Authenticity isn’t something we have or dont have. It’s a practice – a conscious choice about how we want to live. Authenticity is a collection of constant choices we make every day. It’s the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen. -Brene Brown
Split personality syndrome in this non-psychological or academic sense to me: is when you are not being authentically your whole self in every place, space and environment you might be evolved in. Let me flip that around. It is being a specific and narrow version of you or what you think people expect you to be – in each or different situations.
Let me share my experience
I hate the name my parents gave me, once I turned 18 actually maybe even 17; I stopped introducing myself that way. I had a nickname and it stuck. With my friends, basically anyone I met who I didn’t work with, called me Phlossy… And I loved it. 20 year old Phlossy was the wild colourful party girl who was outrageous, and a complete socialite. The name fit. BUT – I had a day job, a nine to five, bill paying occupation for a very large health insurance company and I talked to their customers. Phlossy definitely wasn’t who they had hired, or who they wanted to have working for them. They wanted the “normal” or responsible employee. This didn’t involve bright pink hair, and active and alternative social life. So when I got a promotion off the front line staff, I wore a wig to work for 365+days. I didn’t talk about any of my life outside of work. I didn’t talk about my sexuality, my hobbies or what I did last night. As time went on, this WORK & NOT WORK split in my life became more and more pronounced.
Because I felt like I had two personalities, I almost felt that my skill sets were split up too and “The Boring” me had the office skills, the corporate knowledge, where as “Phlossy” was an event manager, networked, volunteered, and performed. It was almost a left brain right brain split. Imagine what I could have been bringing to the table ANYWHERE I was involved if I had branded these skills and passions with an over-arching theme that tied all my skills into on succinct and complimentary package? By being scared to be the creative me at work, I didn’t get involved in events, I was shy, and steered very clear of any kind performance or standing out or up for myself.
I has a split personality (two identities) for over 10 years, YES 10 years. I am now in my 30’s and recently I legally changed my name to Florence, or Flossy for short. When someone speaks to me at work I hear my name, and I feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Having the courage be called by the name I chose myself, has had a tickle on effect to the rest of my confidence.
I’m backing myself. I stand up for my opinions and say NO if I really don’t agree rather than just smiling and nodding – and feeling terrible inside. I am also using SO much more of my right brain creativity in my day job, film, photography and a bit of graphic design. THIS is exciting!! It has also had an effect on my business also! All my normal “work” left brain skills that I picked up in the corporate world I am implementing now for myself! My attention to detail, organising my finances, writing business plans, and marketing strategies – not something the 20 year old Phlossy would be seen dead doing. But something that an AUTHENTIC ME really enjoys.
Being true to myself, finding my voice has been a huge journey, and this is just a really tiny overview, but I’m a more powerful, valuable, and successful person now is a delight.
Where to start? How do I become authentically ME?
I think this different me in different spaces is more common than we think. How many people do you know or work with that you know almost NOTHING about? Step one to being Authentically YOU – find one small thing that would make you feel more completely you – and share it. For me – it was my Name – I asked everyone to call me Florence, and updated all the remaining paperwork! It might be bringing a skill across if you have a left brain /right brain (creative, analytical split) and sharing that between your worlds!
One time I made list of things that described the person I was at work, that my family wanted me to be, then the list of things that described me as the person I was as Phlossy (at the time) … now looking back I am living that beautiful combination. By merging one tiny thing at a time, it’s less overwhelming and easier to achieve without feeling like you want to run away under a rock!
If you are one of these people who keep parts of your life completely separate I want to hear from you!!