Your persona is the role that you play in social settings. It is how you want to be known or perceived by other people. As your “public face,” your persona represents only a part of who you are. The rest of you is hidden in its shadow, out of public view. In your dreams your persona is most often symbolized by the clothes you are wearing. However, on some occasions it will be symbolized by your skin. This is because, like the skin, the persona provides a protective barrier between what is outside and what is inside. You don’t want to be an open book to everyone you meet, so you have a persona.
Ideally, your persona will be flexible and reflective of your true self. When the role that you play in your relationships is at odds with your true nature and core values, you may be perceived as incongruent, awkward, or phony. At these times you may have dreams of wearing clothes that clash, don’t fit well, or belong to someone else. If you have dreams of shopping for new clothes, life is calling you to a new role or way of being in life. The same can be said of dreams in which your skin is being sloughed off or eaten away. For example, one man dreamed that his skin was being devoured by tiny crab-like insects.
Your persona can have a hypnotizing effect on you. It can become so entrenched that you start to identify with it. You forget that you have a persona because you have become your persona. And you become your persona because it is easier and more comfortable to embellish what you know than be transformed by what you don’t know. When you reduce yourself to your public identity you necessarily repress your larger being. You become one-dimensional and a caricature. Your interactions with other people, life, and God become superficial because you are not relating from your true and larger self. Your persona has taken you hostage.
If your dreams or other life events are pointing to problems with your persona, you may have some real soul-searching to do. It takes psychological honesty and courage to root out and uncover the deceptions of your ego. The ego tends to resist change and when it has grown fond of a certain persona, it resists that change as well. You may have to struggle deep within yourself to recognize the reality of this false self and the hold it has upon you. Sometimes it takes considerable honesty and courage to tear it down so that the light of your true self can shine through.