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Why Am I Afraid to Tell You Who I Am? Insights Into Personal Growth

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Only when we face our fears can we learn to like ourselves and trust that others will accept us. This extraordinary book has changed countless lives.


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Only when we face our fears can we learn to like ourselves and trust that others will accept us. This extraordinary book has changed countless lives.

30 review for Why Am I Afraid to Tell You Who I Am? Insights Into Personal Growth

  1. 5 out of 5

    Pink

    The first time I ever realized and admitted out loud that I feel angry was after I read this book. It was a first in a series of books of realizing the feelings behind my frustrations, and helped me to realize a lot of what was simmering in me and then be able to learn how to deal with it. I never thought I was an angry person until I read this book. I realized when I would say what I feel instead of acting out to a situation in order to not tell someone what was really going on with me, it woul The first time I ever realized and admitted out loud that I feel angry was after I read this book. It was a first in a series of books of realizing the feelings behind my frustrations, and helped me to realize a lot of what was simmering in me and then be able to learn how to deal with it. I never thought I was an angry person until I read this book. I realized when I would say what I feel instead of acting out to a situation in order to not tell someone what was really going on with me, it would normally be I feel angry... for whatever reason. This may sound cliche, but I realized there was a lot of anger from my childhood that I had to deal with in counseling to let go and stop making others around me suffer for my prejudices, bitternesses and hangups.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jean Carlton

    I had to look up the S.J. that follows the author's name on my copy. Society of Jesus.I ignored the God stuff in the book but it was there. It's hard not to consider his personal life in reviewing this book, now that I've read numerous articles about it, as he was accused multiple times of sex crimes against female students and at retreats. I am interested in relationships, how people communicate (or don't), the idea of honesty and the discovery of 'who I am', which by the way was a popular topi I had to look up the S.J. that follows the author's name on my copy. Society of Jesus.I ignored the God stuff in the book but it was there. It's hard not to consider his personal life in reviewing this book, now that I've read numerous articles about it, as he was accused multiple times of sex crimes against female students and at retreats. I am interested in relationships, how people communicate (or don't), the idea of honesty and the discovery of 'who I am', which by the way was a popular topic in the 1960's when this book was written. Though there are many basic facts about personality disorders and a list of 'games' we all play- masks we wear, I now wonder about HIS masks. Though he was not ever charged in these many allegations, it certainly colors my views on his blunt presentation of human behavior. Ironically, p. 118 he states that he cannot justify judging others he can only "report my emotions to you with candor and honesty...reveal myself openly and honestly..try to be honest with myself and communicate myself honestly to you." Hmmm. I do like this quote: "In short, you can't be happy unless you are honest with yourself and you can't be honest with yourself unless you can be honest with another."

  3. 4 out of 5

    W.B.

    I gave this two stars because I used my brother's copy of it to weigh down a lid on a Habitrail that had a broken snap. This kept the hamster in the cage. Hence the "okay" rating. It might not have fared so well had there been no hamster. I gave this two stars because I used my brother's copy of it to weigh down a lid on a Habitrail that had a broken snap. This kept the hamster in the cage. Hence the "okay" rating. It might not have fared so well had there been no hamster.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Maria Montemayor

    why am i afraid to tell you who i am? i am afraid to tell you who i am, because, if i tell you who i am, you may not like who i am, and it's all that i have... ― john powell why am i afraid to tell you who i am? i am afraid to tell you who i am, because, if i tell you who i am, you may not like who i am, and it's all that i have... ― john powell

  5. 5 out of 5

    Manara.

