A to Z

Alter ego vs authencity

“Be yourself – not your idea of what you think somebody else’s idea of yourself should be.” – Henry David Thoreau

For a long time I had an alter ego: there was a “work me” and a “private me”.

“Work me” didn’t show emotions because I learnt along the way that business is tough, and I need the shield of coldness to bear it. I was taught that if I want to be successful, processes are above people, uniformity trumps individuality.

When you try really hard to be something you’re not, it’s an exhausting battle you can never win. I also felt constantly inadequate and fake. I was afraid, “what if somebody finds me out? What if they realise I’m only pretending?”

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most importantly, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs

In order to change I had to understand that the acceptance of others means nothing without the acceptance of myself – the one person I can’t pretend to. And while my inner critic constantly tries to tell me it’s not enough, it’s not the accepted norm, I am better at ignoring it.

Sure, my approach to leadership is not the standard yet. Business still tries to separate work and life, saying we need a balance of the two, but what if, in fact, there are no two separate areas?

However there is more and more buzz around this. It started in spiritualism – it encouraged people to find jobs that makes them happy, fulfilled. It spread, and we entered the era of freelancers, then digital nomads, and now we openly talk about positivity, authenticity, courage and even transcendence in leadership.

Here’s what I believe about fakeness: people are unable to resonate with it. It’s impossible to believe in someone who doesn’t show who they are. Is it always easy to open up, to remove the protection barrier? No. But it’s always worth it.

22 thoughts on “Alter ego vs authencity”

  1. I’ve never subscribed to the notion that you’re one person at the office and someone totally different at home or at “not work” in general. Eventually the “real you” is going to come out, anyway, so why not just show that side to start with? Good start to the A to Z Challenge!

    John @ The Sound Of One Hand Typing

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s a very thoughtful post. It’s hard not to conceal some parts of ourselves where they might be vulnerable. So much to think about!

    Isa-Lee Wolf
    A Bit 2 Read
    @IsaLeeWolf

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  3. This is so true and I find it very interesting and informative. Staying true to oneself is not a simple nor is it an easy task. Great job!
    Jackie’s Bookbytes Letter A

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  4. Just being yourself is so much easier isn’t it?
    I’ve realised, not everyone is going to like me, no matter what or who I am. It’s best to be loved or hated for the real you. It’s a lot less tiring… and more fun as you get older , then you couldn’t care less what people think 🤣🤣

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  5. My dad once said that it’s ok for others to hate the real you than love the fake you. Guess Five Finger Death Punch also said the same much later. I used to have a lot of clashes at work because I never compromised on who I was but in the end even my adversaries ended up respecting me. Sure, I missed out on a couple of promotions and stuff, but I don’t think the compromise would have been worth it.

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  6. I have always envied people who can pull an alter-ego off convincingly. My boyfriend has this talent and I can see how it helps him slide smoothly into any social situation. He has the ability to change personas and make conversation (and friends) wherever he goes. I do know that people also appreciate my authenticity, but it is draining sometimes as well. There are evenings that I wish I could where a little protective alter-ego-shell and pull off an interested look, when I’m really not. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ve found that it’s tempting to develop an alter ego when I write under a pen name. Something about the anonymity and being amongst strangers. In the age of internet and avatars it’s to easy.
    Alter egos are also decent mental defense mechanisms.

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