Seeing Through Your Fake Persona



The word “persona” is basically derived from latin where it originally meant “a theatrical mask”. It’s fitting that the word “personality” is a derivative of persona because in most people their personality is simply a “mask” they wear to hide (or hide from) their true human self. The beautiful thing is that beneath all the facades, that we humans put up, there is an innocent being which is actually our true self – this is true for every single human being. Some of us are true to this original innocence, while most of us have created layers of “persona” to completely cloud the identification of this truth in us.

It’s heartening to know, and realize, that all human beings, beneath their masks, are deeply innocent beings and if you could see this innocence in a person, when their mask is down, you cannot help feel a deep love or compassion for him/her unconditionally. All human beings are inherently “good”, it’s only that sometimes they identify completely with the masks they put on (or were made to put on) to the point that they disconnect from their inherent goodness, innocence and integrity.

A simple exercise to know your innocence

A lot of psychologists seem to be more interested in analyzing the masks that people are wearing, and focus on guiding people to wear “better masks” or more positive masks, instead of helping a person identify their true innocence and guide them to be true to this innocence. It doesn’t matter what type of mask you are wearing, a positive one or a negative one, the bottom-line is that you will not feel totally aligned with yourself as long as you see yourself as the mask instead of knowing yourself in your true innocence.

Here’s a simple exercise that can help you get a sense of the “unmasked” innocence of who you are.

“Sit alone in a room, preferably in silent surroundings. If your body is feeling over-excited, or restless, just take sometime to relax and allow the body to become a little calm. Now, without trying to get it “right” or trying to be spiritual about it, just be your normal self and visualize a scenario where you are all alone in the middle of a dense jungle, thick with wild animals. Its getting dark as the sun sets. You are totally by yourself and there is no “audience” watching your performance. You can sense some wild animals closing in, mostly by their growl as they smell your presence. Look within and sense who are you in this moment – with no persona, with no pretences, just you in this abject aloneness.”

If you can take this visualization deep enough, you will get a very authentic sense of who you really are beneath the masks. When you are all alone, with no audience, in your survival mode, your true human self always reveals itself in all its humility, integrity and innocence – no superficial bravados, no artificial confidence, no artificial positivity, no aggrandized spiritual identity, no fake smiles, no persona, just an authentic presence. It doesn’t matter who the human being is, if he/she is in such a scenario all the persona will drop away and their innocence will stand revealed in that moment. It’s really amazing how many human beings are avoiding the acknowledgement that this innocence is their real truth, all the masks they use are just means to deny who they really are beneath all of it or a means to make people believe a fake version of them.

Why do we mask our innocence?

The basic reason why we mask our innocence is because we associate a deep “vulnerability” with it. We feel that if we stand true to our innocence we will be taken advantage of or we will be “weak” in some way. However, the truth is that any human being who stands true to his/her innocence is deeply taken care of by life, because in their innocence there is no resistance in them to the influx of well-being that is inherent to life’s movement. Whenever you take on a “mask”, and stay identified with it, you are basically standing in resistance to your true life movement and thus end up attracting realities that are “incongruent”, or conflicted, with you.

It doesn’t matter what type of mask you are wearing, you can be wearing a “positive” persona as your mask and you would still end up attracting a reality that does not feel congruent to you because you are not being congruent to yourself. It’s so easy to see through the inauthenticity in people who try to wear “positive personas” – like some spiritual mask, or some superficial confidence, contrived show of strength, or fake smiles, or fake cheerfulness. Anyone who starts becoming aware of their authentic nature would be able to see through the various pretences in themselves and in others.

Another common persona that people take up is the “role based persona” through a need to fit into a “society defined” role. You can see how a person who is not totally in touch with his/her truth takes up multiple personalities to fit into some designated roles – be it some professional roles (like a manager or servant role) or some personal roles (like a mother, father, brother, sister, son, daughter, wife, husband), we constantly “fake it” to fit into a role – it’s just like being an actor on a theatre who is hiding behind a mask of the character he/she is playing.

Some people take up personas based on their sexuality, gender, social standing, qualifications, status, physical looks and skill sets. It can get really complex when the mind makes up so many masks, shifting between them based on the situation, feeling totally confused and artificial (and also afraid because the mask can slip at times revealing their perceived vulnerability).

