#12: Embracing the Full You
“Don’t post this on LinkedIn. It’s a professional platform for networking. You don’t want your office colleagues reading about topics that are quite personal to you.”
“Use this filter for Instagram. It will make your face look less chubby.”
“Make sure your audio is top notch for Clubhouse. You want people to be blown away by your voice.” Wait, what?
“Facebook is for groups; Whatsapp is only for people who are close to you.” Who makes these rules?
“You want to blog about the environment or travel? Use Medium or Substack.”
The list of rules is endless.
Every aspect of our personalities and our lives has to neatly (and conveniently) fall into different buckets.
Someone came up with these rules, and we started believing in them blindly. That’s on us.
We’ve created these partitions for ourselves. We’re afraid to show our whole selves. We’re afraid to say what we truly feel in case we hurt someone. And so, we hide. We hide our true feelings. Our true beliefs. Our true opinions.
We might be dreamers, poets, artists, emotionally vulnerable, resilient, or spiritual, but we’re scared of what others might think of us.
We show up at work with half a personality because “hey, I have to be professional, I can’t show my emotional side at work. I have to pretend I’m a robot.”
If you have a virtual background on Zoom that’s probably there to hide the “mess” behind you because you think your house isn’t perfect, your room isn’t looking “good” on video.
But the pandemic changed it all.
The barriers between home and work have broken down. The walls we had carefully constructed between personal and professional have crumbled in the blink of an eye.
Now, colleagues can look into our homes. They can see our family photos on our walls.
They can see what we look like in pajamas, without makeup. Oh my god, look at my frizzy hair. I can’t go to the salon and I look like a crazy witch. Do I really have to switch on my video?
Everything from mental health to home workouts to art journaling to gratitude practices have become virtual watercooler conversations.
Suddenly, it seems “cool” to be vulnerable. It has become OK to share your worst nightmare with a colleague or someone you met on a professional networking site.
We end up baring our whole selves online and in chats. I don’t know how “cool” it is or how “brave” it is — the reality is we can’t compartmentalize anymore. And that scares some of us.
The new normal is about embracing our whole selves. The complete person in you. It’s all about integrating the personal and professional you.
If you’re on LinkedIn, you’re professional but you show up as who you are. You talk about topics that you’re passionate about. You’re not afraid to reveal your complete self to your office colleagues. This is who you are. At work and outside of work. On Instagram, people can see through the filters, through the charade. You’ve got to keep it raw, personal, authentic. You.
But there’s one caveat — embracing the full you takes courage. Not perfection. And finding that courage within us is all it takes to show up fully and authentically.
The good news is that each one of us can be courageous. We’re surviving this pandemic, so we can survive anything. Don’t underestimate the courage within you.
Accept your insecurities and your weaknesses; embrace them. They are a part of you. Don’t hide them away. Even if you have no makeup on or your hair has this weird shape, switch on your video. Your opinions matter, your voice needs to be heard.
The whole, imperfect you is perfect.
I hope that you enjoyed this post and are staying safe and healthy out there. Use the comments section below to share your thoughts. And don’t forget to subscribe. You can also find me on LinkedIn and Twitter, so you can share any thoughts or questions you may have about careers, personal growth, networking, travel and communities.
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