Being true to yourself is always important. But being true to yourself and being authentic are two different things. Here is how it works:
• Being true to yourself does require some level of authenticity but it leaves room for your “work self.” You know what I am talking about, the one that speaks corporate lingo, doesn’t cuss, does not generally argue aka bite your tongue, and has the plans for climbing the corporate ladder. This is being true to yourself because you are working on your goals the best way you know how but its not your overall authentic self because you have to live in the corporate politics and/or making other people happy to get to where you want to be.
• Being Authentic does not have a work self. You are you, 100% of the time and that person is comfortable with themselves in all environments including corporate culture. Here is the biggest difference. This person is aware that they may not be a fit for everyone aka not everyone likes them, and they are OK with it. More than that, they embrace it as an opportunity to also evaluate why they may not like some of those people around them.
Here is the struggle- I bet right now you feel like you have to choose one over the other. And, well, you are right, you do have to choose. Most people can live with the work self and the weekend/authentic self and may even have a third or fourth self, depending on all the things you are engaged in. This does cause a toll on your emotions and can cause issues in relationships. I would argue no one thinks its fun when I am in “work mode.” The choice you make to be your authentic self versus choosing the true self happens daily, sometimes hour by hour. I would encourage you to really think about how this plays out to others and how it plays out within yourself. Are you exhausted after hours of being the true self but energized when you are your whole self? Do you over think/worry, have anxiety/depression but feel a ton better when not under the pressures of trying to fit in? I know, I am there with you.
Making this choice matters but what really matters is when you make it with purpose. Make the choice to be authentic 80% of the time. See how it fits, feels and how people react to it. Make the choice that makes sense for your life now and where you want to be. The wrong choice, in my opinion, is to make the choice to just be true to yourself because others aka your environment, pushes you to not be authentic. That my friends is the worst kind of bulling there is. Its secret, quiet and socially acceptable and you are worth more than that.
So what’s your choice today? Are you authentic or settling for the acceptable “true self.”