We have landed in Chile, and I’m a fish out of water. All of the comforting things that once surrounded me are on a boat, and my favourite friends and local haunts have disappeared. Everything is new, I don’t know anyone here. That gets me thinking: can I ‘become’ someone new? Could I really be anyone I want in a new place? Can I literally just hit reset? It’s a bit like when you start a new job: you get the opportunity to ‘be’ someone else at the new organisation. Nobody there knows your past successes, failures or reputation, you’re starting afresh! While you cant jump out of your own skin into someone else’s, and it’s pretty close to impossible to change your innate personality, at some level in a new place you’re free to craft a new ‘image’.
When it comes to presenting ourselves to others we tend to go to great lengths to project what we want others to see. The clothes you wear, for example, can tell others lots of things about you, like whether you are liberal or conservative, wealthy or destitute, easygoing or meticulous, flashy or sedate, prudish or promiscuous (Swann, 1983). Sometimes how you present yourself to others really is a representation of the ‘real’ you, and other times it could be a complete misrepresentation – c’mon, nobody feels truly themselves in a job interview, right?.
It’s interesting to think about how you project your identity. Whether you do it consciously or not, people read into how you speak, act, dress, and behave in social situations. So when given the opportunity to start afresh with it all, would you be the ‘same’, or would you try to craft a ‘new you’? I will ponder that question before I throw myself into the social community here.
I’ve always wanted to be more of the silent reflective type – perhaps I can give it a go? When it comes down to it, no matter what you do, you cant really hide your true self for long- it always finds a way to come out of the woodwork. But what you can do is think about the things that you’ve been tied to in the past that have stuck with you, that no longer need to hold you back. For example, that last office Christmas party embarrassment will not follow you to the new life, nor will the time you accidentally copied a work colleague in on a personal email. Not that these have happened to me (!), but it is fun to think about what you can do if you get to hit reset.