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Personality or Persona?

When you go through life do you show up in your most authentic self or in what you believe will get you by in whatever situation you are in?

A few days ago, I was looking up what it meant to have a personality. To go more in depth, I was trying to answer the question “Why do I feel as if I don’t have a personality?”

I remember being on Tiktok and someone made a post about how whenever they lost contact with all their recent group of peoples and no longer attended school etc, they felt as if they had lost themself; their identity was only present when around other people. Some people in the comments believed they “lost” themselves because they worried too much about their situational circumstances and they neglected taking the time to build a solid foundation (personality) for themselves that would be there no matter who came or went. Some believe that we have no core personality, and as we go through life we just pick up whatever we interact with and that’s it.

I believe that there is a core personality (person) within most people, but I also do believe some people don’t have the chance to create a concrete identity for themselves.

To have a personality is to create qualities that form your own distinctive character. Part of the personality is created based on the inborn combination of mental and emotional traits.The other half is created by us experiencing life and combining these experiences with our temperament qualities that create a unique and distinctive character.

To have a persona, is to simply portray yourself in a way that is most frequently a stray away from your most authentic self. It’s a mask that you use to get by from circumstance to circumstance without ever creating a solid personality (identity) if you are unaware that a persona is being used in the first place or get too attached to said persona.

As we go through life, it can be very easy to see that if you act a certain way, people will act another way in response to that. You find it easier to put on these personas as a way to fit in with these expectations that other people have of you.

The persona protects the ego by ridding of the things that may cause a negative perception of yourself. But once again becoming too attached to this identity can cause a lack of vision towards your true self.

As I’m trying to piece together childhood memories or trauma rather, and figure out my needs and wants in order to set proper boundaries for myself, I realized I've been living my life through personas. Literally ever since I was a kid.

From elementary, to seventh grade I lived through the “obedient, loves school shy girl” kind of trope. In eighth grade I remember when I first started slipping in school, I was playing around, I was slowly turning into the not so “shy” girl and I remember being afraid to answer the question “Do you still like school?” truthfully because I had always answered that question with one answer “Yes”. My entire high school career was a facade. When I really thought hard about it, I always told myself I never really tried to make myself fit in though I never tried to be myself either. I was just there. Whoever I was around that’s what “personality” I had. Or I felt if I was the “go to” friend, the outgoing friend, the giggly friend I would attract people to my being. Which I definitely did and I learned not quickly enough a lot of the people I kept around served me no good. Hell they still don’t really serve me any good. I got stuck in this persona, in this identity that allowed me to be reliable because I thought that was something of worth. It can be, but reliability without boundaries is a hell of a show.

Now, currently, I have no idea who I am. As I shift through personas, those that I realize no longer help my “public” image are discarded. And of course I could ask my friends, family, whoever what they think I am and I'm sure they will give me nice thoughtful answers about who they think I am, but a huge piece of me is starting to convince the rest that I’ve lied to everyone I knew and it wasn’t even purposely. I know at one point in my life my caregivers and those I surrounded myself with never really allowed me the space to grow and sprout into a healthy person. Now that it’s my responsibility I don’t know how to do it either. Part of me is afraid to do so.

And I'm sure like myself many of you were never given the space to create your own authentic being, so now the question is:

Are you willing to take the responsibility to shed yourself of ego, insecurities or whatever is holding you back? Are you ready to sprout into your distinctive character?

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