What happens when you’re asked to not be true to who you are? When, as you see it, you’re being asked to compromise your integrity? When you’re feeling like you have to perform at a standard less than is acceptable for you and you don’t understand why this is acceptable for those in the hierarchy above you.
What happens is you get angry. Angry that you’ve been duped, angry that you have to lower your own standards, and angry that you have no choice but to accept this. At least for now. How do you not allow this to negatively affect you, your coworkers, and your family? Unfortunately, it’s not like you can remove this part of yourself and put it in a little box before walking into the building and take it back when you walk out. This part of you is why you’re a good employee, a good friend, a good partner, a good parent, a good person. This part of you is integral to your being, and it’s why having to compromise yourself in this way is so bothersome to you.
So, go ahead and be angry and upset for a little while, but don’t let it all make you miserable. Here is where you learn to “flip the script”, so to speak, and find the good in what seems so terrible right now. Here is where you develop healthy coping mechanisms.
Take a tip from the book How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. Look at the situation from the other person’s perspective. In order to do this, you’ll need to remove the emotion from the situation and turn almost everything into a clinical analysis. Why are you being asked to not be yourself? You must keep in mind that companies can’t be completely transparent with their employees about every detail. Maybe a change in hierarchy has happened or is about to happen. Maybe those who are telling you to go this route are protecting you from someone or something. Maybe this is for the short term and, since they’ve valued you so much in the past, it would be best if you stayed under the radar for a little while.
When you remove emotion, however, be prepared for people to think you’re being aloof or distant, and be prepared for those who don’t know you well to be very awkward around you. This will likely upset you even more, because you’ll feel like there is something fundamentally wrong with you. There’s not, trust me, there’s not.
Now look at your Like/Dislike list. What is on the “Dislike” side of that list? Tasks? People? Tangible objects? Situations? Hopefully the dislike side isn’t too long. What can you do to turn some of these things around? When you’re dealing with people these days, it’s likely via phone or email. Smile. Despite how you feel about this person, if you consciously put a smile on your face, you automatically function as if you’re happy. So if that means you have to take a deep breath and smile and not pick up the phone until after the second or third ring, then that’s fine. If it means you see the email come in, but you need to step away for a few minutes to get some water, come back with a smile and tackle that email, that’s fine too. If tasks are on your dislike list, what can you do to make them easier or more enjoyable? Can you listen to music or a podcast while you do them? Whatever your dislikes are, think of how you can tweak them to be not so bad and this is where your “Like” list comes in. What can you incorporate into your day that will add to your happiness? Music? Coordinating a break with a coworker who you have something in common with? Taking a walk around the building at break time? The more of the “Like” that you add, the more the “Dislike” will start to not bother you as much.
These two things, if you take them seriously, will help you to cope with not being your genuine you.
Hey, I'm Natalie and I'm an author, a wife, and mom of two kids and two dogs.
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