Have you noticed how when you ask someone about another person the first thing they do is launch into a description of the person's physical self. Since the first time we recognize ourself in the mirror we base our identity on our outer appearance.
Throughout our life we label ourselves, 'I'm an introvert', 'I am a reflective person' or 'I am funny', 'I'm this...I'm that'. We use these to describe ourself when we meet people for the first time. If its not a physical description then its what we do, our marital status, our hobbies.
But is that who we are?
We hide behind all these labels, as they prevent us from really looking inside and examining what lies beneath. We feel comfortable with the descriptions, a safety cushion that provides us with convenient scapegoats.
They become our justification for not changing or even making an effort to change.
But what happens when someone we love and care deeply about perceives us as different from the way we have marked ourselves in our head, we feel shaken and confused, and when someone whose opinion and their intelligence we respect we actually start doubting ourself.
Growing up, the picture we have of our self is governed by what we hear our loved ones describe us as and unconsciously we start to model ourself on those labels. So starts an anthology of personal mythologies. These are the voices we hear and we create our persona around them and use it to describe and classify all our actions.
To be totally honest about oneself is the most difficult thing that anyone can do and even if they do it - its one thing to know exactly who you are and another thing to let others see the real you.