    Ouch! so good Comforting, beautifully overwhelming Im in so much pain 😂🤕so glad i found it Definitely gonna reread

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sara Sherzad

    It was weird and new but surprisingly logical for me! ...I think it's from a very deep insight from the author...I learned alot but there always remains a "but"! Will read it again.This book is a challenge and difficult to understand for most of us as we live in a matetialistic world! Challenge yourself and read it. It was weird and new but surprisingly logical for me! ...I think it's from a very deep insight from the author...I learned alot but there always remains a "but"! Will read it again.This book is a challenge and difficult to understand for most of us as we live in a matetialistic world! Challenge yourself and read it.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jan

    I don't think John Powell really answers the question "Why Am I Afraid to Tell You Who I Am?" He writes that we "act 'roles', wear 'masks', and play 'games'" to "protect ourselves from further vulnerability" (p. 5), but he doesn't really address where this vulnerability comes from. He says that our "'programming' is a result of the composite of previous influences in our lives (social programming) and our reaction to them (individual programming)" and that we have "something like a portable tape I don't think John Powell really answers the question "Why Am I Afraid to Tell You Who I Am?" He writes that we "act 'roles', wear 'masks', and play 'games'" to "protect ourselves from further vulnerability" (p. 5), but he doesn't really address where this vulnerability comes from. He says that our "'programming' is a result of the composite of previous influences in our lives (social programming) and our reaction to them (individual programming)" and that we have "something like a portable tape recorder" inside us (p. 8). Well, this is certainly an assumption, but what is the justification? The final chapter of the booklet contains "a catalogue of games and roles" people play (pp. 74—105). A better title of the book would have been "Common Games People Play".

  8. 5 out of 5

    Bill

    Very interesting little book. Short and blunt in its descriptions of emotional health and dysfunction and how it impacts you and others. In short, you can't be happy unless you are honest with yourself and you can't be honest with yourself unless you can be honest with another. Much to be said about that idea. As I said, a short, easy read although the font in this particular edition slows you way down and the verbiage can be a little much at times (this was published in 1969). It's repetitive (th Very interesting little book. Short and blunt in its descriptions of emotional health and dysfunction and how it impacts you and others. In short, you can't be happy unless you are honest with yourself and you can't be honest with yourself unless you can be honest with another. Much to be said about that idea. As I said, a short, easy read although the font in this particular edition slows you way down and the verbiage can be a little much at times (this was published in 1969). It's repetitive (though I think it's repetitive in useful ways) and may or may not be your cup of tea. In some ways, it would probably serve as a good reference/reminder to check out once in a while. I own very few books, but will probably add this to the stack for just that purpose.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sara Alawneh

    ❤️

  10. 5 out of 5

    Salma Khattab

    Highly recommend book to everyone who is going through a healing journey and self-discovery. just finished it and I want to read it again and again.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Larry Taylor

    great guide to communication

  12. 5 out of 5

    Meg

    I had a HUGE aha moment reading this book. A life changer! For me anyhow.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Joshua

    Diving headfirst into the games we play to keep people from being known and seen, this book was great and to the point... "I am afraid to tell you who I am, because, if I tell you who I am, you may not like who I am, and it is all that I have." Diving headfirst into the games we play to keep people from being known and seen, this book was great and to the point... "I am afraid to tell you who I am, because, if I tell you who I am, you may not like who I am, and it is all that I have."

