Throughout the course of our lives, we wear many different hats for the varying roles that we take on. Professionally, I am a digital project manager and a freelance marketing consultant – I also volunteer as a mentor for a charity supporting young women aged 13-17.
In my personal life, I am a girlfriend to Adam, a best friend to Hannah, a daughter to Carol & Jon and a granddaughter to Marjorie. And whilst the core of my very being (including my values and morals) remain the same wherever I am, I, like everyone else have been known to show and hide different parts of myself depending on who I’m around and what I’m doing.
Am I being my true authentic self?
I was recently reminded about the time when an ex-boyfriend told me that he “didn’t think I was being myself”. At the time, I found this really odd and upsetting because I was usually dressed in a bright red pair of Dr Marten boots, checkered trousers thrifted from Oxfam, a Rolling Stones band tee and a leopard print coat from 1987.
How could I not be myself?
I stuck out like a sore thumb!
It wasn’t until I reflected on this comment some years later that I can see why he said that (And why ultimately we broke up!). I might have looked like me but I desperately tried to be more like him in terms of my personality and views and the two didn’t fit together at all.
He was apart of a certain kind of community whereby lots of his peers were the same as him in terms of interests, university pathways and privilege. Inadvertently, I must have felt insecure and unconfident in myself and I was portraying a false sense of myself in order to fit in with him. *Young love eh?* Looking back, did I really like hockey? Hell no, I hate sport! Did I like being part of a large and loud lad, lads, lads group of people? Nope. I prefer a small group. Did I truly thrive on ‘uni life’? No way, I bloody hated it!
Me? Well, I love cats, 80s indie music, going out for a meal and drinks one on one and keeping myself to myself. I can appreciate though, the things that you do when you want to be loved and accepted, especially when we’re young and not so wise to the world. I have to admit though, I wasn’t like this for very long and I am nowadays a very self-assured person, I know who I am and I know what makes me, me. In the words of Gloria…
I am what I am. And what I am needs no excuses. I deal my own deck sometimes the aces sometimes the deuces.Gloria Gaynor
On being yourself at work
There is a very fine line between being aware of who you’re around and your surroundings and bending to someone else’s expectations and power moves. I once heard someone say: “Well if you don’t do exactly what they say, you won’t last two minutes.” – I personally think this is a toxic attack on your authenticity and individuality, you shouldn’t have to change all that you are for someone else.
Many of us have a ‘work self’. I don’t. I am as I am in whatever scenario which isn’t always a good thing trust me, however, if you leave part of yourself behind when you walk through the door of your work, you are opening yourself up to becoming someone else. By being your authentic self at work it will make every day easier and you can find genuine satisfaction and confidence in yourself.
Why be somebody else when you can be YOU?
Every single one of us has looked at someone else and wished we could be like them or have what they appear to have. When I was in primary school, there was a girl in my class who I used to want to be like. Honestly, I envied everything about her and this was coming from someone (me) who had the best family and everything I ever wanted. It was strange.
Why be someone else when you are unique with your own experiences, talents and skills. Don’t change your own thoughts and beliefs to become someone who just pleases others. And this doesn’t mean your selfish, you’re just being you and what is wrong with that?
Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.Steve Jobs
Throughout my own life, I’ve had moments where I’ve felt I can’t be myself and it’s a horribly repressive feeling. I think it’s important that we can be ourselves as long as we aren’t hurting anybody else.
It’s important to live a life that is in line with your authenticity and if anyone ever says you’re not being yourself, perhaps they’re not being an arsehole, perhaps they’re giving your true self a good wake up call!