The Risky Adventure of Being Yourself

Today I went to a seminar and the topic was about coming out at work. I was excited about the topic until I noticed that the conversation was about the difficulties and disadvantages of coming out (sexuality) in the workplace.

For me, showing up as your true self is being who you are without giving up the independence of yourself. It means that you are one with nature, each other, and yourself.

This topic intrigued me because in the workplace we try to please others at the expense of our own needs and desires. Most times just to be a team player we surrender the integrity of our individual selves instead of choosing the independent part to happiness and freedom.

I get it.

I worked in the corporate world most of my adult lifeMy biggest fear is that I will never find myself. Read more ... », so I understand that showing up as your true self is a risking exposure of your essence to the roaring crowd! It is much easier to hide behind the mask, plus it assuages the unbearable anxiety. But does it resolve the underlying problem?

I am talking about the need to build genuine and satisfying relationships and most importantly – finding yourself.
I could not help myself, I stood up and asked, what about me, the African-American woman who is an educated thought leader who wants to make a difference. When I show up, it’s hard!

Here is the deal, I cannot change the color of my skin. When I show up, I am perceived as black, aggressive, obnoxious, and ghetto without been given a chance to be me. When I sit at the table, some question my credentials. And when I speak up, I am told not to because I will be blacklisted. Not to mention the statement that based on my accomplishments and the way I articulate myself I am not the typical black person. Cut it out, it is not a compliment.

For me, it is a pain to show up. When I show up humble and in the color of my skin I am asked to bring more coffee or given a quiz about my credentials- while my colleagues just walk through the door, most look back at me with that apologetic face.

So do you really want me to show up as my real self or your perception of who I am?

As Jack Nicholson said in the movie A Few Good Man “You Can’t Handle the Truth

Major companies preach diversity and inclusionStrategies to lead a multi-generational and ethno-cultural workforce. Read more ... », but they are so backward as to what this really means. Inviting me to seminars and workshops is promoting diversity, but not giving me a voice unless I appear as what you expect is not inclusion.
Looking back at my childhood,  I was not an obedient child but if you ask any of my teachers I was a diligent student who always seeks the truth and was unafraid of the opinion of others.  I was not accustomed to submission, I took numerous spankings and lectures from authority figures in regards to my inability to give people a false impression of who I am. Growing up in a class system, appearing instead of being was important to my family.
Inclusion means you appreciate and welcome me just as I am, adaptable, quirky, creative, determined, and resilient but flawed.
 I cannot help being me.
 I remember at age 13 I showed up at my family gathering and announced that a prominent member of the community molested me. For me, that was showing up and without knowing it was the beginning of my healingMy biggest fear is that I will never find myself. Read more ... ». But in the eyes of others, it was inappropriate and a family shame.
Today it is unfortunately no different. Many take the “safe” road to nowhere instead of the risky road to well-beingHow to Stick to Your New Year's Resolution: Getting my Spinning on!. Read more ... ». Because the road to well-being means being judged, rarely cared for, and seen as weak. But based on my experience the rewards are you will have more control over your life.
As a black woman, I find myself always explaining myself, adjusting my attitude, showing my credentials and achievements,  and not wearing my Afro too big to be taken seriously.
After years of settling and not living at my full potential, I decided that I will not fake my own happiness in order to please everybody around me. I will not sacrifice myself to make their lives a paradise.
This seminar was a God send because it reminded me that to be successful and grow into me, I have to accept and connect all the parts of my being.
My vision must be clear, this way I will no longer surrender my inner happiness to others.
As I walked out of that seminar I promised myself that I will not take the  “safe” road to nowhere.
Instead, I will take the road less traveled.
I am ok knowing that I will not be accepted by all. As a matter of fact, I am used to being judged, and talked about and even befriend by those who loveHold on 2 Your Faith. Read more ... » me as long as it benefits them.
 This might sound cheesy, but when I walked outside I just burst out laughing, crying, and giving myself permission to be.
I am showing up as my real self! I am choosing the risky road to well-being.
The bottom line is I have to live with me. My game plan to help others become their best selves! Because I am having so much fun as a spiritual being in this human body4 Proven Ways to End Emotional Constipation. Read more ... ».
After all, showing up as your true self,  means showing up with a deep sense of truth, no ego,  your actions are based on the act of kindness and love. The focus is creating an environment where others feel safe and is comfortable enough to “let go” of defenses.
Maybe I am an idealist, but I am optimistic that the next seminar that advertises showing up as your true self will not only be about sexuality but will include someone like me, a spiritual being seeking to share human connections.

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