3rd December 2015, Prismacolor pencils on A4 cartridge paper
This picture was inspired by an insight I got from the book Scary Close by Donald Miller.
Don talked about a diagram with three circles. The inside circle represents the true Self—who we really are. The middle circle represents shame, which causes us to think there’s something wrong with who we are. The outside circle is the false self we create (often subconsciously) to cover the shame.
We can think this outside circle is our personality but the things in this circle are roles we play—defence mechanisms to protect ourselves. We use these defence mechanisms because we think they make us someone.
This made me question what I used to cover up. For me it would be intelligence, morality, achievement, perfection, and niceness. Looking at my diagram looks like looking in the mirror—the me I present to the world to be liked. But the real me doesn’t know everything, gets things wrong, fails, doesn’t have everything together, and can’t please everyone. So I hid the real me because my shame made me think I was unlovable.
Subconsciously, I thought the things in my outside circle would make me someone who was lovable. While the things in my outside circle might not necessarily be bad things, they become bad when I think I get my identity and worth from them. I want to strip away the outside circle and be okay with showing the real me.
The diagram made me think about how a lot of people might be walking around with an outer circle around them and they’re telling the world this is who they are. I want to let them know they don’t need the false self. They’re real self is loved and worthy.