A Lie, a Truth and a Used Car

Posted: August 25, 2010 in a lonely journey, mind, what makes us tick

[tweetmeme source= “unmaskd” only_single=false]Remember the advice I gave some of you? Be yourself. Yes, that one. You’ve heard it before. You’ve heard is so many times it has become boring. It’s a motto, a cliche, a tagline. It is also a shameless lie. A beautiful lie.

And here’s the truth. Ugly and dirty as usual. You are ALWAYS yourself. It is so nice, so comforting to think that it’s not really you who’s not rising up to the challenge. It is not really you who just was a coward. It is not really you who is talentless, boring, dumb, ugly… whatever it is that you don’t like about yourself. The real you is so much better. The real you just has to wait to show the real beauty or talent or courage. It’s this world around you that you have to fit into, these people who push you around, these circumstances, these wrong choices, these motives, these obligations… But the true you, the real you is going to show ‘em all one day. Because it’s all there, inside. Right? Wrong.

It Is Always You.

Unless you are a victim of war, crime, natural disaster or illness, you’ve got no one else to blame. It is always you. The real you. So when people tell you to be yourself tell them to shut up. Yes, that includes me. You’re always yourself, whether you like it or not — whether you believe it or not. We are who we are, and we either have what it takes to be that better version of ourselves we like to imagine, or not.

So at any point at time either do things you can be proud of — or accept the full responsibility for being a jerk, a coward, an idiot or whatever it is you dont’t like about your behavior and its results. And if you don’t have strength to be better, to improve… well it’s also you. The forever weak you. You don’t have to like the fact, but that doesn’t change anything.

Yet, there’s a catch. Imagine that you’re driving an old car. You’ve been driving it for years. It’s beaten, it’s not a looker, it needs oil change badly. But if you’ve never taken it above 60 you just don’t know how fast it can go. And you may never find out that all along the engine was capable of going way beyond 200… More often then not there are things we just don’t know about ourselves.

  1. psychicsarah says:


    Everything is equal under the heavens

    We R who we R and that is that & indeed it is best to embrace ourselves warts and all for the sake of a smoother ride

    *They* say -whoever *they are- that things really start to happen once we embrace our Shadow side…which is probs the side we don’t feel so comfortable with for whatever reason

    (perhaps the only person to which this doesn’t apply is a serial #Killer?)

    One day we might feel going over 60 mph….On another day we might feel like parking in the lay by …

    Does it really matter which choice we make?

    Yes N No…

    Whatever gets us from A to B is just fine….even if it is a clapped out motor not a Ferrari!

    I like the fact my car is RED not BlUE…but at the end of the day life’s simplest requirement is that we just

    *BE* ….(Ourselves)


  2. Amy says:

    You open a valid question. Although, being “yourself” can mean so many things. I choose to not label myself as one type of person, putting the image of who I am in this nice, neat little box. The truth is, I’m complicated. One day I can feel unstoppable, able to leap tall buildings and all that. Other times I feel like a defeated mouse. I’m certainly not going to feel bad or ashamed on those days when all I can manage to do is squeak. Playing the blame game and beating myself up for not being perfect is not a road I choose to travel. I think our parents certainly molded us to feel like our best is the only acceptable choice, but sometimes perfectly average can be a good thing as well.


  3. Heart-to-Heart says:

    Accepting you for you. That is what being yourself is all about. True friends accept you for who you are, the friends who will be there for you. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Because they love you for you. Not what you can give them.

    Those who are not, were never your friends to begin with. Vampires. Life lesson…


  4. Heart-to-Heart says:

    By the way, been there, done that. Eye opening life experience.


  5. Rae says:

    I agree with Amy: there are many expressions of “self” inside me, some which I am more fond of than others, but all of which I take responsibility for. All have lessons to teach (typically either love or humility!). My work in this go-round has been to acknowledge / welcome / be thankful for the value of each.


