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Lifestyle
5 min read

Embracing Your True Self

Feeling as though you belong is a basic necessity. The need to be approved by certain groups within society actually comes from a deep rooted survival mechanism which imprinted upon our subconscious, long, long ago.
Written by
Joanna Clare
Content Manager
Published on
May 28, 2024

Feeling as though you belong is a basic necessity. The need to be approved by certain groups within society actually comes from a deep rooted survival mechanism which imprinted upon our subconscious, long, long ago. We often hear about statistics that show time and time again that those who feel isolated and lonely and feel excluded for whatever reason, will invariably have poorer physical and mental health along with a reduced life expectancy, compared with those who feel accepted and included.

This need for acceptance is commonplace in all areas of life and the workplace is no exception. However, when the desire for approval and acceptance becomes so strong that your behaviour begins to change, along with what you say and to an extent what you think, you need to take a step back and assess the situation. The reason for this is that no one should ever feel that they need to change their unique personality traits for the sake of pleasing people. Of course, pleasing people is necessary from time to time. A good example of this is if you are having a meeting with your manager then you will probably become more professional and business like  in your voice and mannerisms than you would do at home and another example is if you are speaking with someone important on the phone (we all have our phone voices!), you would not talk in the same tone as you do with your friends or family. This is temporarily adapting to the environment and surroundings. Unfortunately, when you find that you are being inauthentic at work all of the time, you will probably become exhausted and will find it difficult to maintain performing at your best in your job.

Not feeling good enough as you are will cause your self esteem to drop and you may begin to question your worth and the contributions you make. Being different around different people may cause you to forget who you are. By this I mean, you will soon begin to lose track of your own unique identity that makes you, you. Changing for others will affect your personality and individuality. Remember that out of billions of people on the planet, there is only one you and there will never be another you.

Seeking and then receiving approval and validation does boost confidence in the short term but in the long term, you will end up undermining yourself and that can feel very uncomfortable as well as having the impact of being damaging. When you feel that someone likes you, accepts you and includes you then it is a positive feeling and one that you will want to replicate over and over. However, if you alter yourself in order to fit and please others, then you are reinforcing their belief that what they are seeing is the real you, when in fact it is not.

As people age and mature, one of the biggest regrets is often that they had not been authentic or lived a life true for themselves and that they had continued to act in certain ways only to keep others happy.

You do not have to agree with or try to be the same as someone else to bring value but recognising your own strengths and individual characteristics will bring value.

It goes without saying that not everyone will like you and you will not like everyone you meet either. Within workplaces, there is often a diverse range of characters all as unique, special, valued and worthwhile as you albeit in different ways. Embracing this form of diversity is essential for creating innovation, collaboration and overall success. Each individual brings a unique perspective, a range of skills and approach to work which enriches the collective experience of the team. By celebrating differences in communication styles, thought processes and strengths, organisations can create a more inclusive and dynamic professional environment where everyone is empowered to contribute their best. Embracing the different characters can promote creativity and resilience as diverse teams are better equipped to adapt to challenges and explore new ideas. Ultimately, by embracing your own strengths and quirkiness,as well as that of others, you can help to create a culture of respect, understanding and personal growth.

Changing your own personality can seriously compromise your authenticity and diminish your ability to contribute effectively, so aim to become comfortable in your own skin and allow your uniqueness to shine through which will inspire others to do the same!

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