I Know Your Secret and I’m Going to Tell Everyone: How to be Your True Self

I bet you’re wishing you hadn’t stumbled upon my blog, but it’s too late to save yourself.

No, no—don’t try to bribe me. I’ve made up my mind, and I’m going to tell everyone your deep, dark secret.

It’s better this way.

You can’t hide forever.

It was only a matter of time before everyone found out.

Your secret is…


That’s right, a complete phony. I don’t even need to know exactly what you’re hiding, but I know you’re not being completely truthful.

But don’t feel too bad that I exposed your secret. Here’s the thing: Everyone else is hiding a part of themselves too!

Sometimes it’s hard to be our authentic selves because we worry about what others would think or we don’t want to hurt people’s feelings.

How can you tell if you’re being fake?

  • You worry about what would happen if your friends ever met each other because you don’t act the same around different groups of people.
  • Your boyfriend thinks you’re 5 years younger than you really are.
  • You pretend to be something you’re not just to please other people.
  • Your house is full of gifts you received like ugly sweaters, unread books, and bizarre art that you feel like you can’t give away or throw out even though you hate it.
  • You forget which lie you told to which person.
  • Your parents think you share the same religious beliefs/political leanings, but you actually don’t.
  • You always feel like you have to be “on” and you feel drained after interacting with large groups of people.

How can you tell if you’re being your true self?

  • You are relaxed around many different types of people and you can’t wait to introduce your friends to each other.
  • You stand up for what you believe in even if you are standing alone.
  • You spend much of your free time doing activities that you love.
  • You only bring things/people into your life that build you up, not cut you down.
  • Your home and your lifestyle reflect who you really are.

Let’s encourage others to be truthful with us by being truthful with them.

Tell your coworker that you don’t agree with her point of view.

Admit that you dye your hair (it looks fabulous, by the way).

Fess up that you’re the one who ate all the lasagna and not a bunch of raccoons who broke into the apartment late at night.

Tell someone that you love them, regardless of whether you think they feel the same way.

I don’t expect you to become completely truthful all the time (“why yes, that dress DOES make you look fat!”), but we could all stand to honor our true selves more often.

What secret are you hiding? When do you feel most truthful?

The Editor’s Toolkit

  • Free Workshop: 3 Simple Steps to Become a Productivity Superstar
  • 25+ Printable Worksheets
  • 6 Life Editing Ebooks
  • My Favorite Books and Resources


  1. Tinfoil Tiaras on May 9, 2012 at 7:27 pm

    I think this is something we all struggle with to some degree- I am definitely getting better (I’m my authentic self with all my friends, which when you’re a bit quirky like me is wonderful!) I do however get so exhausted from socializing, I always feel I have to be bubbly, especially if I don’t know the people that well. I’m starting to stand up for what I believe in (like animal rights) but it’s hard because you don’t want to come across as too preachy, it’s an art form. I look forward to reading the additional articles- thanks for setting us straight! 😉

  2. Cara on May 9, 2012 at 6:37 am

    Love this and really need to apply that bit about co-workers to my actual life. I have some interesting co-workers that I placate rather than tell the truth with and maybe if I just fessed up they would leave me alone. Taking this to the office tomorrow! Thank you Sage!

  3. Molly on May 8, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    Yet another great post! I’m usually my true self with a few exceptions, but I’m working on those. It’s been hard with those people, though, because they’re family members. As I get older, though, it’s becoming much easier to not care what they think about me. 🙂

    • Sage on May 8, 2012 at 10:12 pm

      Thanks, Molly! I had to distance myself from certain family members because I couldn’t deal with their expectations and judgements. I gotta be me! And you’re completely right that it gets easier with age. I’d rather be a work in progress than a phony.

  4. Megan Gann on May 8, 2012 at 11:36 am

    I think this is why I am a happier person than average. I DO accept myself – even if it means people think I’m cold or uncaring sometimes. I still respect manners (I was born in the South after all), but my family is the WORST about giving not only useless, but just plain thoughtless gifts. I’ve regifted, trashed, donated.

    I call it “playing the Game” whenever I have to deal with not being myself. I feel like I don’t fit in the typical mold and it’s hard trying to conform to this set standard of ideals that people expect.

    This is a great post. You should really write a book if you’re not working on one already!

    • Sage on May 8, 2012 at 10:09 pm

      You’re so sweet, Megan. Thank you. I am working on a book/resources. Stay tuned!

      I’ve gotten so many horrible gifts. It took me a while before I felt OK to just throw them out. Really, if someone put no thought into it, then why should it take up space in my house?

      I’m glad you don’t fit into a typical mold. That’s what makes your blog so enjoyable. You’re genuine, and that’s hard to find. It’s easy to get caught up in wanting to be liked.

  5. Shybiker on May 8, 2012 at 7:47 am

    So true. I was going to add that most of the manifestations of this that you cite are common among young people (who are struggling more with acceptance from peers than older folk) but then I realized there are still many examples of this in people of every age. Many never outgrow their fear of ridicule and ostracism.

    Your shining a light on this is very valuable because, as I’ve learned, facing and overcoming our fears is amazingly liberating. Life becomes easier and better.

    Oh, and I love the photos of you illustrating the post.

    • Sage on May 8, 2012 at 8:02 am

      I’ve gotten better about being my true self as I’ve aged, but I still have moments when I’m not being authentic. But I always feel better when I stop hiding how I really feel.

      I’m so glad you like the photos! Chris does a good job.

  6. xvavaveganx on May 8, 2012 at 7:22 am

    Great post Sage! I definitely agree with you, I think that at some point or another people are not their true selves when around other people. I know I am guilty of this at times because I am a people pleaser. I definitely sacrifice my own wants and needs to benefit others and that sparked my recent desire to focus on myself and to strive to be my true self.

    We owe it to ourselves to be honest about who we are and to honor our true selves. This is a really great reminder of that and definitely some amazing advice, as always 🙂 Your posts always inspire me to be the best that I can be and I’m definitely motivated to try and live the life that I always dreamed for myself as opposed to the life that others dream of for me.

    • Sage on May 8, 2012 at 8:07 am

      I feel bad later when I haven’t been my true self in a situation. But it’s hard because I still want people to like me or I feel like it would take too much effort to explain myself to someone.

      Thanks for the compliment! I like inspiring people, and my favorite blogs are the ones that motivate me. Your blog inspires me to eat healthier (but I still don’t always make the best choices).

      I hope you write more on your blog about the changes you’re making to live your dreams.