  6. Ashley says:

    Alot of truth and many valid points here. It’s always hard to face the “dark side” of ourselves. Not everything is rainbows and sunshines..not everyone is 100% all the time. In fact, if we were that would be boring and let’s face it..slightly annoying. Personally, I’ve recently made a choice. I’ve made the choice to be more positive. Are there days I still think “Screw it, I can’t do it..I’m giving up”? Yes. Are there days I’m VERY tempted to do the notorious “FML” status update? For sure. I have plenty of “FML” moments..as we all do because it’s human. I just hit a point where I decided to surround myself in certain areas of my life with positivity..kinda like a safe haven. Lord knows in my “real life” day to day there is plenty of negativity flowing to try and squash it. But it’s a personal decision for each one of us. We are given the same amount of potential (I believe). Some may be given different gifts and at varying degrees but the grand majority of us have that goodness/potential inside of us. “What for?” is kinda a mixture and fine line between what is “meant to be” and what we choose to be. I really liked the point in here regarding accountability. There is absolutely nobody else to blame for our thoughts/actions..even if that’s a hard pill to swallow. That being said, there is no sense in beating ourselves up over it either. Leave the past in the past..there is always opportunity to start anew (“no use crying over spilled milk”). Choose your battles. The big, life-altering ones are of course important. But is the fact that you let something inconsiderate slip to a friend, or forgot to say thank you to your waitress REALLY gonna affect your life’s outcome? No. Just try to right the wrongs the best you can and that’s all you can do. Don’t sweat the small stuff 🙂 This is what I try to remind myself because this is where I struggle. As for our potential, it’s another personal choice. Someone else can easily see and tell you that your car can certainly go over 60. Perhaps they have the same make/model or know someone who does. Perhaps they are a car enthusiast and well read on the subject or maybe a mechanic. The bottom line is, if we don’t choose to believe it or do something about it…all that is useless. I think the fact that we all come together and think about these things and discuss them shows the goodness! People who truly don’t care or don’t want to better themselves certainly don’t spend time thinking about or discussing things like this. Personally, it makes me smile 🙂 Even if what you have to say isn’t always “rosie”, it’s valid. “This too shall pass”


  7. Bettina says:

    Here’s my take:
    It’s like choosing clothes in the morning. We essentially are a spiritual being – that never changes and is always there.
    What does change is the identity with which we choose to express our spiritual being. As it happens identities can overrule at any time. When things are ugly in life we forgot who we are and identify with the chosen identity: the mother, the victim, the abuser, the hero, the procradtinitor, etc

    So yes, it’s always us the spiritual being expressing ourselves with identities, and it’s those that always change.
    The trick is to gain the knowledge to see it for what it is. Until then the “real” me is lurking in the corner smiling and loving our expressions anyway …


  8. I am me. And everything I do in my life is a response to *you* (the world). If it were simply us as Tom Hanks on an island, what would we have to prove to ourselves other than we have the ability to make the coolest island hammock ever?
    A lot of us don’t ever reach our 200mph because we simply aren’t on the the right kind of road. There’s a speed limit when you’re part of the plane jane/average member of society. The rules say only 45mph… 65 on the freeway (haha! free.) And when you don’t abide by those rules, you get in trouble. We don’t tell ourselves that there’s another version of us out there that CAN do all the things we can’t because of some split personality… we have another version of ourselves because facing the fact that this little girl is a speed limit abider is who I Am. I did my best to go as fast as I could… but the world just kept sending me speeding tickets. As soon as I started slowing down I began to realize the people who go 200mph all the time are the ones who have the illusion of Tom Hankhood on their super cool island that they keep trying to tell other people to live on.


  9. psychicsarah says:

    I vote we all Rev our engines

    Formula One race time?!


    • areweoutoftime says:

      Hallelujah, some straight talkin’.
      I am forever bleating out a similar idea to people, and frankly, they don’t want to hear it. People like to think that it is someone else’s fault that they are how they are. If it’s “I failed that class becauser the teacher didn’t like me” or “I have trust issues because my parents weren’t there for me” or whatever, ultimatly, these things all come down to you. It is your reaction to these problems that makes you.

      Again, I think we are coming back to a discussion on choices. Do we choose to prove the teacher wrong by working so hard that we kick ass in that class? Do we acknowledge that not all individuals are the same as our parents and interact with people with an open mind? Or, do we take the predictable option and blame those factors instead of using our potential to move past them.

      I’m having this very problem right now with a friend of mine who is suffering from Factor Number Two. It’s causing huge problems for her, and for me, as a result. I feel I am wasting my time repeating the same mantra over and over even though that same mantra is what has gotten me through all of my tough times. The mantra is “You can get through this”. Not get over it, just get through it.

      To return to Unmaskd’s analogy of the car again, the place where the blame emerges from is only one destination. You don’t have to stay there, no one is forcing you. Get in the goddamn car and move up the road to personal responsibility- it’s nice there, and the neighbours are quite the go-getters 🙂


  10. […] A Lie, a Truth and a Used Car « Unmaskd :choices, cliche, courage, motto, real beauty […]


  11. Society tries so hard to tell you what you are supposed to like, what you should wear, what you should eat, who you should be with, who you should BE. Yet we are a society that strives so hard for individualism. Opposites to a similar goal, like Daoism and Confucianism. Spend that same energy you would use to be like everyone else tells you how to be on finding out who you are yourself. It’s a journey that will benefit you the most.
    Now, I certainly don’t do all those things myself. I’m human. Full of many imperfections and mistakes. But understanding is part of the process. It’s the first step.


