“Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them.”
― Albert Einstein
I heard Seth Godin say once that one shouldn’t always strive for authenticity. That sometimes professionalism is more important. That sometimes you may not want to do something — it’s not authentic in that moment — but to not do it would hurt others (or yourself).
I’ve been thinking about this a lot. And I have to agree. While I think some is semantics, the idea that you should be fully “yourself” at all times isn’t appealing to me. I mean, myself isn’t always great. I don’t always have the best intentions. My first thought isn’t always kind. I don’t necessarily make all the best choices — do any of us? So while I want to be “myself” I also always want to self-monitor.
Let me explain. Self-monitoring is just a process of understanding myself. Regulating myself in certain situations. Things we all do. If someone asks me how I feel about something, my first authentic thought might not be helpful, so I monitor myself and share something else for the greater good. To keep a friendship. To not get fired.
So while I am striving for authenticity in my life — I’m not in all situations. I may not always authentically want to wash the dishes, or go to work, or show up to a friends house. But I’ll do it anyway. Because what we want isn’t always what’s best. Being myself isn’t always a good thing.
What do you think? Should you be authentic and risk hurting others? Yourself? Do you practice radical honesty and authenticity, or do you self-monitor?