  14. 4 out of 5

    Matthew MacLennan

    "When I repress my emotions, my stomach keeps score..." This book made me think harder about myself than any other book I have read in a long long time. It incorporates much insight from psychology and it tackles an essential component of our lives we otherwise wouldn't broach: recognizing our weaknesses and psychological tendencies and recognizing that we can grow from those places of hurt and fear. It starts from understanding the human condition, then progresses into personal growth. From pers "When I repress my emotions, my stomach keeps score..." This book made me think harder about myself than any other book I have read in a long long time. It incorporates much insight from psychology and it tackles an essential component of our lives we otherwise wouldn't broach: recognizing our weaknesses and psychological tendencies and recognizing that we can grow from those places of hurt and fear. It starts from understanding the human condition, then progresses into personal growth. From personal growth, Powell branches out into interpersonal relationships. Since our emotions are so important to how we tackle everything in life, the next chapter deals with emotions. The last two chapters are very revealing: "Methods of ego defense" and "Catalog of games and roles". In other words: "excuses" and "games". One of the most useful things about this book is its Catalog of Games and Roles. This detailed list at the end of the book outlines some of the games we play with others that exhilarate us. As you read, you begin to realize that all these types contain distortions and over/under-emphases of one aspect of life. You also begin to place everyone you know into these roles! Even yourself... Here is the short list alphabetically: 1. always right 2. all heart 3. the body beautiful 4. the braggart 5. the clown 6. the competitor 7. the conformist 8. the crank 9. the cynic 10. deluded by grandeur 11. the dominator 12. the dreamer 13. the drinker/dope addict 14. the flirt 15. fragile/handle with care 16. the gossip 17. the hedonist 18. I...I...I... (egocentrism) 19. inferior and guilty 20. indecisive and uncertain 21. inflammable: handle with caution 22. the intellect (alias the egghead) 23. the loner 24. the martyr 25. the messiah 26. the mommy 27. peace at any price (see 19. inferior and guilty) 28. ponce de leon 29. the poor mouth 30. the pouter 31. prejudice and bigotry 32. the procrastinator 33. resentfully yours 34. the sex bomb (female) and the predatory male 35. suffering is the spice (price) of life 36. the strong, silent type vs. the willing and wordy 37. the worrier Although it is not difficult to read, it is a difficult little book; it is short but packs a punch. At some points I was very reflective. At some points I was inquisitive. At some points I was brought to a place where I could face my destructive tendencies. From here, I can grow to develop new habits and make changes in my life and relationships. I look forward to reading it again. Thank you for this book.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Emma

    i totally didnt forget about this book for the past week and a half

  16. 4 out of 5

    Tara

    I'm very conflicted about this book. I was drawn to read it after Melody Beattie recommended it as an activity in her chapter on communication in Codependent No More. It's small, easy to digest, and for the most part I did find the information in it to be helpful. I'll carry his breakdown of the five levels of communication with me when gauging how real the relationships in my life are and how I can improve them. It also encouraged me to really look at some truths I may be avoiding and habits an I'm very conflicted about this book. I was drawn to read it after Melody Beattie recommended it as an activity in her chapter on communication in Codependent No More. It's small, easy to digest, and for the most part I did find the information in it to be helpful. I'll carry his breakdown of the five levels of communication with me when gauging how real the relationships in my life are and how I can improve them. It also encouraged me to really look at some truths I may be avoiding and habits and personality traits I've cultivated over the years to avoid both looking at and communicating my emotions. I did find that when discussing masks people hide behind and ineffective ways people communicate to avoid revealing themselves, he generally simultaneously identifies the causes as inferiority complexes or low self-esteem and judges these people as immature which seemed a bit harsh. He says himself that revealing someones mask to them can bring up quite a lot of emotions and be hard for someone to hear, yet he seems to discuss the possible masks with disdain rather than empathy which I can't imagine to make the situation easier. However, my biggest concern about this book was information I learned after finishing it ... that John Powell was accused of sexually abusing several of his students and eventually settled in these cases. I'm not sure how I feel about taking self-help advice from a sexual abuser and it's kind of tainted anything valuable or valid I might have gained from the book.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    Interesting insights, but it felt incomplete. He presented a problem, but didn't really give an answer. Interesting insights, but it felt incomplete. He presented a problem, but didn't really give an answer.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    It's hard to tell people who you truly are if you aren't sure who you are yourself. Good short read, and I'll leave two quotes that kind of sum up the premise of the book: "My person is not a little hard core inside of me, a little fully formed statue that is real and authentic, permanent and fixed; person rather implies a dynamic process. In other words, if you knew me yesterday, please do not think that it is the same person you are meeting today. I have experienced more of life, I have encount It's hard to tell people who you truly are if you aren't sure who you are yourself. Good short read, and I'll leave two quotes that kind of sum up the premise of the book: "My person is not a little hard core inside of me, a little fully formed statue that is real and authentic, permanent and fixed; person rather implies a dynamic process. In other words, if you knew me yesterday, please do not think that it is the same person you are meeting today. I have experienced more of life, I have encountered new depths in those I love, I have suffered and prayed, and I am different." "The suggestion is that the 'fully human' person is 'his own person,' that he does not bend to every wind which blows, that he is not at the mercy of all the pettiness, the meanness, the impatience and anger of others. Atmospheres do not transform him as much as he transforms them. [...] There is nothing implied here that suggests the repression of emotions or which denies the fullness of life in our senses and emotions. The suggestion is rather of balance and integration of emotions. In the fully alive human person, there can be no such thing as either deadening or unconditionally surrendering to the senses of emotions. The fully alive person listens to, is attuned to his senses and emotions, but surrendering to them would imply abdication of intellect and choice."