  12. Phil says:

    I really enjoyed this post. It’s so easy to blame others for our failings, missteps and steps not taken. In the end, it’s all us. This is one of the most simple yet toughest truths around.

    And even if we are victims of war, natural disaster, illness: how we choose to cope is still our responsibility. Recovery from illness is ours to own. That sounds crass, but it’s true. I’ve known some people that have had tremendously horrid shit happen to them, yet they live better than me because they are completely honest with themselves and take responsibility for adding to the quality of their life. It’s a process, and I’m getting there because I really do want to be like that all of the time.


    • K. says:

      And I totally agree with you, Phil. I am amazed at how adversity can kick the butt of advantage so many times. Whatever doesn’t kill us….


  13. JCV says:

    Very true. We are our own obstacles, and no one changes themselves for someone or something. The desire to change and the ability to do so are two different things. The decision is ours to make if we want it bad enough. People change themselves because they want to, not because people tell them to. I say, follow what makes you happy and fulfilled, along the way things may just fall into place as they were meant to be.


  14. Dawn says:

    My actions are my own even when what I decide to do is based on what’s expected of me and not what I really want to do…it’s still my choice…that’s the “real” me making that decision. I think early in life we can blame the way we were raised, the uncontrollable tragedies that shaped us, the bullies, etc. for our responses. However once you get to a certain age, you realize you are responsible for yourself. You can no longer blame your parents , your teachers, the playground bullies, God, the cosmos or whomever the scapegoat of the week is because the truth of the matter is that we make conscious decisions to do what we do and when we screw up we only have ourselves to blame. However, when we do wonderful things we also get to take the credit. Whether we are too impulsive, too scared, too lazy, too repressed, too fat, too whatever…that “too” is part of the real you and only you can get rid of it if you don’t like it.


  15. K. says:

    I think you are right, we are who we are at all times. There is no ‘shadow’ self out there, no “true” self hiding behind a mask. We are those multiple selves we present to people (and why it scares the shit out of us when we are at the party where there are people from all parts of our lives… )

    We can all be better people, we all make choices in what we want to be.

    However, it is not just catastrophes that impacts us: I think we can all achieve that 200 mph but some of us start with the Porsche, others with a rusted out old car, some with no car at all. And this is based on nothing we have done, just when, where, and to whom we are born–unless you believe in reincarnation and karma.


  16. areweoutoftime says:

    @ashley……. AMEN! 🙂


  17. A.Me says:

    For anyone (myself included):
    Until we can commit ourselves to it, the transformation can’t begin.

    So, spend the time swinging back and forth, reasoning that the struggle is actually helping in some twisted way.

    Or be real with yourself and say, let yourself go. Love with all your life. Let your intellect develop too. Take the risks. Don’t make a risk into a rough result by imagining it too well.

    Drop your expectations.

    Drop your expectations.

    Doesn’t mean don’t have goals, or put in effort, but don’t be attached to a specific outcome. It will help when the chemistry of life overrules your controlled lab test.

    Try something NEW. A person, place, thing, idea. There is so much richness. Especially for beginners, because they’re beginners after all, so open, fresh of preconceived standards of ‘should’.

    And smile.

    Sitting in a quiet space when I’m anxious, feel out of it, disturbed… Eyes closed, imagine a little door on your forehead opening outwards, letting all the jumbled thoughts out, floating away on scraps of paper. Energy loves a void, I once read, won’t forget that one.

    Even (especially) when in solitude, we are loved. (CORNY, but comforting. There is an unchanging ‘I’ inside………) Believe that.


  18. Cecelia says:

    People can give really good advice when they can actually empathize with another’s situation. They may recognize a look of sadness or pick up on a tone of insecurity or even see where they might be heading before they see it themselves because well, there could many reasons why (explicable or not) but being yourself essentially means approaching life in a way that has proven effective with positive results following your intuition- being yourself.

    Everyone has the seed of kindness and honesty planted in their DNA. I’m sure when you said ‘be yourself,’ you meant it in the most positive way probably because at times when you felt challenged to NOT be the you you like and the you you’ve grown to trust- you did it anyway and it may have worked out in the end because you were indeed “your pure self.” =)

    Like all living beings, we’re all affected by environmental factors, inner and outer ones and there will always be a situation, a substance or maybe even an energy that will push our buttons and put our reactions at test. We’re human and we learn through trial and error and with trial and success. I believe being ourself is being our pure self and this is one way life’s trials can be justified as milestones. Being our pure self is being mindful.

