Who are you? What are your beliefs, goals, and preferences? What makes you happy and feel alive? And most importantly, are you admitting those things to yourself and the world around you, or are you hiding them?
There are many people who can inspire you to be who you are. There are also many people who can try to force you or scare you into becoming someone you are not.
The following TED talk done by Morgana Bailey is an emotional example of what hiding your true self can do.
Morgana says that a study found that 61% people changed aspects of themselves at work.
And 83% of LGBT employees reported changing aspects of themselves so that they would not appear too gay. What can that do to their health? In her talk, she says that it can result in:
- Life expectancy shortened by 12 years
- Higher rates of heart disease
- More violence (anger)
- Increased risk of suicide
But she also says that there are social consequences when you don’t openly be who you are. When you are not honest with other people about who you are, they can’t know the real you. Moreover, you are unable to affect other people in a way that benefits yourself and people like you.
If you watched the video, you can see the regret that she has over that, and I would say that’s one big reason hiding your true self is a bad idea: the pain of not knowing what you – the real you – can do for this world. Now that she’s openly being herself, I’m sure she already sees the impact she does and can have.
A Great Example Of Being Who You Are
As a gay man, Kory DeSoto has been told to stop acting so feminine. In fact, when he was younger, he did everything he could to stop himself from acting feminine. But, guess what – that is the way he acts and he’s decided to be true to himself! I recommend listening to his story.
Most Of Us Try To Conform On Some Level
I see it every day, wherever I go. People often act in a way that they think will please someone else.
I’ve never had much of a problem being myself. For instance:
- I didn’t follow the trends, mostly because I thought I looked stupid in the trendy clothes and with the trendy haircut.
- I didn’t act cool to get into the cool crowd; instead, I was just myself.
- I didn’t eat food I didn’t like just to impress my host – I was serious about avoiding meat and meat by-products no matter what they thought.
- I always followed my heart when it came to education and work.
But, there are things that I did do in my early twenties.
- I smoked because I thought it was cool
- I laughed at stupid jokes that were insensitive, just to fit in
- I drank too much, just to fit in
- I attended events that made me miserable, just to fit in
When I stopped doing those things and started being myself and doing things that made me happy, my life changed.
I started doing work that felt rewarding. I started developing ideas and thoughts to help myself and other people live a happier life.
My health improved. Your health tends to do that when you quit smoking and doing stuff that feels unhealthy for you.
And, of course, my happiness improved.
The bottom line is that the world needs people like you – no not that you…the real you. The world needs to see that we are all different and that it’s okay to be different. So, be yourself, help others be themselves, and let’s change this world!