“Be yourself, everyone else is already taken. ” – Oscar Wilde
This sentence rings the bell with me and with many women I’ve worked with: “I don’t know who I am anymore!” The question is: “Have you ever known who you really are?”
We live in a society that puts high pressure on young girls and women to fit certain standards of intelligence and beauty. This makes it harder and harder for many women to feel liked, accepted, included.
Descartes was right: by nature, we are all “social animals.” No matter our gender, race, age or social status, we all have a basic human need to feel seen, heard, liked, appreciated and loved. We need to belong to our community and to feel socially accepted. There’s nothing wrong with that.
The problem occurs when we are not able to satisfy some of our human desires by ourselves and we use others as a source of happiness and love. From doing things we don’t really want to do in order to be liked, constantly playing a role to fit in or to impress others, pretending that everything is fine when it isn’t so we can look strong, wearing a mask to look smarter, lighter or brighter.
If this sounds familiar, please know you’re not alone in this one. That’s how I used to live, for too many years. Inauthentic, exhausted and drained.
To drop out the mask wasn’t easy. You see, being ourselves is an act of courage. A choice we’re making. It can be hard, as sometimes being true to what we know is right means going against the crowd. On the other hand, it comes with a huge amount of Self-Respect, Freedom, and Inner Peace.
So what is it to be authentic?
Authentic people are self-confident, so they have a higher ability to deal with problems and to make powerful choices for their highest good. By staying true to themselves, they are happier and less likely to get stressed.
We are authentic when who we are, what we do and what we believe in – all these align perfectly. We are honest and true.
We are not trying to look perfect because no one is. We approve of ourselves with all perfect imperfections, embracing our flaws and being aware of our shadow. We have no problem to admit we’ve made a mistake
We interact with others genuinely, with no lies, no hidden agenda. What you see is what you get.
We don’t wear a mask to pretend. We are willing to show vulnerability. We stay true to our real feelings, thoughts and opinions, acting from a place of integrity and power. We are standing by our beliefs and what we think is right.
We live life according to our values and goals, rather than those of other people.
We don’t try to imitate and be a copy of someone else. We sing our song and live our own journey.
Here are ten questions that could give you some honest, new insights into how authentic you truly are in your professional life and career:
- Am I trying to become a copy of someone else (a colleague, a manager or a peer)?
- Are there any situations when I tend to pretend everything is fine, even when it isn’t, for the sake of looking invincible and strong?
- Am I wearing a mask, so that Me at work and Me at home look like two persons who’ve never met before?
- Do I have any hidden agendas in relationship to others? Am I pleasing people that could help me advance in my career?
- Am I saying Yes to things I don’t really feel like doing, just to please others?
- Am I pretending to agree with someone else’s opinion when, in fact, I don’t?
- Do I mean what I say and do I say what I mean?
- How do I stick to my promises and my commitments? Do I do what I said I would do?
- (For leaders only): Do I lead by example and walk the talk?
And last but not least, and extremely important:
10. Am I choosing to stay in a job I dislike or don’t believe in? Whose dream am I building?
If yes is your answer to any of these inquiries, let me tell you I know how that feels; I’ve been there as well. It is frustrating, exhausting and even painful.
But here’s the good news: your dreams are waiting and the sky is the limit, once you believe in yourself. You are a powerful human being and you have the right to create and live the life you love. Authentically, with no apologies and no regrets.
The world doesn’t need more counterfeit people. The world needs you TO BE YOU.
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- Posted by Sara Fabian
- On March 4, 2016