Be an authentic human

You are bound to reach a point, at some point in your life, when you get sick, and totally exhausted, of all the masks that you are wearing. At the latest it might be when you sense death approaching because then you will realize the futility of the masks. Sometimes when people are ill, or going through a loss, their true innocence shows up easily and a lot of people close to them (or the person himself/herself) can be surprised at how it was hiding all along beneath the masks. During illness the mind is so tired that it does not have the energy to create masks and so the human can finally appear in his/her true being, and there is a welling of unconditional compassion towards anyone who stands revealed in this innocence.

Your innocence is not your weakness, it’s your greatest strength. Your masks are a sign of weakness. When you stay true to your innocence you will be in total alignment with your life stream and hence will always be privy to an influx of well-being and love. When you shed your masks and stay true to your innocence, you will not get harmed the way your mind imagines you will, it’s only your masks that are truly harming your life by the resistance they create to your life’s movement. We all know how comfortable we feel in the presence of an authentic human being who is not putting on a “show”, who is just being true to his humanness. This comfort is felt because in their presence we sense our own authenticity and sense how pure/innocent our being really is.







33 Comments

  1. Christie

    Often, when you drop all of the personas and choose to be your authentic self, many of those who knew you before and ‘liked’ the personas/roles that you played, do not like this authentic self at all. Often, they will attack you, condemn you, criticize you or eject you from their life, simply because you no longer play the ‘roles’ or wear the masks. They do not like it when an other will not play the ‘mask’ game any longer.

    Also, when you begin unpeeling the onion/taking off the masks, you may not like what you find about your true self either. Usually, it is the mind that is judging your true authentic self, based on old belief patterns.

    Seeing the authentic and innocent soul behind the masks, has always been an innate quality I have held since childhood. But seeing the true self of others has caused my much pain and suffering in my life.
    I always responded to and interacted with another person based on their true authentic self because I chose not to see the behavior that they were actually doing based on their masks.

    Why do I do this? If I stopped doing this, there would be no one on this planet, that I have met yet, to interact with(except babies and animals); because I will not pretend that I don’t see the truth of who they really are under all that fear. I will not play the game.

    Yet, I also know that I am attracting every experience and person into my life based on my belief systems and perspective. So what am I doing and why am I doing it?

    1. Sen Post author

      As awareness starts deepening within it automatically peels off layers of artificial “persona” and keeps bringing up your authentic self until it becomes stable in you. The beauty of this process of bringing the light of awareness within is that anything that’s “fake” within us is automatically brought to ground, with time, because awareness keeps rooting you back to “truth” in everything with no escape. So a fully conscious human being is always an authentic person, there is no energy or effort in them to keep up a fake persona.

      People who identified with the “masks” you were wearing were just external manifestation, in your personal reality, of the your own inner pattern of identification with your masks. Always remember that “your” external reality is purely a mirror that “reflects” your mind, nothing more nothing less. If you are having trouble finding an “incongruent” pattern in you, just look for an incongruent pattern in your external reality and it will give you a hint to the incongruent pattern in you. So basically, when you started letting go of your own masks, your mind naturally felt a lot of fear within it because it’s now in an unfamiliar situation (anything new is always fearful to mind initially), this fear is what attracted those “unruly” responses from people around you. You would have noticed that as your fear ebbed away, and you became more and more comfortable living without masks, you automatically were taken away from people who no longer were compatible with your new self and you attracted people into your life who matched your new vibration. Some transitions get a bit rough because of the intense fear in the mind towards change, this fear is what attracts the “bumpy” ride towards the change. In the end, you must understand that growth, and transformation, are integral for every human because awareness keeps growing in every human at every stage of their life, and so transitions/changes are bound to happen and you will become incompatible with certain “cliques” of people and situations, but you will also attract new people and new experiences that are compatible with your inner growth. Actually this change is the juice of life, or else you will start feeling “stuck” and stagnant.

      Of course, when you start seeing through the layers and sense the authentic aspects in you, the mind would certainly “shy” away from it for a while because it feels more comfortable sticking to the masked identities that it’s familiar with. This is the “fear” that I was talking about in the previous paragraph. But as the light of awareness deepens, it just keeps bringing the mind in contact with the authentic self until it becomes familiar with it and finally accepts it fully. In this acceptance the mind realizes how easy it is to be your authentic self instead of constantly creating “masks” to project a image of someone you really are not. A lot of “CPU” (processing energy) of the mind is saved when you rest as your authentic self, and this energy can then be used for more creative pursuits.

