Human beings are natural chameleons, from dressing for the occasion, to adopting business-like or social manners, we adapt our behaviours to suit our environments in a million little ways each day, mostly on an unconscious level.
There’s nothing wrong with making the effort to fit in to your environment – in fact being able to flex your style where you need to is a sign of emotional intelligence. But what if fitting in means denying your feelings, suppressing your judgement or abandoning your core values?
When you feel like you must pretend to be someone you’re not to avoid being judged or stigmatised, it is time to ask yourself some serious questions. Only you will know if you are being true to yourself, whether that be in a work role, in an organisation, or in a relationship. But if you find yourself feeling out of sorts, uncomfortable, or ill at ease in that particular space – then the chances are you’re not.
While you might get very good at playing the role, over time shoehorning yourself into a part which deep down jars with who you really are can become exhausting, and bring about a disconnect with your authentic self, with all the mental and emotional health issues that come with that. Ultimately living a lie will drain your energy and sap your enjoyment of this journey called life.
So, it’s worth taking the time to tune in to those moments in your own career and relationships where that feeling of discomfort emerges. If you can pinpoint where you feel you are not being completely authentic, or where you might be losing your power for fear of being judged or in order to fit in, then you’ll be better equipped to tap into a truer, more authentic place to live your life from. Perhaps consider journaling on it – you may be surprised at what emerges.