Authenticity in the Workplace

“Bring your authentic self.” In the last few years, that has been a phrase to rise in popularity for many in the workplace, communities, gatherings, and more. While often well-intentioned, it may be a difficult newness to navigate for a lot of folks, especially for those historically excluded from doing so in the past. 

Let’s face it, it can be scary. To bring all the parts that make you who you are, even the ones that you might not like, to a place where you may still be building relationships, where you may still be figuring out what future you want to see for yourself. So let’s say you don’t bring 100% of who you are all at once, and you try to pick and choose which parts of yourself you show and when. Does that help with the fear? The fear of judgment, rejection, maybe even retaliation? 

“It’s scary, though, trying to be yourself and hoping yourself is enough. It’s scary believing that you, as you are, could ever be enough.”

Roxane Gay

These sentiments are human, and all the possible scenarios we play in our minds are too. That’s why, if you’re reading this, I’m here to tell you it’s okay. 

It’s okay if you feel you’re managing a balancing act between the self you bring forth and the self that is 100% you. It’s okay if you’re still trying to figure out what that balance is. Whether you possess identities that you are visibly proud of, or ones you feel relief can often remain unseen, no place and no one should rush you into showcasing parts of yourself that you’re still figuring out, or simply, may want to keep for yourself. 

Keeping parts of ourselves tucked away for those we trust most is not being inauthentic. If anything, it can be a sign that you are placing the boundaries that feel right to who you are. On the other hand, if you feel like your full self is what you want others to see, by all means set forth with pride. 

The biggest movement towards true inclusion is understanding that there is no right or wrong when it comes to trusting others with parts of ourselves. True inclusion cherishes the parts that are given and that do show up, and continues to build trust for more to come.

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