I recently got seriously cut up on the motorway by a businessman driving a large Mercedes who decided to throw his car from the middle lane into the inside lane where I was travelling, forcing me to brake hard to avoid running into the back of him.
I flashed my lights at him, followed by horn blowing, followed by non-spiritual obscenities that thankfully he could not hear. The driver gave me a two finger salute and waved his hands around in anger as if he had done nothing wrong. He had been entirely at fault and so nearly caused us to collide, yet reacted like I was in the wrong for being there!
A few hundred yards down the road, he was forced to brake because of the oncoming queue he was in to leave the motorway at the oncoming exit. I pulled my van into the middle lane and passed alongside him while giving him a long and lingering angry stare. He put his hand up offering an apology and gestured his regrets. Perhaps he was intimidated by a large white van driven by a tall red-headed angry driver. I just nodded my head in disgust and carried on my journey.
This incident got me thinking about our personality and how it varies from occasion to occasion. After much thought I came to the conclusion that it could be akin to us wearing an outer cloak – a personality cloak that suits the occasion. I further realised that each of us own three cloaks.
CLOAK 1 – The Presentation Cloak
This is the cloak that we wear when we are meeting people face to face. People we don’t know too well and when the occasion requires us to be on our best behaviour. Occasions such as when we meet another business person, a doctor, dentist or professional. When we are at a formal social occasion, a restaurant with a stranger, a meeting of importance.
Wearing this cloak, we are very much aware of how we are presenting ourselves. Our manners are at their best. Our language is carefully selected. Our bodily movements are more choreographed and we are most likely, though not always, wearing smarter clothing. It is this cloak that we wear the first time we meet with someone we feel an attraction to, such as a potential partner. This cloak only allows some of our emotions to show and only when we deliberately allow them.
This cloak is our best cloak. It’s the one that reflects who we are to the world. It’s the one that says ‘like me‘. The Presentation Cloak is the one we wear to sell ourself.
Cloak 2 – The Relaxed Cloak
Take off the Presentation Cloak and we reveal our Relaxed Cloak. This cloak is the one we wear the most. It is the one we wake up in and the one we go to bed wearing – hopefully. While wearing this cloak we are at ease, chilled, in charge and off guard. Our manners aren’t so formal. Our spoken words aren’t censored so much by ourself. Our actual clothing is most likely to be casual and we are living life as we choose to naturally.
We wear this cloak around our family and friends, our work colleagues and people we are comfortable with. This cloak allows us to state our opinions in conversations. We might use more colourful language and our personality is close to its natural self.
Cloak 3 – The Inner Cloak
This cloak is see-through. It reveals the true self. Nothing about our personality is hidden. We are the boss, the top dog, the King, the Queen, the master. Nothing matters while we wear the Inner cloak.
We are on our own in our home. There is nobody around. The walls hide us from the world outside. We can truly chill and usually do. We pick our nose, let wind openly and do whatever we want. We have nobody around us, so manners and behaviour don’t matter. We are in our car, we own the roads. We are better than anyone else. We are in charge of our actions and nobody is there to dictate to us.
What Cloak Do You Wear Most?
The businessman in the Mercedes that cut me up on the motorway did so when he was wearing his Inner Cloak. His personality had changed from his normally controlled temperament. He was locked inside his tin can on wheels oblivious of the rest of the world. Until that is, he became aware of it as he did when my big white van shadowed slowly alongside his car and he caught eye to eye contact with me.
In that very moment, he immediately returned to his Presentation Cloak. He acted with manners and his naturally courteous personality took control. In fairness, my cloak changed back from the Inner Cloak to my Presentation Cloak as I recognised his apologetic actions.
So which of the three cloaks do we wear most? Is it the formal Presentation Cloak where all we want to do is impress everyone and sell ourselves as the person we want the other person to believe we are? Or are we more chilled and natural most of the time, wearing our Relaxed Cloak – no heirs and graces? Or are we not bothered about anyone else and living our life as we want to while wearing our Inner Cloak all too often?
I recognise that for me during an average day I will wear all three cloaks at some point. Generally though, I believe I wear the Relaxed Cloak the most. But I got to thinking about this. What we are talking about here is different sides to our personalities. I wondered if I knew anyone that had a balanced personality where they could be seen as only ever wearing one cloak. Surely, I thought, this would reveal someone that had a stable temperament?
I wasn’t thinking about it for long before I thought of my partner, Jane. I would have to say that living with her and knowing her so well would put me in a position to be able to decide which cloak she wears the most. It is her Relaxed Cloak.
Jane’s doesn’t often lose her temper. When she’s driving, she is tolerant and patient. She doesn’t believe in heirs and graces very often. Her manners are excellent all the time and she is well loved by everyone that knows her. Yes, if she really has to she can wear her Presentation Cloak, but only while it is required. She rarely wears her Inner Cloak – well not that I know of anyway!
How about you? Where do you fit in this analogy? Do you have a personality where you’re swapping cloaks every few minutes? Or are you balanced, rarely moody, upbeat and happy in your cloak? ♥