How often do you feel forced to censor yourself; your thoughts; your feelings; your expression?
I work in an office and am generally required to do this a lot; they call it diplomacy skills. I call it a slow erosion and degradation of my soul and core being.
The stronger my distaste for this fallacious behaviour grows, the more I seem to embrace my authentic responses regardless of what the consequences may be.
Today, I received some feedback from a client. It was conveyed with a remarkable degree of drama and ignorance, almost verging on plain rude, but because the person in question is a C-level executive, there is an expectation that the response would be tailored appropriately. Despite my burning desire to just let my response flow unadulterated, I proudly maintained my composure and gave a fair and polite explanation. An hour or so later, I got a reply.
The response was unexpected, not in itself, but the tone; I could not make up my mind about whether he was being mildly humorous or just plain pitiful. I decided to take it in a positive light and, in the politest possible way, laced my response with both humorous, honest and sarcastic subtleties in the hope that he would take it the way it was intended. I then paused for a minute or two before committing myself to putting it out there.
Knowing that I could not now take it back, I relaxed into the sensations of both satisfaction and mild anxiety about how it would be taken.
I am a decent, good-natured, laid back, realistic guy. Why should I feel as though my honest response would be taken the wrong way? Well, because I am also playfully sarcastic and rely upon facial expressions and tone of voice to fully convey the irony of the words I choose to use – in e-mail, the only thing one has, is words. That is why. That, and the fact that I hate people.
Joking aside, if you cannot embrace the authentic you – if, particularly at work, you have to consistently self-censor, curb your enthusiasm, stifle your laughter, bite your tongue – then you will slowly lose touch with what it is to be you. Life will be empty and frustrating, each day a battle to endure; your free time will be left equally empty as you are drained by the sheer demand of keeping yourself in a box.
Embrace the ‘authentic you’ and you will find your place; don’t fight to fit in where you don’t belong.