    We are all responsible for our own actions but essentially if we’re pure to ourself, we’re bound to be pure to others. That’s being yourself.

    Maybe wearing a little thread around the wrist or a token in plain view (yours) in a colour that awakens the eye can remind you of being mindful. It can serve as a “shield of kindness” when you may find yourself driving and thinking about defying the limits at the crossroads and crosswalks in your life.

    The only button worth pressing is the cruise control button set at the designated, safe, speed limit. But if the car is really old and it doesn’t have that luxurious option, then I suggest you hold your breath because the smell of burning oil from an old engine upon sudden acceleration can render you and fellow drivers or pedestrians a tad bit delirious. 😉

    I love your posts and I hope for your happiness- whoever you are.


  19. Mike says:

    In my honest opinion, I wish it was as simple as “I am who I am and that’s who I am, take it or leave it”. Unfortunately, the world we live in, be it the corporate world, friends, or even family doesn’t necessarily allow it. In the perfect world, everybody would be content with “who they are” and every other person wouldn’t dislike another person for being themselves.

    Images, ideas, and ideals are what mold us into who we are, what we feel, and who we become, and, in a perfect world that would line up with a fitting career and life. Though, the older I get, the less I believe in this perfect alignment. Events happen along the way, be it death, a new friendship, or a lost friendship all change the the “path”. But then who’s to say, “you are who you are because that’s who you are”.

    Too many things make a person who they are to even begin to fathom evaluating why we are who we are. There’s really no use even thinking about it, but rather, just live each day as it comes and make the most of it. With every day comes another opportunity. The most important thing, not matter who you are, is live your life with no regrets.


  20. Felicia says:

    I think it’s hard to be yourself when you don’t really know who you are or what kind of person you want to be. I think people sometimes are so busy trying to be what other people think they are that they do get lost with no idea on how to be themselves. I think of how I am now in comparison to how I was when I was in my twenties. I was way to caught up in wanting to fit in because in high school I was labeled a nerd. So in my twenties; I acted and talked the way I thought would not make me stick out. In my thirties, I finally started being okay with being “myself”. I became ok with accepting the good things I accomplished and the dumb things I accomplished. So I think the mantra should become “know thyself” because once you do that, being yourself becomes natural.


  21. psychicsarah says:

    Dreamt of Guinea pigs last night>…Mmm

    ‘To see a guinea pig in your dream, represents your need to be more responsible and attentive.

    Alternatively, it suggests that through experimentation and taking risks, you learn how and how not to do something.

    You learn from your mistakes.’



  22. psychicsarah says:


  23. areweoutoftime says:

    @psychicsarah: guinea pig theme you have going on today is cracking me up. happy birthday 🙂


  24. 1step says:

    Who we are isn’t static. Everyone has the capacity for change.

    I believe the biggest driver of change is, “How badly do you want it?”

    When we don’t go for it, it often means the reason isn’t big enough.


  25. LEIGH Not_Broken77 aka Rock_Angel77 says:

    that car you described sounds like mine!!!! LMAO

    even though I don’t really like the real me, me, this me….I still don’t care if people like me or not.

    mind you, I don’t purposely hurt people’s feelings either and if I realise I have hurt someone, I always acknowledge it and apologise.


  26. Aliciahr says:

    Wow. The “Be Yourself” thing is just an excuse. Just an excuse.
    I can’t believe it.
    This is the first time anyone has ever said/written this to me.
    I’m really glad that you followed me unmaskd & that you made a blog; because this, ( + all the other things you’ve written) just gave me a ton of more motivation to finish my tasks and to change certain habits that have put my life on a distracted auto pilot.
    I sincerely thank you. And I’m glad I discovered ‘you’ at this point in my life… about to start senior year of high school.
    (Not to say that anyone older hasn’t just as much benefited from this experiment of yours than me, or even more!)