  19. 5 out of 5

    Joshua Piorier

    It read kind of like a science journal at first, at times slightly confusing as to the terminology used. None the less it was a fantastic read and was cause for me to open my dictionary from time to time. This book was helpful and helps uncover some underlying issues the reader may be faced with and even what the reader may encounter from others. The book is short and to the point and guidance is minimal. Essentially don't be afraid to be exactly who you are. I guess there are more books by John It read kind of like a science journal at first, at times slightly confusing as to the terminology used. None the less it was a fantastic read and was cause for me to open my dictionary from time to time. This book was helpful and helps uncover some underlying issues the reader may be faced with and even what the reader may encounter from others. The book is short and to the point and guidance is minimal. Essentially don't be afraid to be exactly who you are. I guess there are more books by John Powell, which the reader should definitely follow up on but, I found myself thinking, "Ok, what do I do now?". In a sense I discovered more about myself and things I do, which I would've been completely blind to; at times I wished there was more of a layman dialogue as to be better understood by those who aren't as familiar with the topic(s) as the author. I gave it 4 stars because it may be a difficult read at first or for those who are venturing into the self-help genre but it was a great introduction to John Powell's work and a great tool to have on the bookshelf. I will be revisiting this book again in the future for sure.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Spoiler alert: I'm afraid to tell you who I am because if I tell you who I am and you don't accept me, that's all I've got. This is from the first few pages and it rings SO true. This book was eye-opening for me in the sense that it hit the nail on areas where I am not honest to others or myself for various reasons. It helped me be a bit more introspective, but also figure out how to communicate clearly what I'm feeling and why I'm feeling. And ultimately, how to move forward into maturity, as i Spoiler alert: I'm afraid to tell you who I am because if I tell you who I am and you don't accept me, that's all I've got. This is from the first few pages and it rings SO true. This book was eye-opening for me in the sense that it hit the nail on areas where I am not honest to others or myself for various reasons. It helped me be a bit more introspective, but also figure out how to communicate clearly what I'm feeling and why I'm feeling. And ultimately, how to move forward into maturity, as in I am responsible for my feelings - to react or act? Am I going to react to the world, or act as myself. And the neat thing is who I was yesterday is NOT who I am today. I am changing daily as I learn and grow more, as life happens around me. It's a pretty good read. The catalog of different types of games and roles people play (to avoid authenticity) is fascinating. I have to be careful though not to suddenly turn everything into labels though - like I'm this and you're that. That's not the point. The point is to identify where I see myself, reflect on the truth, and move forward toward healthier, authentic, LOVING relationships.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Beverley Sylvester