      You must understand that there is such a thing as “compassionate behavior” and then there is a “wisdom based behavior”. Compassion in the absence of wisdom can be hugely detrimental to your own personal well-being. Compassion can easily be a trigger for the mind to undertake actions which may not be prudent to your own well-being, and hence you end up attract exploitation, get victimized, get manipulated or feel cheated in the end. Compassion is definitely a higher human response, but in the absence of “wisdom” it can be more fatal than being cold towards others. We’ve all heard of life stories where some very compassionate people met terrible ends or lived terrible lives – if you probed into their personal life you will see that there was a definite absence of “wisdom” in their movements. The energy that you are is love, but it’s also “wise” – it’s intelligent while also being innocent, it’s a paradox that human mind cannot understand. Anyone who is really rooted in “consciousness” would have a “wisdom” operating in their life and they will not always come across as being totally compassionate in the eyes of others, they will just be authentic to themselves without putting on the persona of being compassionate – not all conscious human being become service oriented at all, on the contrary many would just be moved towards pursuing some very specific personal realities (which indirectly bring benefit to others at large) – only an unconscious human being always tries to be of service to others in a “committed” manner, with no flexibility, (because in truth he/she feels guilty of saying “no” to others) while rejecting his/her own interests. A fully conscious human being always attracts abundance through the wisdom that imbues their movement owing to the connection with their wholeness.

      Your job would just be to let go of trying to figure things out with the “past” conditioned mind, and allow the fresh intelligence of your wholeness to guide your life. When you say “If i stop doing this, i will have no-one to interact with but animals” – you are just voicing a fear of the mind, a fear developed through misguided projection of the future. In truth, life will take care of your desires for human interaction in a plentiful way when you allow yourself to shed any persona that you are carrying around and become totally true to yourself as you are. Once you establish congruence within you, congruence will reflect outside you also. Moreover when you totally rooted in consciousness, there will be a wisdom operating in your life which will guide your actions (provided you are not hanging on to any old beliefs about what’s the “right” way to behave or act) and ensure that you don’t attract “hostile”/offensive behavior from people outside you in your personal reality. The example I gave of “standing in the jungle alone” is just one exercise for a human to see one of the facets of their authentic self in survival mode, it gives one a “peek” perspective of their authentic self in their aloneness. The beauty is that when you really see a truth within you, there is no getting away from it after that. Once you see through a fake persona, it will be very difficult to sustain it for long.

  2. Christie

    Thanks, Sen. Understanding the truth about compassion, and that it requires wisdom to be considered true compasssion, is information that has been coming up for me to integrate alot the last 9 years or so. Not undertanding true compassion/wisdom was a huge stumbling block for me. Once I realized it was ‘ok’ to say ‘no’ , and that saying ‘no’ did not mean I was not a ‘good’ and kind person, my life totally changed. And you are correct, I then had to learn to be comfortable with those changes and to not judge myself because I was no longer, ‘acting’ the way others wanted me to act.

  3. Samir

    Below the mask lies the “coherence” of one.

    1. Sen Post author

      It’s mostly the various personas that we get identified with that prevents our authentic coherence to come through. Personas in their true sense are just subtle forms of split personalities, it’s just that some people become so intensely identified with some personas that they forget themselves altogether, for a while, which leads to a clinical condition of split personality.

  4. Eternus

    Sen, what is your general view on “self-pride”? Is being proud of one’s self merely a way of stroking the ego?

    1. Sen Post author

      Eternus, pride is usually felt through a “comparison” and hence can turn into inferiority at any moment. The state of wholeness is when you just feel aligned with yourself for being who you are without any delusions of superiority or inferiority created through comparison.

