“I see nobody on the road,” said Alice. “I only wish I had such eyes,” the White King ♠ remarked in a fretful tone. “To be able to see Nobody! And at that distance too! Why, it’s as much as I can do to see real people, by this light.”
Once a messenger arrives: “Who did you pass on the road?” the King went on…. “Nobody,” said the Messenger. “Quite right,” said the King; “this young lady saw him too. So of course Nobody walks slower than you.”
“I do my best,” the Messenger said in a sullen tone. “I’m sure nobody walks much faster than I do!” “He can’t do that,” said the King, “or else he’d have been here first.”
The moment you realize you’re a Nobody a great freedom is presented to you, you’re handed back your sanity. For years I felt split, I didn’t feel genuine or whole, my ‘Somebody’ was constantly trying to be so many individuals (Me, Myself and I) for so many different people. Have you ever stopped and observed how many people you carry with you? Your brain is laden with all these costumes you haul around, a cohabitation with uninvited impersonators of you that manifest themselves whenever they feel necessary. The vulnerable side you show to your lover is not the same as the serious and responsible costume you portray in front of your co-workers. Your austere and wretched boss probably behaves in a completely different way around their friends or family than around you at work. There’s topics you’d talk about freely with your friends that you wouldn’t dare sharing with your father. There’s a certain image we want to control of ourselves with each person in our life, and in doing so, we develop this unconscious uncertainty of who it is we really are.
Differences Between Personality and Character
The word “Personality” originates from the Greek; “Persona“, meaning Mask, Personas were the names given to actors in theatre plays. The thespians wore white masks during the entire performance. The only way to recognize which actor was playing who was by the sound of their voice, hence the Greek “-Sona” for sound. Personalities are bogus, it’s your character that carries substance.
Personalities are social facades imposed from the outside, a social sophistication, they are masks we choose to wear around certain people. Renowned psychologist Carl Jung described personalities as: “the mask or appearance one presents to the world.”
Each mask comes with it’s own duties, it’s own social etiquette of what you’re allowed to say or do in front of your social relation with that person.
Characters are what dictate your core values, your principals, your will power, your morals and courage. Characters can only be found alone in Solitude, or when you undergo the process of Involution, the inner evolution of the heart, mind and soul.
Characters are raw, wild, strong with tremendous power. Once you see through the fallacy of personalities, you come to experience the moments when you’re not wearing a mask laden with obligations and responsibilities. You come to see the times when you can be entirely authentic and genuine to yourself; pick your nose, Google taboo questions, pee on your feet in the shower. All of this is in complete solitude, or with someone you entirely trust and be unmasked with. This all happens when you find your identity in your character and not your personality. We are all originally nobodies, we only become somebody’s when there’s others that judge us or we make comparisons with, resulting in a chaotic state of affairs of misunderstandings, insecurities, inhibitions and repressions.
The Benefits of Solitude and Involution
This constant repression leads to an underlying tension throughout our life. Like a mental disorder we feel slightly split, incomplete, we have no center or core. Perhaps that’s why some extroverts find going out on the weekend to clubs or pubs so exhilarating. With the help of alcohol, those tensions carried throughout the week can be diluted for a few hours, these people can ‘let loose‘, be themselves and dance or laugh away, without the concern of what costume they must impersonate now.
That may be why introverts find solitude so addictive. Inebriation and social activities are too much stimulation for their slower and more sensitive characters. Only when they are alone is the only time when they get to be relaxed, comfortable with themselves, and feel slightly more whole as they aren’t wearing any costume or adapting to the social expectations the surroundings demand. They become ‘Nobodies‘ once more.
Looking at the world this way changes your approach to it entirely. You realize that no one has truly outgrown their childhood make-believe games. We don’t pretend to be spy’s or explorers anymore, but instead men put on suits and pretend to be respectable businessmen and whatever duties that costume brings. A man that dresses all toughly, with chains, tattoos and a leather jacket is only trying to scare you away because he feels afraid of others. Or else what would be the point? His appearance is useless. These people want to frighten you away before you have a chance of hurting them. They want to appear strong and intimidating, so you don’t see behind their mask, their weakness.
Solitude provides that vital rest from the constant struggle of the backstage costume changes.
Say what you mean and mean what you say because the people that matter don’t mind and the people that mind don’t matter. – Dr Seuss
More importantly, becoming aware of this facade gives you the freedom to choose whether you want to be authentic to your character or a slave to your social personality; to be genuinely yourself.
Do you wear any costumes you’d like to rid yourself from?