Many years ago, when I first committed to living more authentically, I started to dig really deep into being more of myself across all spheres of my life – at work, with my family, in my relationships, and most importantly, with myself.
And while many people in my life embraced the more authentic Ritu, frankly, some didn’t. They found it very hard to adjust to my candor, boundary setting, and confidence. And in fact, there were more than a few moments when I felt judged by friends and family members, and ultimately, I had to shed some relationships.
It’s an unfortunate truth that when you decide to start living more authentically, there will be people who may hate on your decision to better know, embrace, and be who you are. Even people who love and care about you may have a negative reaction to your life changes, despite knowing that you’re making these behavioral shifts to live better and to be happier.
Authentic living isn’t easy at the best of times, and when you’re just starting your journey and you begin receiving negative feedback and feeling judged, it’s natural to question your choice to be more of who you are. But don’t give up!
If I’ve learned anything from my authenticity journey, it’s that sticking with it and putting in the hard work is worth it. So to help you in moments when you’re facing backlash about your authenticity, I wanted to share the two reasons people hate on authenticity and how you can overcome their negativity in order to thrive.
There are two main reasons why people may have a hard time when you start to be more authentic:
1. It’s a wake-up call that they may not be living their most authentic life.
When you first start to reveal more of who you are in your interactions, those around you who may have been living as their Performing Selves will be in for a wake-up call. Not only will they feel your increased vulnerability and openheartedness – which can be intimidating to be around – but they’ll also be reminded that they want to live more authentically but are holding back due to fear.
And so instead of doing the hard work to be more of who they really are, they push down their own desires and your authenticity and encourage you to return to doing the same. Because you’re reminding them that they’re not choosing to make critical life changes, they want you to stop living this way too.
2. Authenticity can cause others to feel threatened.
Because living more authentically leads you to feel more liberated, to radiate more confidence, and to be happier – and often in bigger, bolder, more noticeable ways – the second reason people may be uncomfortable with authenticity is that they feel threatened by it. Rather than feeling joy for you and how radiant and happy you’ve become, some people react to authenticity with envy or resentment, which shows up as them judging you.
Often these are the type of people who hold the mistaken belief that by tearing you down, they’ll feel better about their lives and the choices they’ve made. But tearing others down will never bring you true happiness, whereas living with authenticity opens the door for everyone to experience happiness and belonging.
When you feel like you’re being judged, it’s natural to doubt your decision to take steps to live more authentically. Even if you know the reasons behind the judgments, the negative energy you feel may lead you to question whether your new way of life is right for you.
You’ll hear the little voice in your head that spews negative self-talk tell you that the haters are right and that you shouldn’t be bold in putting yourself out there. You may even want to go back to your old ways of conforming and masking who you are because it feels easier. But this is the time to stand in your power!
Instead of giving in to self-doubt, take a moment to reflect on how conforming and masking your true self led you to be miserable. Remind yourself of all the reasons why you’ve taken this courageous step to be more vulnerable and authentic – you want a more meaningful and fulfilling life, you want to focus on personal growth, you want more genuine human connections, and so much more – and then shut out the noise!
This could mean self-coaching yourself through difficult moments or using affirmations to shut down negative self-talk. Now that you’re connected to your authenticity, you know what will work for you – and you know what’s best for you! Encountering negative backlash about your authenticity can be very challenging but know that you get to decide your happiness through the choices you make.
The next time you feel judged or overwhelmed by negativity, what will you do to stand in your power and ensure that you keep living your best?
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