The Growing Culture Of Inauthenticity And How To Navigate It
Kristyn Meyer is on a journey to make herself the best human that she can be. These posts are a reflection of that. She welcomes your support via reading and through commissioned affiliate links within her posts! To stay up to date on all of her shenanigans, please subscribe to her email list! (psst…there’s a free gift involved)
Actually, I’m pissed.
With most situations that cause you stress and trauma, it takes a while to process what all happened.
Just as there is with death, it has different steps that you go through, and not necessarily in order.
Right now, I’m at the anger stage. And it’s not a great feeling.
I keep thinking back to what I dealt with for over a year. The way that I was treated, how my thoughts and ideas were pushed aside, even how I was quite literally forced to take blame for the mistakes of others.
I was, simply put, silenced from being my true and authentic self.
And those around me were catering to people in superior positions to grow their own personal power and reach. They themselves were not being their true selves, and instead were being who others desired them to be.
And you know what? This is not uncommon. This is actually a normal behavior in the corporate world, as I have learned from others. My situation was not special, nor unique. This is truly a growing culture that is coming into existence more and more.
Now that I am removed from all of it, I can reflect on the situation as a whole and try to heal from the pain and hurt that I experienced.
While I’m doing that, what I keep coming back to is the manipulation people do to THEMSELVES to be who others want them to be. This isn’t as a result of them being unprofessional, or not having the ability to do their job. What this entails is a fully capable and educated human being that doesn’t dot their I’s like a higher up does. They may not devote 80 hours a week to work but instead focus on appropriate work-life balance. The process that they utilize for getting their work done in the correct amount of time might be different from what their boss feels it should. And because they don’t, they are told they are not up to par.
So instead of sticking up for themselves, instead of advocating for their own beliefs and ideas, they shrink down.
They then become another version of their superior, just with less power and pay.
And not only that, but they find themselves exhibiting the same behavior to those below them, creating an evil and unfortunate cycle that doesn’t end.
They no longer trust their instincts. No longer will they speak up when they have something to say or want to provide insight. What they have become is a puppet on a string that dips and dives when told and only publicly speaks the words that they are directed to.
Sound harsh? It is. It is a very harsh and troubling reality.
In a world that routinely encourages people to speak their minds and stand up for what they believe in, it is truly anything but. If providing for your family depends on your paycheck, then you have to change yourself and become an inauthentic version of you to survive.
This is one thing if you are working at McDonalds and you don’t believe that pickles belong on burgers. You still have to put the pickles on the burgers when you serve them to others.
And it is another thing when you work at an organization with a specific mission. If you don’t agree with the mindset from the get-go, then you are not a good fit.
But if you have to swallow your personal ideas, thoughts and personality when you are more than capable of lending insight, then that is just a travesty. At that point you are a robot, not a human being.
A full time employee works 40 hours a week, and thinks about their workload much more than that.
Who wants to spend that much time each week being a person that they are not? Why should we have to?
Why can’t we all be in a place where our authentic selves can flourish? Where being in a professional position that you have rightfully earned and applied for allows you to truly do the work you set out to do? Nobody wants to be a messenger for someone else and be lead by a leash when they have the expertise to carry forward their passion, and the mission of the company, with autonomy.
I think back to a situation where I advocated for the implementation of a resource that I just knew would push our work forward and help propel the message that we were working to educate others on. Every step of the way I was shut down and not listened to. My emails were ignored, my agenda items were glossed over, my pitches were met with the decision makers half-listening while multitasking on their computers and phones. I was then informed that I needed to drop it, that I needed to “stay in my lane” and stop being persistent.
I was silenced. Not allowed to continue speaking on something of importance that I knew would benefit the work because I was not in a position of power.
And you know what happened? Several months later, someone with a higher pay grade than I approached the exact same people that I had. This person stated that this resource would be extremely valuable and that our team should jump on it.
And you know what? They did. They fawned over this person’s ideas and emails. Even went out of their way to implement it into our work and sang this person’s praises that such an amazing resource was brought our way.
My idea. The same one that I brought forward and pushed for.
The idea that I was silenced about.
I was told to become a person that I wasn’t. And the people that told me to be that were also being inauthentic in how they fawned over the superior who brought the idea forward again. It was known that this person had power, and agreeing with him could possibly afford them more of it. That was the reason they moved so fast. People are thirsty for power and being chummy and close with those who have more of it than they makes them do ridiculous things to try to get more of it. Maybe they actually hated the idea, even when the person of power pitched it? Nobody knows because inauthenticity is the name of the game.
Oh! And when I stated that I was upset that this exact same idea was ignored just a few months before?
I was told not to take it personally.
Again, my emotions were smothered.
My true self was told to not be true. I was forced again to be a puppet and say/do what I was told and be the person that others wanted me to be, which was a silent one.
Outside of the ability to pay your bills and provide for your family, what is the added benefit of being inauthentic? And why is it so quickly becoming a growing culture? Why are we expected to conform in ways that shouldn’t be asked? How is it that our livelihoods depend on it? What is the purpose of chasing your passion and working to benefit others when your skills are ignored? How is it that we can educate ourselves ad nauseum just to be a minion of someone who thinks they know it all? How did our value decrease so significantly because of our position and pay grade?
My mother continually told me growing up: “Be a leader, not a follower”.
And sadly, my situation taught me that I was only seen as a leader if I was a follower. Our cultural shift punishes the true leaders who attempt to be their authentic selves and rewards those who fall in line.
But you know what I say to that?
“Well behaved women seldom make history” – Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
I am healing from having to be suppressed and having been made to feel less than valuable. I will get myself to a place, in time, where I feel confident in myself and my skills once again and strong in knowing who I am as a person.
And one thing is for sure, I will do it all by being my authentic self. No longer will I shrink to fulfill others standards, needs and wants. I will not be a part of this new and growing culture.