We all have aspects of ourselves that we dare not show others. Things we’re afraid others won’t approve of or support, or, worse, will persecute us for. In the video below, Wentworth Miller, who starred in one of my favorite shows ever, Prison Break, discusses his heartbreakingly compelling journey of choosing between being true to himself and potentially compromising his career, after fighting so hard, alone, to get there. The takeaways in this video are too many to number.
What was of most interest to me, as someone who talks purpose with every client I see, is that most of us are hiding out in some way. While maybe we’ve not had the same horrendous experience of physical or emotional harm as a result of showing our true selves, we’ve learned, nonetheless, to sacrifice our truths, needs, wants, and emotions in order to not rock the boat, preserve someone else’s feelings or opinion, fit in, or to simply stay safe.
There are lots of problems with it, but two stand out. One is that it’s soul-crushing. Whether you’re able to keep it suppressed or not, there’s a part of you that knows you can’t possibly hide forever. And so you’re forced to either keep pushing the real you back inside, give up completely (resulting in an experience like Wentworth’s at 15), or take the risk of exposure, fingers crossed that people will still be there when they meet the real you.
The second issue is that it doesn’t really serve you or anyone else. Not being true to yourself creates an inauthentic environment that everyone is affected by. Being authentic creates space for others to be as well. As he says in the video, he finally realizes that if, by coming out, he provides that safe place and support – that he never had – for ONE person, it will have been worth it. I think his courage is an awesome example of what’s possible for the rest of us.
Where could you be more true to yourself?