Isn’t it draining to constantly put up a guard and pretend to be someone you’re not? You get to work on a Monday morning and the positive weekend feeling quickly vanishes as you immediately slip into a role that isn’t your authentic self. You want to fit in and be part of the tribe. Your colleagues come across strong, confident, and are bragging about their achievements. To be accepted, you do the same. It makes you feel bleak and exhausted.
I had a few rough weeks recently trying to juggle work and childcare. Without going into detail of the story, there came a point when I wasn’t able to hold up my guard anymore. In front of lots of people, I started crying and became very vulnerable. There were two options from here; I either could have kept going the same way I have for the past weeks, to hustle and pretend things are alright. Or I could show myself some compassion and be honest about the difficulties I’m dealing with. Being a working mum can be tough at times!
I chose to be kind to myself and cried pretty much for the rest of the day. I had long phone calls with loved ones seeking empathy. It was such an overdue release.
The walls we built so high and strong protect us from getting hurt, on the flip side, though, they don’t allow anyone to get close to us. They stop others from getting to know our real personalities and therefore don’t allow for deeper relationships. Perhaps even more importantly, they stop us from feeling fulfilled and happy.
Potential gains from letting down your guard
Showing vulnerability will get you closer to other people and you might form actual friendships. This immediately improves happiness, for example at work, as you have an ally who you can trust without judgement. You can share experiences and come up with solutions for things that need improvement in the workplace.
Making adjustments to your work
Being transparent and open about your feelings towards work enables you to make adjustments. If your manager doesn’t know what you’re uncomfortable with, they cannot change the role for you. However, if you let them in on your feelings, you can potentially co-create an environment that suits you better.
Live more authentically
Letting down the guard will likely lead to more intense emotions. You’re showing your vulnerability and that can be a painful experience. However, this pain leads to deeper insights to your values and things that are important to you. Knowing this information allows you to bring it more into your life and live more authentically. This is a rewarding feeling and something most people strive for.
There are many gains from letting down your guard. Further to my personal experience, I was fully re-energised the next day and knew exactly how to tackle the challenges. I was productive and able to come up with solutions for juggling work and childcare. This would not have been the outcome if I went with the first option, to keep going as if nothing was wrong.
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