  5. Eternus

    I am having a great deal of difficulty letting go of this idea of “self”. I find my mind trying to come up with ways to hold onto it. I think I have an innate fear of losing my individuality. It’s something I’ve always had pride in, despite the suffering it causes. I still do not understand what it truly means to let go of the self… I desperately want to transcend it, but my mind is desperately trying to stop this process. It’s like a fear of “obliteration”. It’s very frustrating

  6. nvibes

    “The basic reason why we mask our innocence is because we associate a deep “vulnerability” with it. We feel that if we stand true to our innocence we will be taken advantage of or we will be “weak” in some way. However, the truth is that any human being who stands true to his/her innocence is deeply taken care of by life”

    There are times in the past where I feel I have been true with others, and myself without masks, – in those times I’ve been attacked/hurt so I came to the conclusion that I wasn’t being discerning enough in terms of who I trusted. Innocence alone does not take care of us? Surely discernment is needed to know who to trust?

    1. Sen Post author

      nvibes, in one sense you’ve come to a wrong conclusion, it was not your innocence that attracted the hurt it was your inner lack that did. And instead of letting go of your inner lack, you start disconnecting from your innocence and thus became a more fearful person – which obviously did not do much to improve your reality, and you just became a more closed person. In a conscious way, you have the choice now, to dis-identify from thought patterns rooted in lack, and allow yourself, again, to be innocently true to your nature, you will see how you attract congruent and positive realities in this state of being. Life always takes care of you when you are innocent to who you are, without holding on to a sense of lack. When you are living from a place of inner lack and depending on the outside to fulfill your inner sense of incompleteness, you always get attacked/hurt from the outside because it’s just a reflection of your inner negativity. No amount of cautiousness or discernment, in your mind, can do anything to attract a positive reality when at the root you are still holding on to the inner lack.

      When you truly sense the nature of life energy, you understand it to be like “wise child” – it seems like a paradox because a child is innocent but not wise, but life energy is wise while also being totally innocent like a child. But it’s not possible for the “gaurded” mind to pull off this type of “wise innocence”, all it can do is be protective or manipulative in its approach an give it a false excuse of being “discerning” when it truth it’s just being fearful of being itself. When you live life in such a guarded manner, the dominant vibration in you is “fear” and you constantly keep seeing this reflection in your external reality. In fact, you will notice that despite all your cautions and discernments you still seems to attracting people who are not being true to you and in many ways are just as closed down as you are. When you live life in this gaurded manner, you are not being innocent, you are just mostly putting on a fearful front, and this fear is exactly what gets reflected back at you in many ways, the world seems to behave in a manner that keeps amplifying your fears and cautions. The question is how do you discern who to trust and who not to? So basically the fearful mind just closes down on everyone, and looks at the world in a distrustful manner, is this truly discernment or just fear?

      The reason you were hurt in the past is because you were unconscious, and hence had a lot of negativity of all forms running in your mind and stored up as vibrational content in your being – it had nothing to do with you being innocent, but more to do with your being negative in an unconscious way – if you look back at those times you were sense that there was neediness in you, you were insecure, and it was this energy of lack that was attracting all the hurt from outside. When you are unconsciously lost in negativity (in the form of inner lack) it looks like a form of “innocence” (because there is a total lack of wisdom in you), but since you are laced with negativity you are inherently disconnected from the pull of your life-stream and thus attract negative realities. The mind then comes to a conclusion that it needs to be cautious, and starts putting on a protective front, which again being rooted in fear starts attracting more negative realities – at the root the problem is your inner sense of lack. You will have noticed that there are many unconscious human beings who are totally innocent in their movement, but they don’t have a sense of lack in their mind, and they are always attracting positive realities. So the problem is not with being innocent but with being lackful/negative within. You can retain your innocence and let go of your inner sense of lack by bringing awareness to it – this alignment can bring about a huge positive shift in your reality.

  7. nvibes

    Thank you for responding Sen.

    In certain situations I can definitely see where I have an inner lack – e.g. work situations where I don’t feel good enough/trust myself enough and project this (silently) on others around me.

    In other situations, I can’t see a lack so much, perhaps more that I haven’t accepted things in my past that I thought I’d come to terms with (maybe it’s the same thing), and it’s only through tallking with others and the reaction I get that I realise that I haven’t fully accepted it. It’s just that with some issues I’ve looked at time and time again and they don’t seem to shift.

