When I was younger I was a quiet and shy person. At least that is what I believed. There is a saying that if you tell a lie long enough people will start to believe it and I guess that is what I did to myself. I saw the world in binary form. Either people were loud and gregarious or quiet and introspective. The funny thing was that I didn't particularly like the label of being quiet, shy and reserved. It quite often limited me from expressing myself. However I thought that the label was coming from other people so I felt like I just needed to get on with life and live within the confines of this role.
University came along and I decided to learn Business and French. I was 17 at the time and I can remember experiencing thoughts of 'what sort of notions will people think of me learning French'. To avoid this internal monologue I would quite often just tell people I was learning Business. It became evident to me quite early on that learning French was going to have a profound effect on my personality. I can remember thinking that as an introverted person I would need to become more extroverted. Learning a foreign language requires engaging in conversation with other people. It requires becoming more comfortable with making mistakes in front of other people. It would require confronting my inner critic.
Initially all this change was uncomfortable but my love of language learning and people gradually made the journey a lot easier. I lived in France for the first time in my life and I began to get a glimpse at the true nature of personality. When I decided to go to a foreign land by myself I began to see that everything is up for grabs. Rumi's advice to be notorious with your reputation started to make a little more sense.
The truth of the matter is much more empowering than the archetype. As I went through childhood, university and out the other side my personality and character evolved along the way. This is normal, this is how life happens when we are not filled with worry about the end destination. When I am still buying into the outside world defining and determining my self worth and who I am as a person then it is easy to over look how far I have come. It is freeing to know that people will inevitably see what they want to see in me because what they see is defined through the filter of their own self generated perception.