We all have our public faces. In recent times, values such as “authenticity” have been highlighted as exemplary character traits. Having met a few public figures who are renowned for being supposedly open and straightforward, I can attest to the fact in many cases, they have “images” that they present to people they don’t know.

The way a person behaves behind the scenes is certainly worth knowing about, if he or she is asking others to trust them. Does this mean that the private person is the “real” one, while the public persona is artificial?

Perhaps the truth is more complicated than many of us would like to believe it is. I have had interesting conversations with highly skilled actors, where we agreed that each of us can only ever be ourselves, regardless of the facet of our personalities we choose to present at any given point in time.

In getting to know someone, sometimes it takes a while to perceive the person’s shadowy dimensions. A friend once told me that I had the ability to see people for who they are, almost immediately after meeting them. I can’t say that I’ve always used this gift judiciously.

If we all have light and shadow in our personas, the real issue to be considered is whether or not it is worthwhile to expend time, energy and resources in joining forces with specific individuals. Hopefully we all get opportunities to make the relevant choices.