Posted by: Marie | April 1, 2010

(282) Reader Input: Who are you?

Post #282

Solicitation for Reader Input

Something that has recently come to my attention is that I spend a huge part of my time and energy on protecting myself and my “territory”. I am so afraid of being “squashed” that I never get to relax and “just be” with people. I have never allowed the “real me” to come out and play.

I have been making a conscious choice these past few weeks to set aside the barbed wire for a while (not forget it or leave it behind, just set it aside for a while) and to explore who I am underneath all this protective shell. I want to share the “real me” with other people — not just the pain and the anger and the lashing out, but the fun and the creativity and the heart.

I’m struggling with knowing how to begin this process of exploring “who I am”. I think I could start with asking myself what I really want in life . . . but I’m even struggling with that because I’ve been in survival mode for so long that I have forgotten what I really desire.

So, I’m curious . . . when all of you want to get clear on who you are . . . or, when you want to learn the “real deal” about another person . . . what questions do you ask?

How do you figure out what desires are fear-driven and what are passion-driven?

How do you differentiate between the “real” person and the “defensive” person?

Does there need to be a certain level of safety before you or the other person can share the “real” parts? If so, how do you create that sense of safety?

When I take a quick glance at the “real me”, all I see is a lot of pain. What steps can I take to move through that pain and see the joyful parts of the real me? What has or hasn’t worked for you?

I really want to hear your thoughts!! Please send me your comments!


  1. From a lifetime of learning, I don’t ask questions – it gives the person more of a chance to lie. I find people more interesting if I can just comment about something and let them talk about themselves. It’s a wonderful way to get to know the real person. It also gives me a chance to determine my pros and cons about the person. I need a gread deal of safety before I let the real me out. I think everyone is that way to an extent. I have to be comfortable first – which is why all sex and physical contact is not allowed until that level of comfort is found. I think, seriously, why would I have sex with someone I can’t get comfortable around? Of course, I’m older, and I understand that most young people nowadays mate before they date, but I wouldn’t. [gets down off of soapbox] :)

    • Hey, Ivory –

      I can see the value in letting a person talk about what they will . . . it would be revealing to see what he or she chooses to talk about!

      And, I hear what you are saying about needing safety in order to let the real you out . . . I understand that well!

      Thank you for your input!

      – Marie

  2. For myself it is about what captures my attention, what I think about in idle moments. I use journalling (I understand in words).

    With others – I watch. I enjoy others who are relaxed with themselves. I see if they are hard on themselves or judgemental of others.

    Sometimes its easier to try out stuff with people I’ll never meet again. Other times I need someone I trust very deeply.

    When people’s words and actions don’t match I find it hard to trust them.

    • Hey, Evan –

      Wow . . . a great thought in every paragraph! It sounds like you have put a lot of careful effort into being self-aware and aware of others . . .

      I value your conclusions and I’m glad you are sharing them with us! Thank you!

      – Marie

  3. I don’t like asking people questions because I like when people just talk naturally from their heart. I love to observe people because I tend to see a lot more about them than them telling me about themselves. I have also found in my life so far is that the people I am closest to are the people who know a deeper part of me that I shared in the beginning of a relationship. I take a great deal of caution with EVERYONE I meet or come in contact with, I think because I’m still in that “survival” mode sometimes, and a lot of times that hinders me from really being able to get to know them because I am so cautious. I definitely feel that there needs to be a sense of safety because if you don’t feel safe, then there will be no progression in a relationship. If there is fear, there cannot be love.

    • Hi, Bee –

      It sounds like your experience is very attuned to safety . . . but that you are open to sharing close moments with people who will treat you with respect.

      I recognize that we often have to protect ourselves by being cautious, so I am glad you are willing to take some careful risks!

      Thank you for your input!

      – Marie

  4. I may be the odd one out here thus far, in that I do ask a lot of questions; not to lead conversation, but to clarify it. I tend to be hyperaware of contradictions in things people say, and also aware when someone hits a zone or subject that is important to them. Sometimes I ask challenging questions to discover whether a dissonance is deliberate (a lie, in other words), or something unconscious; I almost always ask leading questions when someone is on a topic they feel passionate about.

    I think it is pretty easy to distinguish passion-drive vs. fear-driven desires, just based on how they are phrased. There’s a big difference between “I don’t want to be alone” vs. “I want to experience intimacy.” :-)

    • Hey, David –

      You know, I am with you on the “asking questions” part. I always want to know more . . . I like it when people are willing to talk about what is important to them. And yes, it is easy for me to feel for dissonance or congruence.

      Thanks for your input!

      – Marie

  5. Had a hard time with this myself. During recent trauma therapy I had some very special sessions to figure what qualities I give myself, what qualities others give me to which I could agree after thinking and discussing them and qualities I get credited for but would not see them inside me. I was in the fortunate situation of having all sorts of symbols available to work with. I guess utilising small pads on which you write a quality would work too. Afterwards I got asked on which on I rely mostly (all of those I had chosen were based in my professional life!!!!) and which qualities I use for private life, or which one I consider to expand or to not use that often anymore. It was a very hard and very emotional exercise. And so very rewarding. Hugs from Germany, Paula

    • Hi, Paula –

      What an empowering exercise . . . it seems that it would allow you to give yourself credit for the resources and skills you have already developed while giving you a roadmap for developing others.

      I appreciate your input . . . all the way from Germany! BTW, most of my ancestors came from Germany . . . maybe we are cousins! LOL

      – Marie

  6. I’m starting to ask myself questions too. Questions that are hard to answer. I believe that we have chosen our life lessons before we were born. That in itself brings a lot of questions not just about who we are, but who other people are and what their roles are. Because, just like I have chosen my life, those around me have chosen to be participants in my life and play a role in it just as I have chosen to play a role in their life.

    Maybe if you chose to ask questions with this philosophy in mind, you will be led down a new path of thinking and a new way to ask yourself questions.

    Hope this helps!

    Oh, I always think of you when I listen to Brandi Carlile “Dreams”. It’s such a beautiful song!

    • Hi, JoAnn –

      In the more recent years of my life, I have been leaning toward the same philosophy . . . I’m not ready to say I buy into it totally, but it does make quite a bit of sense to me.

      I also believe in multiple lifetimes, so that philosophy fits even better within that belief structure . . .

      I appreciate your input! Very thought provoking!

      – Marie

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