We have all found ourselves in the difficult position of deciding if we should be true to our self or be someone else’s mouthpiece. Maybe it was in a relationship with a loved one or in a meeting at work, but you were just dying to say what you really felt. But what does being true to oneself really mean? Unfortunately, many people believe that being true to yourself means you are the villain. It is simply about you setting boundaries and knowing how and when to express the need to have those boundaries observed.
Don’t compromise your values
If you are being asked to compromise your values, violate ethics or break rules, it’s imperative to speak up and stand your ground. You can be professional in the process and there is no need to get emotional about it. There are lines that should not be crossed and knowing what those are ahead of time makes the process easier of voicing what is important to you.
Be mindful when, how and if you speak
Being true to yourself means you need to be strategic. Getting your message across to the right person at the right time in the right form of communication takes a calculated approach. Always remember that a big part of the process to get your desired result — whether that is being heard or changing a decision maker’s mind—is going to take some effort in gauging the right time. You were a master of strategy when you were a kid. You knew when to give your parents the bad report card and when to ask for extra money or extended curfew – this is no different.
Get help from a friend or mentor
Depending on the politics of the organization, the friend you are dealing with or the family member you need to address, you might need some help. Find a third party who can help you craft or deliver your message so you don’t feel like an impostor. Oftentimes we feel like a sellout because by being our self, we couldn’t get the task accomplished. Don’t go at it alone.
It’s a common misconception that being true to yourself means you have to hurt people’s feelings. Yes, the view you hold may be unpopular, but it doesn’t require you to be mean. Practice standing firm for what you believe in but at the same time be kind and compassionate to those receiving your boundary-setting news.