she really wanted in life, even when she felt alone while with her group of friends.

After a while, Irene found herself deep in debt and had to step back from spending so much time with her friends. While disappointed at first, after a few months she realized it was a blessing. She’d lost track of herself trying to be like these women who seemed so put together. Not only had she not figured out what she wanted in life, she seemed to have regressed to being a teenager—living for the moment. She began to suspect that those friends she admired were just as big a mess as she was.

While working to pay off her debt, Irene took the time to appraise herself and was able to get to know her true self. Once she was in touch with her core personality, she was able to understand what she really wanted out of life and began to pursue it on her own.