Be the Me I want to be but not the Me you want to See
There is a lot of time and energy generated on the topic of bringing your “authentic self.” This concept of authenticity seeks to accomplish the goal of nonjudgmental acceptance. People want to feel safe and secure. They want to be comfortable with being themselves and having the opportunity to bring their best selves to work and beyond.
The concepts of authenticity or being your authentic self are commonly defined as the quality of being honest and truthful, both to ourselves and others. In the context of self-development, authenticity describes how closely we’re living up to our personal values. – The Google
The issue here is that “personal values” are personal. If these are personal and not aligned to social norms, they press hard on the fabric of acceptance. It is frustrating to see people get shut down or lose their career or livelihood when they bring their unpopular self to a public forum. It can’t be lost on people that others judge us. I’d venture to say that most people have been in some situation where there was judgement or some commentary about their person.
We aren’t talking about what is morally right or wrong. Morally generally refers to the behavior of a society. We also can’t talk about what is systemically right or wrong because we exist in a system of systems. There isn’t one big wheel with many cogs. We live in a complex ever changing system with moving parts. We aren’t talking about fairness or equality either. There is no such thing as fairness or equality in our world today with respect to any system we operate in. I wouldn’t even say the systems are broken.
In all cases, we don’t decide what we are born as. Additionally, we aren’t defined by what we are in toto. However, no matter what I change about my look or body, my DNA and familial history binds me to a specific group of people. It is a fact that I can’t change physically by a cultural association. Even if I sought to do so, depending on who I sought to be, it would be deemed “appropriation.”
I don’t believe that I have the right to define what anyone does or says. I don’t believe that I personally have the right to tell anyone who to love or what to identify with. There are also things that people do that I don’t like. We need to have a real conversation that addresses authentic boundaries.
If we aren’t honest with each other about this, we will continue to voice our support for honesty and condemn people for their honesty. We will cancel everyone at some point.
We shouldn’t have to fear or hide who we are, but we also shouldn’t be prodded to share who we are only to be ashamed or canceled. All the exposure, the expression and the sharing has divided us.
I am not a religious person, but I am genetically and culturally Jewish. There are many communities of people that hate me without knowing me. There are many communities of people that make assumptions about me. So, I walk into a room and bring my whole authentic self. Before I open my mouth, 1m assumptions are already made. It doesn’t matter what I say, it doesn’t matter if I bring my whole self, it doesn’t matter if it is fair or unfair. It matters what I do. This is the real point of it.
If we look at all the studies about non-violent communication, compassion, empathy, conflict management, conflict resolution, it always points to the same thing. It doesn’t matter what other people do; it matters what “I” do. Some would argue this has nothing to do with bringing your authentic self. It absolutely has everything to do with it.
If your authentic self does NOT fit into the standard deviation, it is an issue. The expectation now is that everyone else should accept you but that just isn’t how it works in real life. At some point, it just doesn’t work.
Where are the conversations about authentic boundaries?
We don’t have them because if we did, we would be labeled. We don’t have them because we can’t have open discussion without fear. We don’t have them because if we did, we might reveal our true selves. We may actually reveal something that is NOT appealing to a particular group or community.
Healing starts when we acknowledge and identify the truth. We are sociologically being gaslighted and we need to take action as individuals to stop it. If we don’t, we will descend to a dystopian end of false authenticity. We will fake our realness.
What do you think? I’d like to know. (For real)…