To Thine Own Self Be True

November 10, 2010

In the play called “Hamlet”, the character Polonius gives a last piece of advice to his son Laertes, who is in a hurry to get on the next boat to Paris, where he’ll be safe from his father’s long-winded speeches. Yes, I believe that Polonius and I have something in common, as far as long winded speeches go. :-p

But this little piece of advice in William Shakespeare’s play is very wise, all jokes aside. The advice goes:

This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.

And in my own experiences, honesty is everything and it’s very important. To be yourself, your honest self, and not false to anyone is the only right way to be. I, personally, make it a point to be myself with others. I rather a person get to know the huge key things about me on the first weeks of meeting them. I do share what my religious beliefs are, my age and race (if online),  my personally flaws, and anything else that a person may have an issue with. I believe in giving a person a fair chance on knowing these things, just in case I’m not the type they would like to be bothered with. I am myself and I hide nothing on purpose, only to strangers on the internet. For example, in this blog, I don’t post the major details about my daily personal life or self.  But, in person or privately, I do share with those that I am interested in becoming friends with.

In my past, I have been in a lot of unfortunate friendships and romantic relationships. The key problem in ALL of them was, the persons decided to not be themselves or to give me a fair chance to decide if they were my type to date or to be friends with. There was a sneaky game, where the person would pretend to be someone that they knew or thought I would like. I would grow close to this “mask”, a personality that wasn’t the truth of a person. And once I was sure that person was a close friend (or fell madly in love with a  guy), then the mask would be removed and the person would announce their “true-self”.

I’m all for people being real and their true selves, always. It’s the whole thought behind this blog entry, after-all! But, I highly find it deceptive and unfair (if not a little cruel), when a person holds honesty as a bargaining chip, a tool for manipulation.  If a person wants to be accepted for their true-self, it might be best to present their true self from the start! Not to play a game of giving a person what you think they want, then when it seems like the person is invested, switch it out for something different. Even in business, the old bait and switch will get a person in deep legal trouble. It’s no different for moral laws either. :-/

When these friends or boyfriends of the past dropped the mask, becoming who they really were, it did startle me. Sometimes, the change was so extremely opposite from what they had presented, that it was downright painful. Like the man who claimed to be a safe and G-rated gentleman, claiming that he looked out for women as “little sisters” and not sex objects. I had agreed to be his friend, as I needed a safe and non-sexual friend at the time. I had just came out of a rough romantic relationship and just needed a neutral pal. He often told many women publicly that he was no sex-fiend and that he  was raised to treat women with respect and to look out for them. The real truth of it was, the guy was a total pervert, who talked about his body parts A LOT when alone with a woman. :-o

But, the worse thing of it is, many of these manipulators do expect a person to deal with the “new” or true them! They often try to use emotional blackmail, by shouting, “You’re suppose to be my friend! If you were, you would accept me as myself!” Though, the only problem with that argument is, the person wasn’t themselves and wasn’t honest from the start. Had they’ve just been themselves in the beginning, most likely I wouldn’t have chosen them for friends or boyfriends. Or if I had, I would have known of the personality flaws and had a fair chance to decide if I could handle it. I DON’T believe a person can change another and I never start relationships thinking that I can shape that person into what I want them to be. What I see is what I get! So, if I can’t handle what I see, I move on and don’t start any kind of commitment with that person, friendship or romantic.

But if a person shows a false image, and I’m unaware that it’s not the truth, it’s that image that I am making my decisions on, building all of my trust and emotions on. And once that false image is shattered, then everything else goes with it, my commitment and emotional ties. So, it’s best to be honest and show your true-self from the start!

I once had an ex-boyfriend lie to me about himself, his personality, his experiences, even the way he spoke was false. He also lied to hide the fact that he had a girlfriend and was still living with her. I was horrified, as I’m always honest and upfront with others, and I was 110% honest with him. I had even shared with him things that were painful and way too personal to me, because he seemed to be so genuine. I had wanted to make sure that he knew the truth about me, so that he could have a fair chance on whether he wanted to date me or not.  But when I found out the truth about him, his proper accent went out the window and a very “street” accent began, his true way of speaking. When I asked him why did he put on the act, he said, “If I was myself, would you give me a chance? I’ll answer it for you – no, you wouldn’t. Can’t you see? I did it for us!”

I didn’t fall for his appeal, to agree that it was okay for him to pretend to be someone else, in order for me to be in a relationship with him. The fact was, I had fallen for the person that he was not, which he presented himself as a law-abiding guy who was loyal and highly protective of women. He even came with a story of how he grew up with a bunch of sisters, no brothers, so he was more sensitive to the needs of women more so than most men. So this street-thug (who had did some jail-time a few months before I met him), who had nothing and still lived with his girlfriend, yet was cheating on her with me didn’t have a chance or my sympathies. If I had known him for his true self, I NEVER would have dated him in the first place.

And it’s the same feeling for those I had called “friends” in the past. Once the true-selves broke free, their appeal that I should still be their friend fell on deaf ears. I’m way too smart to keep believing in the lie (the false personality) and to ignore the truth. That’s when I have no choice, but to adjust my decisions accordingly, to match the truth and reality of the situation. And it’s always painful, because that person had wasted my time and took advantage, like learning things of me that I would never care to share.  And they’ve also wasted their own time too.

The lesson is, always be yourself. Even if you believe that your true self would be rejected. It’s better to be rejected NOW, than to cause pain and confusion for someone and to be rejected later. The truth always have a way of coming out, no matter how much you try to hide it. It’s best to give people a fair chance on accepting you for you, instead of manipulating others into liking a person that you are far from being. With all good relationships, the foundation is built on honesty and trust, not lies and deceit.




  1. I’ve never understood the pretending to be someone else thing. Especially in romantic relationships. It almost seems as if it’s the norm to pretend at the beginning. I think it’s probably another thing I never learned about because of my generally sheltered existence. Another thing I don’t understand is a lot of couples seem to be in a power struggle or competition more than a relationship. It seems weird to me that you would want to be with someone if you can’t be yourself or it’s not a partnership of some kind. I can’t really speak from experience never being in a romantic relationship myself, but I’ve heard and seen so many things that other couples have said and done and I fail to see why they bother. I’d rather be platonic friends than bitter lovers.

  2. Yep, you can’t really beat the platonic relationships. Way less drama than the romantic. But then again, maybe that’s just my experience. ;-)

    It is sad that it seems like it’s the norm, to pretend in the start of relationships. However, I was never one to follow the trends or norms. So, I have hope that my love-life won’t always be a train-wreck. Someday, I’m bound to find a truthful guy who fits my norms and trends. :-p

    But for now, I’m not worried about the romantic. I’m more focused on honest platonic friendships, these days. ;-)

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