50 True Colors Quotes For Letting Your Authentic Light Shine

If you appreciate authenticity, come check out our show your true colors quotes. 

We have an eclectic selection of quotes we are sure you will love. 

What does it mean to show your true colors? 

Perhaps you have heard someone say, “Now I see your true colors.” 

Showing your true colors means revealing your real character or intentions, mainly if they are dishonorable or disreputable. 

Below are some benefits of showing your true colors:

  • You do not have to hide who you are 
  • People can form relationships with the authentic you
  • You can sleep peacefully, knowing you are true to yourself. 

This idiom originated when pirates roamed the seas looking to take advantage of passing ships. 

What is an idiom?

The phrase show your true colors is an idiom.

An idiom is a group of words with a figurative, symbolic, and non-literal meaning that cannot be determined by looking at the individual words. 

That definition sounds more complicated than what it means. 

Idioms are usually said colloquially.

This means they are used by people living in specific regions. 

For example, imagine what would happen if you went up to someone in the United States and said, “It is raining cats and dogs outside.” 

The person would most likely understand that you are referring to a rainstorm. 

Now imagine if you said that same statement to someone in another country.

It would translate poorly, and they would most likely need help understanding what you are trying to say. 

Idioms are phrases with meanings that cannot be understood or deciphered based on the words alone. 

You have to know the content of an idiom to use it correctly. 

The origin of the idiom, show your true colors

You may be surprised how much of our modern language is rooted in nautical terminology and pirate culture. 

However, you have probably heard people say, “I passed with flying colors.” 

Maybe you have heard someone encouraged to “nail their color to the mast.” 

Idioms like “show your true colors” are rooted in pirate jargon. 

These idioms were in use as early as the 1600s. 

Pirates would often fly the flag of a nation friendly to the ship they planned to attack. 

The pirates used this technique to get close enough to attack and board the vessel. 

To show one’s true colors is based on the idea of flying false colors on pirate ships to attack another vessel. 

Today, the phrase describes someone who hides their authentic feelings, character, motives, or opinions. 

In the comparison, our hidden emotions or feelings are similar to the false colors of the pirate ship flag. 

For more sea-worthy content, check out our lively show your true colors quotes below. 

Check out our collection of authenticity quotes if you enjoy this article.

Short true colors quotes about living your truth

These true colors quotes get right to the point. 

1. “Only the foolish showed their true colors.” — Eliza G. C. Collins

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2. “I think success shows a person’s true colors.” — Freddie Prinze, Jr

3. “Sometimes it takes time to see a person’s true colors.” — Dale Robinson

4. “Black is the color of night. White is the true color of death.” — Melissa de la Cruz

5. “It is said that a man’s true colors show in times of trouble.” — MaryAnn Diorio

6. “Early risers catch the world waking and see its true colors.” — Bernie Taupin

7. “When she’s proved her loyalty, the man’s true colors start to emerge.” — Rebecca Winters

8. “Our true colors show when the world is ending, and no one is looking.” — Nicole Wells

9. “Hatred is one of the poisons; like jaundice, it alters the true colors of things.” — Rae Foley

10. “It’s in the harsh times and the times we call good where our true colors show.” — Noah Calderon

True colors quotes about friendship and pressure

You do not honestly know someone until you see them under pressure. 

11. ​​“Friends show their true colors in times of need; and not in times of happiness.” — Sir Kristian Goldmund Aumann

12. “The rainbow symbolizes showing your true colors, experiencing life as you really are.” — Leon Nacson

13. “Thank you for undusting my true colors, or color: black… Oh, how I missed the darkness!” — Ahmed Mostafa

14. “Our errors and failings are chinks in the heart’s armor through which our true colors can shine.” — Elizabeth Lesser

15. “Money can cover up a lot of things, and when it’s gone, people’s true colors tend to come out.” — Todd Stottlemyre

16. “Just as a lake reflects the true colors of an autumn day, so your heart reflects your true colors.” — Patricia Riggie

17. “Pay close attention to people under pressure or in crisis situations if you want to know their true colors.” — Ben Young

18. “Men always show their true colors sooner or later, but I thought you were different. My mistake.” — Jamie Wesley

19. “Once you show someone your true colors, it is impossible to paint over them.” — Matshona Dhliwayo

20. “Don’t let your character change color with your environment. Find out who you are and let it stay its true color.” — Rachel Scott

True colors quotes celebrating darkness and rainbows

We can learn a lot by studying darkness and rainbows; they both teach us about the importance of showing our true colors. 

