Look Who’s Talking

126469561Just because I’m talking to myself, it doesn’t mean I’m listening. It’s not that I ignore myself entirely, it’s just that some of the voices inside my head are not saying things that I want to hear anymore. In particular, I’ve stopped listening to the critical, scolding voice that tells me incessantly that everything I do is wrong.

It took me a lifetime to realize that I am essentially three people. Most people only know me for the person I present to the world, the person I pretend to be. This is the “me” that I want the world to see – an optimistic, confident and happy person. But this “pretend me” mostly tries to conceal another person – my negative self-image. And buried somewhere deep in my psyche is a third “me”, the real and authentic person I was meant to be.

But by far the most important thing that I have ever discovered about myself is that my negative self-image is not the truth. It is not reality. It is the image of myself that was created by my childhood. It is the person who believes that he has done something terribly wrong and that is why his father abandoned him and his foster brother was taken away forever. It is the person created by my older sister who said I was worthless and beat me every day to remind me. It is the person who was locked in the cellar and told that the world would be a better place if he had never been born.

Every day of my life, my energy was focused on a battle between the person I wanted people to see and my negative self-image. There was no hope for the person that was truly me.

For years, I soaked up emotions but never let them show on the outside. Feelings circled inside me in a loop of rage and fear, helpless to change anything. Everything I did was to prove that I was not worthless. But I failed. Inside, I was still the worthless child, desperate for approval, afraid to make loving relationships for fear of rejection and abandonment.

It is the same for most of us. Only by knowing that our negative self-image is not the truth can we begin to rejoice in the person we truly are, the person we were meant to be. To know that love does not automatically result in rejection. To know that we are not worthless, that we have as much right to be here as anyone. To know that the world would not be a better place without us.

Picture yourself as you know yourself to truly be. Not the negative self-image that other people gave you. And not the person you pretend to be. Picture yourself in every detail and imagine the incredible thrill of what it would be like to be the real you.

Don’t get to the end of your life knowing that no one ever knew who you really were. The real you is longing to see the light of day.


  1. beautiful, haunting, inspiring and gut-wrenching. I love your honesty John. not many people in the world with courage like yours. standing ovation from me!

    • Well, that is the most wonderful response! It does make me nervous to be so honest about myself but I’ve jumped in with both feet so it’s too late now! Hope you can keep coming back. John

      • I certainly will John. Honesty is so refreshing in this age of technology, depersonalizing every action. We are all just a bunch of numbers until striking voices making us sit up and listen.

  2. another lesson learned! always spellcheck before hitting reply…lol

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