  27. JD_278 says:

    This is a great post. It’s a no make-up, no perfect hair, no great lighting, snapshot of liability and responsibility meaning it’s like seeing a picture of yourself and you think “Damn, I don’t look like that.” Well, yeah, you do…at least in that photograph. If you don’t like the way the picture looks you study it and if it REALLY bothers you generally you take mental notes “I won’t comb my hair like that anymore”, “I won’t wear that color lipstick”, “I don’t like the way I look in that type of skirt”, etc., and you change those things, regardless of how small or petty, because you don’t like how you saw yourself when these things were a part of the photo. Then there are those who don’t give a shit about the picture…it is what it is (another stupid tagline, cliche, played out term). We can all use some sort of improvement and those who don’t see that are either lazy, in denial, or arrogant. Self-confidence isn’t even an option. A major component of self-confidense is being able to admit “Hey, I’ve got some shit to work on and that’s OK.” To me this post is pretty much about the same thing minus the aesthetics.

    Imagine if you could take a visual snapshot of your personality/credibility/accountability? What would you see? Would you be proud? Would you be ashamed? Would you at least have a solid base to work with? Most importantly would it be a picture you would feel confident and comfortable in to put in a Christmas card to send to those you love and respect? Interesting question(s). I better get to work…Christmas is only four months away.

    Here’s to everyone taking a naturally gorgeous snapshot…I know it’s possible. Cheers.


  28. psychicsarah says:

    Btw…me thinks we should all celebrate our *questionable bits* …

    Who wants to be *right on* all the time?

    That would be rather dull

    Its our foibles, quirks, niggles and *issues* which separate us from the rest and make us who we are…probably even more than our *right on* moments …though of course those 2 R us

    Having said that; those things are character and personality traits only.

    It is our *essence* which is our real self; that which shines through whatever we do; beit bad, mad, dangerous, annoying, boring, exciting…

    Underneath it all…underneath the *Mask* if we choose to wear one…is our *Essence*

    That is not something we can *Be*

    …that is the very thing which we ARE!


  29. psychicsarah says:

    We are not defined by what we think and do

    We are defined by our *Essence*

    The rest is simply the curious manifestation of our *Journey*


  30. Diane_Can says:

    Read your piece. Love the last paragraph. Sorry, haven’t taken the time to trad all of your responses. I am a total proponent of 100% responsibility, but I also understand human differences. I am in the business of dealing with brain imaging and the consequences of neuro-chemistry. Some people have harder climbs than others in making responsible choices and they may not even be aware of it. We are, all, quite unique.


    • Sunshine says:

      Brain imaging and neuro-chemistry sound very interesting. Do you get to study stuff like Daniel G. Amen talks about in “Change Your Brain, Change Your Life”?


  31. Diane_Can says:

    Sorry, I meant, “Sorry I haven’t taken the time to READ all of your responses.”, although I got a kick out of PsychicSarah’s video. : )


  32. unmaskd says:

    Thanks everyone for your comments — they certainly confirm what I’ve been thinking when I was writing this post. This includes the comments of people who disagree with me.

    @Aliciahr — glad it’s helpful. High school… it’s a very special time 🙂 It can be painful, but these years are those you remember for really long time.


  33. Sunshine says:

    Unmaskd, your insightful posts are cut to the core brilliant and I really enjoy your website! Initially this post brought to mind a quote by Aristotle (unless you made it up in a writing assignment for class and it made it’s way onto the internet because you attributed it to Aristotle)! Here’s the quote:
    “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

    Next, the John Mayer song, “Not Myself” came to mind. When looking for a link I came across this artwork with John’s music playing and I thought you guys would like it too as it seems to express the subject nicely–almost as if those 3 guys are inside one’s head trying to work out those decisions:

    Last, the movie “Multiplicity” popped into my head. You know the one, where Michael Keeton (Doug) gets cloned to juggle his busy life and he ends up having to manage his 3 other selves–check it out:

    A clone of Doug 2 (copy of a copy) “likes pizza Steve”:

    I thought about how in people’s growing years it often feels like there are two people inside as one explore life’s options. Our minds are a battlefield of the decision making process whether it’s that quick spontaneous decision or a well thought out decision and plan. Yes, we are always ourselves and it takes merging thoughts/words (which are closely related) with actions in the same direction for the resolution to be constant, thus achieving less of the weak and more of the strong.

    Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and EXPECTING DIFFERENT RESULTS. How often do we expect different results, yet we repeat the same action.

    Now regarding that old car, I’ll never forget my first—when I bought it, I had to put both feet on the brake pedal to get it to stop completely and the headlights didn’t work. From that experience, I don’t trust an old car for long distance and I probably would have only punched it on a road I knew was not going to cause damage to the car, myself or others. But if we’re talking about people, the wisdom and experience of an older person is a treasure. I like to think that old car will becomes a classic and have great value so I would want to take good care of it.

    Rev up your engines…we’re all on the road of discovery every day! …Life is a highway, I wanna ride it all night long….


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s