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28 Answers

aviona's avatar

You mean when?

Macaulay's avatar

No. How. What holds you back?

squirbel's avatar

I consistently pretend to be shy/withdrawn to mask the fact that I think everyone is below me. I hate cocky people, and so I mask my own.

KalWest's avatar

wow – you’re cocky? I kinda thought you were shy and withdraw…......... oh wait, i see… DANG! ;-)

kenmc's avatar

You can’t not be yourself. No matter how you act, you’re still you. It might not fit into expectations of you, but it’s still you in that meat bag.

Bluefreedom's avatar

I’m not myself either when I’m having an out-of-body experience or I’m suffering from a schizophrenic episode. All other times, I’m okay, you’re okay.

aviona's avatar

I don’t think I know myself well enough. I’m bipolar. So when I’m feeling high and up I wish that were me and I want to capture it in a jar and keep it for always. But then I go down and feel terrible and don’t feel like myself either.
I guess, usually I feel the strangest when I am coming out of a slump. When I’m feeling really great after having felt really depressed for a while. I go, “How was that me? I’m fine! Look at me!”

nebule's avatar

I am not myself when I realise that I have let the world take over my inner knowing this happens rather regularly

Milladyret's avatar

I am not myself, and that’s because I’m to shy to be who I really am all the time.
I’m terrified that someone might think I’m stupid…

So I dress in fancy clothes and I seem well adapted on the outside, but on the inside I’m scared of what people think of me. How silly is that!

charliecompany34's avatar

i am not myself when i do not realize how i got from point A to point B in my car or truck.

i am also not myself when i am hungry. i have a jekyl and hyde personality. if i go hours without food, i become angry and grouchy and full of cuss words. i snap at people. i need peanuts and i need them now!

Macaulay's avatar

I am not myself because I’m afraid I still can’t answer this question.

Jude's avatar

Fear of failing holds me back.

YARNLADY's avatar

I am not myself, because I still see myself as a vibrant, easy going, 40 year old, and those days are long past for me.

flameboi's avatar

i’m always myself… for better or worse….

alossforwords's avatar

Some of you have been watching a little too much I Heart Huckabees…

You are yourself, and everything that you do is exactly what you would do because you do it. After you’ve done it, it is exactly what you did, because you did it regardless of perspective or perception. I can prove it, because I just did, which is very me of myself.

I want to beat Wes Anderson with my shoe now.

YARNLADY's avatar

@alossforwords You speak for yourself. Unless you are a mind reader, you cannot possibly know what our real self is. All you can comment on/see is the self that presents in public.

alossforwords's avatar

@YARNLADY I don’t have to know. If you do it it is a part of yourself. Even the mask is a projection of your self. There is a reason (I believe) behind and for everything that humans do. The brain is a computer as I was just commenting on another question. Physically harm it and it stops working. Increase stress and it responds in predictable fashions. We haven’t evolved beyond monkeys enough to understand it, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t beyond reason. Stored in those brain cells and that flow of biochemical electricity is your complicated and simple “self”. I don’t have to specifically know why you do what you do, but if you do it, it will affect you because everything does.

Once again I agree with Vonnegut, “Be careful what you pretend to be, because you are what you pretend to be.”

PS: I can read minds. And yes, we evolved from monkeys regardless of what your 8th grade science teacher taught you.

YARNLADY's avatar

@alossforwords Ah, now we get to the “what is the definition of self” part

alossforwords's avatar

Touche… I must admit I targeted this question with some contempt because I’ve heard it a million times. It is a matter of definition.

wundayatta's avatar

I find this to be a rather interesting subject. I used to have this kind of reductionist point of view like @alossforwords has. Whatever the person does, that who they are. And you can look at it the same: whatever I do and think, that’s who I am.

How could it be otherwise? How could a person be not themselves? Well, as I say, there’s certain reductionistic logic to that. It puts things in a nice box, wraps it up with a bow and everything, and voila! A self.

I’m 52 now, and for 50 years of my life, that was my point of view. I was myself. All I did and thought was me. It had a kind of consistency that was reassuring. I had a stable identity and personality. I behaved in pretty much the same way when faced by various common situations. I solved problems in a particular, highly recognizable daloonish kind of way.

Then something strange started happening. First it was kind of cool. My brain started working faster and faster. I could understand things instantly—highly complext things. I could talk usefully about new ideas that I encountered in an environment rife with experts of all kinds.

It was weird. I kept doubting myself. How could these people be taking me seriously? Was I talking too much? Stepping in where I had no business stepping in?

Then I started acting in a kind of addictive way. I was, a married man with kids, searching obsessively for women on the internet. I met some. I fell in love six times in six months. I would go up and down. Incredible highs when someone new fell in love with me, and crashing lows when it all fell apart.

I grew more and more erratic and irritable. I began to feel worse and worse about myself. I didn’t deserve happiness. I didn’d deserve a wonderful wife and kids. I didn’t deserve my job, and anyway, I was no good at it.

Did I say wtf? Not a bit. I didn’t question it at all. I was me. I am me.

My wife got really worried about me, and even I was worried about myself. I had a referral to a shrink, but I hadn’t acted on it. Then my wife got involved after I started telling her some of the things I’d been doing. She asked friends in the business, and she got a recommendation for a shrink, and got me rushed into it.

Of course, by that time, I knew what it was, and the shrink confirmed it. And the meds started. Lithium at first. It stabilized me somewhat. Then they added Welbutrin which brought me almost out of my depression, but couldn’t quite get me back to “normal.” Finally, lamictal.

Now, I’m myself again. And yet… When I asked, on here, who I was, Harp said the most useful thing. He said that all of the parts of me are me. I just have to find a way to integrate them.

There’s no doubt that I am very different now that I was a year ago, and different again than what I was three years ago. There’s no doubt that chemicals can influence not only how I feel, but what I think! Yes. Chemicals actually changed my thoughts. Once the meds were in me, I could no longer conceive of thinking the way I had. I could not imagine committing suicide, or feeling like I only deserved to be in a stinky, fishy gutter somewhere in a dank, dangerous part of town.

Who am I, if my brain and my identity can be manipulated to easily by a few chemicals? Am I just a machine? Are we all machines, thinking what the chemicals make us think?

All I know is that that guy who yelled at his kids who he loves more than anything, and who cheated on his wife, and who wanted to die; that me isn’t me. It wasn’t me.

And yet, it was, and it is.

ratboy's avatar

You’re never yourself—the self doesn’t persist.

“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.”


nebule's avatar

wow daloon..once again…I’m ”...” x

KalWest's avatar

I’m only myself when I’m not myself.
“Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.” O. Wilde

aviona's avatar

Ditto @Macaulay. My answer didn’t really hit the nail on the head.

Macaulay's avatar

I think it did, aviona. I can relate to everyone’s response, but can’t find my very own.

sonic232's avatar

I simply can’t seem to be myself in public, period. Something gets in the way, a social block I think. The web, that block doesn’t exist and I truly can state my thoughts as I think them, without that barrier getting in the way of my ideas.

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