The Unmasking of Life

the mirrored reflection

How I came to terms with who I am

the mirrored reflection

“You need to do the DISC Assessment.” came the request from my husband’s boss last week. So I asked him about it today. He hadn’t done it yet, so during a long drive to an appointment, I decided I would do it. Just for fun. I pulled up the website. I mean its endorsed by Tony Robbins so how bad could it be?!?

I really enjoy doing those personality test. One can learn so much about themselves. Things like realizing my personality based on my color choices, or what type of dog we should get. How many kids we will have by the time we are 35, my favorite flavor of ice-cream, and what animal I most resemble with my love life (I got a zebra in case you were wondering; they’re loyal and kind…so I was ok with that.)

Sometimes those facebook personality quizzes can be fun and a neat way to kill some boredom. But the DISC assessment was different. I hadn’t quite done anything like that before.

For this test, there were no right or wrong answers. 

I mean, sometimes the rules say that, and you can quickly see that they lied to you. Questions like are you late to work and messy in your habits?!?!? (note: I am NEVER late!) There’s no way in a million years that I’m going to admit that to my future employer.

This assessment used a list of 4–6 things that you arranged in order of what you most liked versus what you didn’t. They were all really good things! For example, one question had you make a job choice of 6 different occupations assuming the pay was equal. Choosing between lawyer, artist, volunteer coordinator, business executive, and law enforcement…Ok, I can do this.

There were also questions that described your personality. No rude or obviously bad answers. Choices such as quiet, outgoing, considerate, and friendly. Again, I felt as if I could honestly choose what traits were more like me, and put them in order.

Fifteen minutes later, I was presented with myself.

Johanna Galyen ~ DISC Results

My personality was summed up in a 54-page article with my strengths, weaknesses, and ways to improve…I was frankly impressed.


If a quick personality test could show me who I really was in fifteen minutes, then why do I wear masks in life? I mean, why do I try to make myself look better to everyone else. I know who I am, why am I hiding this behind three different masks?

Masks of motherhood

  • Wishing my children are always in brand name & popular clothes
  • Always having obedient children in public
  • Hoping my children use their manners and never fight…and they will be quiet, respectful, and willing to share
  • The perfect mother

Masks of being a wife

  • Serving homemade, made-from-scratch meals at a perfect dining table
  • Always trying to impress my husband to “buy” his love
  • Trying to redecorate my home just like Joanna Gaines’ shows on HGTV
  • The perfect wife

Read also: Why I Ask My Husband to Cook the Bacon

Masks of Life

  • Being quiet and not speaking up
  • Allowing my opinion and preferences to be overruled…time after time
  • Saying yes, when you should say no
  • Taking constructive criticism too personally
  • The perfect person

In the lists above, they are not all bad. Neither are they all good. Having a clean home and obedient children are really nice; I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t want that.

Insisting that my children do this every time that we are out in the public, is just a mask. Children misbehave. They argue. They don’t share, whine about rules, and pick their nose. (Please don’t faint in horror, but it’s true!)

As a mother, I need to remember that parenting is a process. 18 years long is the minimum timeline. Some lessons are taught quickly, and others take a long time with gentle reminders, consistency, and discipline (on Momma’s part and the child). I am super proud of those moments when my children are obedient in public, but I still love them when they’re fighting, arguing or even forgot to do their homework.

After almost 15 years, one would think I would have the ‘perfect wife’ complex figured out. I don’t. I wish I could impress others with my home with its beautiful exterior and interior. I try, but it’s not something I excel at. Choosing to love my husband in the best way possible means that I’m cleaning the toilets when I rather be on Facebook or playing Candy Crush.

I may never have a home like is showed on television, but I can keep the bathroom cleans, and *encourage* the kids to keep their kids off the living room floor (or I can ground them!!)

“A woman in a purple sweater holds her arms in the air outdoors aside a lake” by Christopher Campbell on Unsplash

Who am I? I’m outgoing and shy all the same time. Bright and bubbly, kind and caring, talkative and chirpy, friendly and sweet are all words that describe me. I can create chaos, but I prefer calm. I want to appear perfect, but I rarely am.

