15 April 2013

on authenticity

15 April 2013
have you ever been in an environment or with someone who made you feel like you needed to hold back, temper your behavior, even say things you don't fully mean? 

i've had friends who were quick to poke fun or outright ridicule my interests and quirks. oftentimes, it was something as innocuous as an eye roll of, say, my predilection for anything disney-related. on the surface, it would make me feel silly and embarrassed. but on a deeper level, it felt like rejection of part of my personality.

we've all known those types that will cut you off mid-sentence if you say something that opposes their sensibilities. he or she will often summarily squash any point you were trying to make and tell you that you're wrong or face you with combative sarcasm. i've never been the type to talk over people, so i admit, i'm always taken aback when people show such bravado. 

i've also seen corporate settings where "professional" means a uniform of brown, black, or navy. or where talking about your interests outside of work gives the impression that you're not focused on your career. in an environment where everyone dresses similarly and only talks about how busy they are, how do you individuate? i reference now my post on identities because the challenge of clear self-expression extends beyond your significant other. 

it can feel stifling to have friends or colleagues who don't really accept all of you. if you find yourself in that situation, you have to ask yourself whether it's worth it - to temporarily deny part of who you are. 

i've come to realize that a real friend will love your authentic self and that the most rewarding workplaces celebrate individual strengths as part of a larger whole.  


Alyssa said...

This is such an interesting topic! While I've been lucky enough to be surrounded by people who encourage and accept whatever crazy thing I decide to do, I know several friends who have been restricted by the company they surround themselves with. I've always believed that it's best to surround yourself with people who bring out and encourage the best in you–and if they don't, or worse, you change who you are completely because of a friend/boyfriend/girlfriend/coworker, then it's an issue.

Joelle Duff said...

I have such a hard time with this. Some of my "best" friends don't necessarily understand what I do, and they definitely don't "accept" the things that they love. It can be as simple as an off-handed comment about how "stupid" weddings are, and it's like they just don't get it! I completely agree that a real friend is someone who loves you because of who you are, 100%. I try not to care about what strangers think of me, but friends? They should love you regardless.

Annie said...

So true. I love this. I think that the difference is in whether or not you respect someone and love them. When you do, all you want is for them to be happy and healthy, and even if you don't "get It" you get that it helps them accomplish that. If that makes sense, I haven't had any coffee yet.

Lena Leson said...

I hired a girl to be my right hand who would constantly criticize anyone who dressed, ate or looked like me–then turn around and say, "But you totally pull it off." Luckily she wasn't my boss!

Megan said...

just became your newest follower and am loving everything about your site! i can absolutely relate, i had a best friend who always tried to one-up me and talked down towards any accomplishments i ever achieved. it took a long time but i finally severed ties with her. life is too short to be anything but happy, and to be denied the opportunity to be yourself is one of the main short cuts to sadness. youre so inspiring, thanks for sharing. cannot wait to read more! xo


Carley Martin said...

great topic. enjoyed reading.

ashley nicole catherine said...

thanks, lady :)

Emily said...

Yes! So, so true. My current work environment is the first I've worked in where I feel totally accepted and comfortable. Unfortunately those people and situations are far more common than people think. This was such a relatable, honest post. Love it, Ash!

Pin It button on image hover