Have you ever been in an environment where you felt like an outsider? You may have been surrounded by people from different socio-economic, religious, or political backgrounds. Maybe you were surrounded by individuals who were very knowledgeable about a particular topic/skill that you had limited knowledge of. Bottom line, you felt uncomfortable and fearful of sharing your true self. I had this experience in my mid 20’s when I became an Operations Manager at a local department store in an ethnic neighborhood. I was definitely the minority. I was scared sh?@!%$+! What I quickly learned is trying to be somebody you’re not is a form of self-sabotage. The only way to earn credibility is to be your true, authentic self. You may not be welcomed with open arms initially, but you will earn respect by being yourself and taking a genuine interest in others. Be curious! Ask questions. Engage in conversation, not just superficial pleasantries. Genuinely care about others. Treat people with respect.
Being authentic is liberating and gives you the freedom to rise to your highest self by living into your values and purpose. It gives you the confidence to see yourself for who you truly are and appreciate your uniqueness. This leads to greater happiness, love, and acceptance. Loving and accepting yourself doesn’t mean that you’re completely satisfied with every aspect of your appearance and personality. It does mean that you’re accepting of your imperfections, recognizing that you’re human. When you are authentic, you attract people who care about you into your life. When you’re inauthentic, you live a lie. This destructive behavior can lead to depression, anxiety, isolation, and illness. It can destroy relationships.
Being authentic can be scary, especially when in environments where there’s judgement and shaming. In this instance, it’s important to find someone to confide in…a mentor, close friend, family member, coach, therapist, pastor. The individual must be impartial and supportive. Having a support system can give you clarity and confidence to be your true self.