21. “Be true to yourself, and don’t be afraid to let your true colors show.” — Larry Stains

22. “If someone shows you their true colors, don’t try and paint a different picture.” — Stephanie Dolce

23. “Under pressure, your faith life is forced into the open and shows its true colors.” — Dana Adams

24. “Your true colors show up when you are reaching out to be a blessing to another.” — Ellen Landreth

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25. “A rainbow is not afraid of showing its true colors because it knows it is beautiful inside out.” — Matshona Dhliwayo

26. “Given enough exposure to someone, you will eventually learn of that person’s true colors.” — Phil Sottile

27. “Only a person who can laugh about oneself shows one’s ‘true colors,’ and thus one’s true greatness.” — Aaron Marcus

28. “The best leaders are the ones who show their true colors not during the banner years but during times of struggle.” Shawn Achor

29. “A person who has so much contempt in their heart, even for those they claim to love, eventually show their true colors.” — Mary Jo Stanley

30. “And if someone shows you their true colors, don’t make excuses for them or hope that they’ll change. Listen to your gut.” — Aly Raisman

True colors quotes about life 

We cannot run from who we are. Similarly, we cannot alter our true colors. 

31. “No one said it would be easy, but our true colors show when we’re put under the spotlight.” — Maddie Roy

32. “How many people are loved for who they are? Most people are loved for who they are not! People hide their true colors.” — Thomas Stark

33. “To see a man’s true colors, tell him you’re saving yourself for marriage. To see a woman’s true colors, tell her you’re poor.” — Matshona Dhliwayo

34. “It’s during the worst storm of your life that you will get to see the true color of people who say they care for you.” — Oscar Taylor, Down Side Up

35. “It’s such a nice change to get to play a wretched, shallow, mergers and acquisitions woman. My true colors come out.” — Sigourney Weaver

36. “Speak the truth, tell the truth; speak by the card; paint in its true colors, show oneself in one’s true colors; make a clean breast.” — Peter Mark Roget

37. “In the beginning, some people try to appear that everything about them is “in black and white,” until later their true colors come out.” — Anthony Liccione

38. “In some cases, we first need to disappoint or enrage someone, or to break their heart, for them to finally show us their true colors.” — Mokokoma Mokhonoana

39. “It is only when a man’s true colors are recognized behind his pretensions that he drops his pretensions and reveals himself in his true colors.” — Shraga Silverstein

40. You let your true colors show when those walls come down a little.” — Catherine Cowles

True colors quotes about vanity and the power of listening 

When we listen, we grow exponentially. 

41. “Lingering, bottled-up anger never reveals the ‘true colors’ of an individual. — Criss Jami, Healology

42. “Listen, friend, no one will think less of you because you let your true colors show from time to time.” — Mark E. Strong

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43. “When you see their true colors, don’t forget it. Don’t let it drop unconscious as usual only to repeat it.” — Karen Kellock

44. “I enjoy vanity. But I can’t stick to any of that lifestyle for too long because, when its true colors come out, it’s empty and cold and soulless.” — Michelle Rodriguez

45. “A hundred things are done today in the divine name of Youth, that if they showed, their true colors would be seen by rights to belong rather to old age.” — Wyndham Lewis

46. “My money’s riding on this dark horse, baby. My heart is sayin’ it’s the lucky one. And its true color’s gonna shine through someday If we let this Let this dark horse run.” — Amanda Marshall

47. “They wait until you fall in love with them, and then they let their true colors show. About time they show you who they really are; it’s too late, and you’re in love with them.” — Tamika Davis

48. “And I’ll see your true colors shining through. I see your true colors, and that’s why I love you, so don’t be afraid to let them show your true colors. True colors are beautiful like a RAINBOW.” — Cyndi Lauper

49. “Being aware of energy will not only keep you from harm’s way but allow you to see persons’ true colors and detecting whether someone’s energy is dark or light can save your life.” — Crystal Ermon

50. “You can clearly see a person’s true colors when you are down or if they are in a so-called position of power. You may can fool everybody around you, but you can’t lie to yourself.” — Allan Williams

How can I show my true colors?

In many cases, idioms started with literal meanings but lost them as they moved away from their origins.

For example, in some European towns, villagers would put their livestock and pets on the roof of their houses at night to keep them safe from thieves. 

When the rain came, the roofs would get slippery, and sometimes animals would slip and fall off the top; hence the phrase, it is raining cats and dogs. 

In the case of showing your true colors, there is still some semblance of connection to the original meaning. 

One of the earliest citations for the phrase show your true colors is from 1551. 

Thomas Become wrote A Fruitful Treatise of Fasting, which described how the devil “setteth forth himself in his true colors.” 

Fast forward to 1600, and we see the phrase again in William Shakespeare’s Henry IV. Act two, scene two notes, “How might we see Falstaffe bestow himself tonight in his true colors, and not our selves be scene?” 

How do you like to show your true colors

Do you have a favorite true colors quote?

Please, be sure to let us know in the comment section below. 

Clifton Sankofa has Master's degrees in English, Teaching, and School Leadership. He is a veteran educator and school leader. Clifton has built his career around teaching language arts, social-emotional learning, hip-hop(e), and vegan cooking. Across the country, Black and Brown communities die over preventable diseases. Clifton's aim is to help reverse this trend through cultural shifts. Using hip-hop and cultural-centered activities, he educates young people on how to reclaim their health and heritage through sustainable vegan eating, cooking practices, and literacy skills.
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