Don’t hold back!  Express yourself!  The real you!

How many times a day do you get that message?   Reality TV.  Talk shows.  Soap operas.  Movies.  Song lyrics.  Advertisements.  Pop culture puts a lot of stock in being authentic.


Most of us associate being authentic with expressing our feelings.  Not that this is a bad thing.  Except when it is.  Like when we justify a tantrum with statements like, “I’m just bein’ real here!”

It’s time to free yourself from the profoundly limiting belief that you’re being the real you, when you express feelings.  Here’s a thought:  Your emotions are separate from and just one element of who you are.  Keeping this fact in mind changes everything.

Who am I?

Just for fun and because I’m eagerly anticipating our annual Memorial Day visit to the local frozen custard shoppe, think of yourself as a turtle sundae.  Just as one delicious ingredient alone fails to define a turtle sundae, your emotions alone do not define you.  Like an authentic turtle sundae, thereal you has many essential elements.

Now, imagine yourself digging into that turtle sundae.  What do you go for first?  The cherry on top?  A toasted pecan?  A taste of hot fudge?  The element of the turtle sundae that you go for first is the equivalent of your emotions.  Emotions always come first but emotions alone do not define you.

The real you

Although feelings immediately grab your attention, other elements are equally defining.  The real you is also defined by intellect, intuition, social relationships, memories, dreams, talents, habits, creativity, resilience, sense of humor, and on and on.  Previous posts, Bad Advice: Follow your heart and How to Train Your Dragon, describe when to honor your emotions and how to go about taking command of negative feelings.

I’m off to the frozen custard shoppe.

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© Copyright 2013 Christine Meinecke, Ph.D., All rights Reserved.
  • TAGS
  • authenticity
  • personal development
  • the real you
  • true colors
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Christine Meinecke received a doctorate in Counseling Psychology from the University of Kansas in 1983. She interned at Colorado State University Counseling Center and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine. Dr. Meinecke is in her nineteenth year of full-time private practice in Des Moines, Iowa. Prior to entering private practice, she worked in hospital mental health settings She has taught psychology and psychotherapy classes to undergraduates, graduate students, and medical residents. She is also a playwright. Her full-length, comedic play, Flutter the Dovecotes, was the 2009 winner of the Iowa Playwrights Workshop competition and was premiered by Tallgrass Theatre Company in January 2010. For more information about Flutter the Dovecotes click ”works” tab. For thirty-plus years, she has practiced yoga and taught yoga classes in various settings. She met her beloved wrong person while both were graduate students at University of Kansas. They have been married twenty-nine years.


  1. This article makes a good point. I’d like to add important elements of Self: our values, our needs, our wants, our spirituality, and vulnerable thoughts. Shame covers up our true self, but we have choices each day to be authentic or codependent.
    Darlene Lancer, LMFT
    Author of Codependency for Dummies