Speaking up for my needs, going against the status quo, and standing up for my beliefs is not my normal response.

It’s true. Look at the results. I fail in that area. I’m more of the quiet mouse who wants everything to go smoothly. I don’t want to upset the status quo or be looked at in an odd way. I hate fighting against the culture or using my voice.

It is always worth being ME. I don’t want to be fake. I want to be who I really am. #becauseIcare Click To Tweet

When I do this, I see myself being stuck in jail of my own making. I’m hiding. I’m running away. No one is upset. Everyone likes me.


When I stop being afraid and force myself out this shell; it’s not easy. It hurts sometimes. I feel each of those harsh looks and snarky words. I’m suddenly left out of groups that I felt once part of. I’m lonely. Sometimes it doesn’t feel worth it.

But it is.

It is always worth being ME. I don’t want to be fake. I want to be who I really am. And so with quiet and firm resilience, I repeat the words of the popular song from

“I am brave, I am bruised, I am who I’m meant to be…This is Me” The Greatest Showman

I know who I am. But who are you?


Special thanks to Gonzalo Ziadi and Oz Brown for their help; I am so thankful for kind friends; you make my life so much sweeter.

All opinions of DISC Profile Assessment are my own; this article was not a paid endorsement.

Previously published in The Ascent on April 12, 2018

18 thoughts on “The Unmasking of Life”

  1. The DISC assessment is amazing. What I learned about myself was both affirming of my goals and helped explain why I feel so stuck as far as getting to the place I want, and apparently should be going.

  2. Hi Johanna..
    I believe there is a consistent essence of self that flows through our life that is, for me, the “Me”. If you can catch it and honor it, it gets stronger and leads you on the right path of who you are. I don’t take personality tests as I think they’re misleading. I just trust my instincts and follow my heart. You are already unique and wonderful. Comparison can be a stressful path.

  3. Hi Johanna,

    Interesting article. I usually don’t take any of those tests. I’ve heard viruses and stuff are sometimes attached. It was interesting to see how your results turned out.

    Thinking back, I’ve been through some things in the last ten years or so but I’ve also grown and I am not the same person I was. I guess we all change in time but it seems like my changes were so drastic from the way I used to be. Some also could call it “Wisdom with age.” Who really knows?

    Thank you for sharing you with us.

    1. Monna, Yes, sometimes on Facebook there are viruses but this one was from based off it’s own website so I felt pretty safe. And yes! I think we are always changing. I know I’m not the same person I was 10 years ago. Hopefully nicer 😊. Thanks so much for reading – Johanna

  4. Hi Johanna,
    Glad to be here today, I am here via PAC FB forum. 🙂
    Indeed this is a well written piece!
    In fact I could pick a lot of things from this post.
    Yes, let’s be ourselves! And let’s be genuine!
    But sad in this fast growing internet world, we can see so many wearing a kind of mask!
    I am sure such things are momentary and will fade or come out soon and the real face will wide open one day!

    Thanks for sharing this inspirational thought.
    Keep sharing.
    Best
    ~ Philip

  5. Hi Johanna,
    How much fun it must have been taking this test. I like learning about myself and as I grow, I change so nothing is ever cut out in stone. Fun stuff! I’ve changed so much over the years it is incredible. Whenever I look back at this low self-esteem girl with introversion I do have to chuckle. Now I’m out! I am comfortable being me and more than that….my kids. Whatever I have taught them some things stuck others will (hopefully) come in time.
    They are not perfect ….neither am I but it is all about growth isn’t it?
    -Donna

  6. I am so happy and grateful I keep removing masks daily Johanna. I wear a few no doubt but blogging-wise I am releasing. No list-building and comments closed and I do much else off the cuff because I do not what a blogger should do, or, what the mask says I should do…like the movie, The Mask. All about being you and being at peace with it so your authentic nature shines through. Thanks for this key reminder my friend.

    1. Ryan, I love how you are so free with your blog. You see the chains of “having to have comments and an email list” and saying no more! I’ve struggled with different things on my blog, but I too see the freedom of releasing things that don’t serve me (and I really don’t like anyways)! Thanks so much for being a pioneer and showing the newbies, like me, the way. I am so grateful ~ Johanna

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