As human beings, we love to belong. So we join groups form cliques and find people who have quite a few things in common with us. Many of us carve our identity from these boxes we put ourselves in. Nerd, #Woke, Good Girl/Boy, Omo Wobe, there are so many labels we place on ourselves in a bid to fit in with whatever group. What happens when you begin to discover parts of your personality don’t quite fit the label you’ve given yourself? Do you back away? Do you run? You owe yourself the opportunity to fall in love with yourself – in all your multifaceted glory. Start exploring this new side. You might be evolving. Or perhaps you’re finally listening to a part of yourself you’ve silenced for long. Here are some tips on taking that mask off.
Beware of friends who discourage you from displaying the depths of your personality. That is, unless it is detrimental to your mental or physical health. If you are a bookworm and want to sign up for an open mic night, your friends shouldn’t mock you. They are allowed to be initially surprised. They can be amused. They should even start coaching you, giving you tips to improve your stage presence, if necessary. But be wary of the friends who belittle your attempt to spread your wings. A girlfriend that’s down will know your hidden gifts and encourage you to showcase them.

You are not a monolith

Switch from Ibadan Yoruba to the Queen’s tongue. Savour creme brulee and devour Iya Sidi’s amala and gbegiri. Chill out to Asa and Nneka and bend it low to Olamide. You are allowed to live your best life without limitations. Refuse to put yourself in a box. Never limit your self expression because people cannot understand. Being toosh 24/7 when your inner ratchet beckons will feel suffocating
Never limit your self expression because people cannot understand. Being toosh 24/7 when your inner ratchet beckons will feel suffocating. And eventually you’ll grow bitter especially when you see someone else freely living their life. You won’t even like your own company.

Own your quirks

Act out a music video when your favorite songs come up. Break out into random song in the middle of a store. Become friends with people who will do these activities with you. It’s so much easier navigating intricacies of personality when you’ve got a good support system.

Acknowledge and work on your faults

Identify the areas of your personality that you might need to improve on and address them. Sharpen your skills. Develop your talents. If you are forgetful, write important details down, set alarms on your phone and download productivity apps. Be intentional with your development, be deliberate concerning your skills and stay ahead of the curve.

You are a work in progress and a masterpiece at the same time

So live accordingly. Take those steps that scare you, and do not be afraid to fail. If those daring ventures are not successful, don’t beat yourself up; you learn a lot about yourself in those instances. Pick yourself up and try again. Realise that you are a uniquely packaged gift. Not everyone will see your value but it is more important for you to recognize your value.
Remember that taking a mask off will be a process.

It won’t always be rosy. You’ll uncover deep insecurities and need to be vulnerable yet wise.
Congratulations, you’ve started a journey of self discovery.

Photo Credit : Derek Blanks (Alter Ego series)

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