    It’s true, I agree, I have become closed, discernment has become my weapon. I’ve become scared of opening up to all of me because I haven’t fully accepted all of me, and don’t want to continually attract situations that bring hurt that I already feel.It’s like I feel I have done the inner work and then I realise from external reactions that I’m not quite as far along as I think and so I feel I have to close off, to protect myself. It can almost feel as though ‘like attracts like’ is a curse – that when you are at your most “needy” or unconscious, even if this is a “negative” state, that that’s when you need the opposite in your life to help you, not more of the same.

    Sometimes I just feel like I don’t know what to do…

    1. Sen Post author

      nvibes, it’s important to notice the progress that you are making with respect to the stability in your being and the positive evidences in your reality. It’s easy to get a sense of despondency by getting an idea that nothing has changed when in truth a lot of things would have changed with respect to the depth of your awareness, mind’s maturity and external reality. However, physical life is a constant process of growth and the growth is never going to come to an end, so there is no point of “perfection” you will be reaching because there will always be a space of growth in your reality. What you can reach is a stability in your being, the space of inner wholeness, this is permanent because this is the natural state of being – you reach this space as the cloud of negative momentum ebbs away to a huge extent. However, you need to be patient with yourself, because it takes time for this cloud of past negativity to disperse, and it happens in layers – but you will see constant improvement in your reality as this dissolution keeps happening.

    2. nvibes

      Thank you Sen.
      If you are moving towards greater authenticity but are still attracting “incongruent” situations – friends/people/work situations etc that you know do not reflect your true self, how do you deal with these authentically?

      e.g. if you are in a work situation that you know is not totally right for you but you know it is not going to immediately dissolve?

      Or you have a friendship where you genuinely get on but you can sense you have different interests/priorities? How can you be genuinely present and true when you sense that this is what you are attracting currently but is not reflective of your full self?

      I’m aware that there isn’t a perfect state that I’m going to get to, but there are some situations where I can see I’m not necessarily going to be here for long, but I am content here and can deal with issues I need to face. Whereas in other situations – work and some friendships, constantly in the back of my mind I’m thinking about when the relationship will dissolve, even if in the present moment I feel good in it.

      I guess my question is – how can I be genuine/authentic where i feel I’m attracting people /situations that are not authentic to me? Is it matter of constantly saying no to them as soon as possible, and moving on until I have done the inner work required? Or simply accepting what I am attracting and working through it? e.g.I spent a year in a job constantly thinking about how to leave it – I did grow through it, but I wasn’t “present” there as I was always thinking about getting out.

    3. Sen Post author

      You need to be more willing to just stay relaxed instead of constantly trying to get things right. The mind always wants to figure out a way to put things in place and perspective, but in the end you need to realize that the mind is ultimately the cause of the resistance anyway, so you need to bring forth a different source of intelligence/wisdom in your life and not just depend on the “mechanical” thinking of the mind to find solutions. When you let go of figuring out, and allow yourself to simply stay open to life, in a relaxed way, things just start falling in place. The only problem is most people don’t trust this place of surrender to life, but it initially feels like letting go of control. But you need to go through a phase of surrender, to really come to a place of stability with a sense of control. Right now your mind’s fears are controlling you, and any solutions you operate from this place of fear is only going to reflect more fear. Instead, for a while just let go of the “figuring out”, and just allow yourself to stay surrendered to life and allow life to bring forth the solutions.

  8. Alliswell

    Sen,
    I feel like I have regressed lately. I feel like I am at peace when I am alone, but recently I met someone new for coffee… a blind date.. and all of the negativity came flooding back.. insecurity, fear, thinking too far into the future about what I wanted.. needless to say, it did not work out… he misrepresented himself completely. Afterward, I am relaxed again. It makes me feel like I am not relationship material because it causes so much anxiety in me. I am having a really hard time accepting the fear and anxiety. I can’t seem to just float through it.

    1. Sen Post author

      Life has a way of pointing out the inner resistances, or conflicts, in you, so that they can be brought to awareness and be dissolved. Sometimes when we feel that we are done with a certain resistance, it’s possible that there are a few more layers of it left within which we are not aware of it, and in such a case any situation that makes us aware of them should be taken as a growth pointer and not as “regression”. Once awareness is present, there is no such thing called regression, because you are always moving forward in growth all the time. You need to let go of “limiting thoughts” like – “I am not relationship material” and realize that what’s hindering you are some inner fears and resistances, which you need to bring into your awareness so that they can be dissolved. Once these resistances are dissolved you will be match to your desired reality.