    3.5 stars. There are many parts of this book that I found very informative and thought-provoking, and I would definitely say it is worth the read because of this. I especially appreciated the content about different forms and levels of communication and the effects of them. There were, however, some problematic/frustrating parts of the text where I felt Powell did not acknowledge that mental health can play a large role in people's emotions (he states that people have control over their feelings 3.5 stars. There are many parts of this book that I found very informative and thought-provoking, and I would definitely say it is worth the read because of this. I especially appreciated the content about different forms and levels of communication and the effects of them. There were, however, some problematic/frustrating parts of the text where I felt Powell did not acknowledge that mental health can play a large role in people's emotions (he states that people have control over their feelings, which often is true and is important, and often is not completely true for people struggling with mental health). Additionally, Powell almost always uses males in his examples, which would not bother me except that the only time he uses females as examples are for extremely stereotypical cases (ex: when discussing people who are judgmental due to prudishness, he uses a female as the example of a sexually repressed prude).

  22. 4 out of 5

    Christy

    The cover and back of this book remind of the last human, Cassandra from Dr. Who. 🤣 An okay read that explains many different communication styles or “games and roles” but more importantly the necessity of overcoming these tendencies through continued emotional growth and honesty with others as well as ourselves. “The fault dear Brutus, is not with our stars, but with ourselves...We can rise above the dust of daily battle that chokes and blinds so many of us; and this is precisely what is asked o The cover and back of this book remind of the last human, Cassandra from Dr. Who. 🤣 An okay read that explains many different communication styles or “games and roles” but more importantly the necessity of overcoming these tendencies through continued emotional growth and honesty with others as well as ourselves. “The fault dear Brutus, is not with our stars, but with ourselves...We can rise above the dust of daily battle that chokes and blinds so many of us; and this is precisely what is asked of us in the process of growth as a person.”

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ishan

    I'm not religious, but this was still interesting. However, it was very vague. Maybe I know myself a bit better (though that's debatable) but I have no idea how I might get past my problems. Now I find out he was accused of sexual crimes. Sounds like someone's repressing something there. Hmm. That has caused me to take a star off my rating, as it makes it hard to take anything he says as at all honest (funny that) I'm not religious, but this was still interesting. However, it was very vague. Maybe I know myself a bit better (though that's debatable) but I have no idea how I might get past my problems. Now I find out he was accused of sexual crimes. Sounds like someone's repressing something there. Hmm. That has caused me to take a star off my rating, as it makes it hard to take anything he says as at all honest (funny that)

  24. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    A remarkable book, the more so far having been written in the late 60s. There is a lot of recovery literature, broadly speaking, that is either tacitly dependent on this or repeated Powell's work despite not being familiar with it. The challenge to honestly share my emotions with people day in and day out is terrifying. Obviously it is true that I have paid and am paying a steep price for living the way I have... but change is terrifying. A remarkable book, the more so far having been written in the late 60s. There is a lot of recovery literature, broadly speaking, that is either tacitly dependent on this or repeated Powell's work despite not being familiar with it. The challenge to honestly share my emotions with people day in and day out is terrifying. Obviously it is true that I have paid and am paying a steep price for living the way I have... but change is terrifying.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Joy

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Still processing ... but it came up throughout the book ... that seemed to imply that we are all basically horribly fuct up ... that if one has the attention focused on Truth (on that which does not change or alter in any way) then what the body does or what it goes through are secondary to THAT/Truth.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ronald J. Pauleus

    John provided challenging insight into the human mind and its need for communication. There is no growth without us communicating ourselves to others honestly and consistently. “The human destiny of man, not perfection but growth.”

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sumon Jose

    Truly inspiring work on personal growth...

  28. 5 out of 5

    Robert Lucas

    Insightful... You could read Eric Berne after this since 'Why am I Afraid to Tell You Who I Am?' mentions and refers to his book 'The Games People Play' at regular intervals. Insightful... You could read Eric Berne after this since 'Why am I Afraid to Tell You Who I Am?' mentions and refers to his book 'The Games People Play' at regular intervals.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Bobette Crittenden

    Read this book while I was in College...in fact, it was a part of the curriculum.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Susan Arnold-Richards

    Very good. There is good insight to how others act and communicate and opened by eyes to what is meant to what is said. A good read.

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