have you ever been in an environment or with someone who made you feel like you needed to hold back, temper your behavior, even say things you don't fully mean?
i've had friends who were quick to poke fun or outright ridicule my interests and quirks. oftentimes, it was something as innocuous as an eye roll of, say, my predilection for anything disney-related. on the surface, it would make me feel silly and embarrassed. but on a deeper level, it felt like rejection of part of my personality.
we've all known those types that will cut you off mid-sentence if you say something that opposes their sensibilities. he or she will often summarily squash any point you were trying to make and tell you that you're wrong or face you with combative sarcasm. i've never been the type to talk over people, so i admit, i'm always taken aback when people show such bravado.
i've also seen corporate settings where "professional" means a uniform of brown, black, or navy. or where talking about your interests outside of work gives the impression that you're not focused on your career. in an environment where everyone dresses similarly and only talks about how busy they are, how do you individuate? i reference now my post on identities
because the challenge of clear self-expression extends beyond your significant other.
it can feel stifling to have friends or colleagues who don't really accept all of you. if you find yourself in that situation, you have to ask yourself whether it's worth it - to temporarily deny part of who you are. i've come to realize that a real friend will love your authentic self and that the most rewarding workplaces celebrate individual strengths as part of a larger whole.