  9. Alliswell

    I have known these fears for awhile. I know my fears control me at times. I tend to retreat when I feel them, which makes it worse.
    Now, I am considering meeting someone again… as practice for managing my fears, but is still very scary.

    1. Sen Post author

      There are two reasons why a mind creates resistance towards a certain movement

      1. The movement is not aligned with the natural makeup of your mind, and the resistance is simply a “warning” that you are going in the wrong direction

      2. The movement is aligned with your inspiration, and passion, and the mind is just chickening out due to fear of the unknown

      The only way you can distinguish which category your resistance falls into by gaining a deeper understanding of your mind. If the mind is resisting your inspiration, it’s required to bring awareness to these fears and start dissolving them gradually, to allow for a place where you are no longer in resistance to your inspired movement. It’s important to be easy with the mind here and not try to “push” it into action before it feels ready, hence it’s best to dissolve the resistances by re-creating/envisioning/visualizing the situation in your mind and bringing awareness to all the fears that arise rather than just push yourself into some situations your mind is not ready for. If you keep doing this the fears will start losing their intensity, the more deeply you envision the reality (check the post – visualizing desired reality)the more likely you are to unearth your resistances. Allowing yourself to openly face these fears in your being allows for a deep transformation, and understanding, getting you to a place where you start becoming more aligned with your desired reality. If there is “stark” fear, it’s an indication that you are not really ready for action yet, and what’s required is to do the inner work of alignment before moving into external action, it allows for a far more smoother and positive experience. Only by bringing a deep awareness to these fears will you understand if the fear is resistance to your inspiration or if the fear is an indication that you are moving against your natural makeup or against your inner guidance. Once you have this clarity you will feel a clear mindedness in your actions, there will be no lingering doubt about whether this is right for you, and hence you will just allow the action to bring further understanding and growth.

  10. chetana

    Hi Sen i am having a hard time understanding a certain situation in my life. I am generally open and harmonious in my interactions with my husband but i get responses and vibes from my husband that are for most parts inharmonious and conflict ridden. He doesnot engage in much dialogue and his mostly icy in his demeaneour, and is highlycritical by nature. And this makes me feel sad, angry and sometimes i respond to him in kind and sometimes i just let it pass. The sadness comes from having my expectations of a happy family life not being met and so does the anger.

    Now i am trying to understand this situation with the “awareness perspective”. All my thoughts when i entered into this marriage were to have a harmonious peaceful shared life. Now i find i am living the opposite – conflict ridden, inharmonious, alone life with my husband. How did this come about? was it life showing me the thought patterns in my mind that i was not consciously aware off. How do i work out of this one? I am getting better at choosing when i respond to my husband’s bad vibes but what i am not getting is am i thinking these vibes in my mind/heart. where within me are these vibes residing …i wake up happy and smiley to be greeted with icy silence. how does this reflect my internal reality when i felt happy from within? Am i deluding myself?

    I am not hung up about the outcome of this marriage. I wish to experience a peaceful vibrant life within this marriage, outside this marriage either alone or with someone…i am open. Right now i am not fixated about the outcome. My focus is on how i created this. how do i bring awareness to my buried conflicted inner self that has attracted this external reality. help me please.

    in gratitude.

    1. Sen Post author

      Chetana, we attract incompatible situations when we are not in alignment with ourselves, due to lack of self-acceptance and the tendency of self-criticism. The more you align with yourself the more congruent your reality becomes. For a while, just focus on connecting with yourself, spending time understanding your mind’s natural makeup and the type of reality it desires. Don’t worry too much about the outside response for now, it’s enough to just get a sense if things are congruent if there are conflicts. Once you recognize that there are some conflicts in your external reality, just focus observing patterns of self-criticism that you may be carrying within you. Self-criticism is the most toxic negativity because it causes you to stay opposed to your own well-being in a strong way. Also observe if you are carrying some patterns of neediness (for approval), meekness and over-sensitivity. The more you focus on yourself, coming to a place of inner stability, without focusing too much on your external reality for now, the easier it is for life to make a shift in your reality.

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