Social Veneer vs. Authenticity (Fitting in is Easy, Until it isn't Anymore)

by Nyamka Bayanmunkh in


I recently had an interesting discussion with a new friend, where we talked about how much we had changed in the last few years. What I find interesting is that the changes we discussed didn't turn us into different people, but rather a truer version of ourselves.

As a result of simplifying my life dramatically, I had become more authentic with myself and other people. These days I say what I mean and I mean what I say. It's simpler for me and I am happier. Before, I fitted in and strived to achieve other people's expectation of me, thinking it would make me happy. 

Initially, fitting in was a path of least resistance. When I chose to fit in I wasn't asked difficult questions.  Difficult conversations are not required when there's enough social veneer that everyone agrees with each other on small talk. Things were nice, uncomplicated and shallow. If anyone asked me questions that scratched the surface I replied with a socially acceptable answer. I learned early that certain things were better or more respectable and I strived to have those characteristics that fit in with those judgements. I practiced and honed the skills that were deemed better and neglected those that weren't. However, over time the comfort of fitting in was overwhelmed by the discomfort of not being myself. I reached a stage where everything felt wrong. Imagine two jigsaws with different pictures. I felt like I was a piece from one puzzle sanded down to fit into the other puzzle. I was the right shaped piece but put into the wrong puzzle with the wrong picture. I realise that in my effort to fit in and please others I was getting further away from who I was. The future I made for myself wasn't right and so I changed.

There's so many reasons for choosing to fit in. My reason was to please others and to avoid confrontation within myself and with others, but whatever the reason, pretending to be someone and doing things to fit in leads you places where you don't belong. It can attract the wrong type people due to a false advertisement of who we are. In the end it turned out that some of my interests and talents weren't the right kind for some people. That's okay, these people have made their way out of my life and made way for people who like me as I am.

Being authentic with myself creates a sorting system for people, those who like me for who I am now and those who don't. It's a vulnerable place but being honest with yourself and others is beneficial for everyone. People know from the beginning what kind of person they are dealing with and can make their decision to stay or not. This way you attract people who are likeminded. By being authentic and being myself I create simplicity and calmness both in my mind and body. I like this system, I think I'll keep it for life.

With love, simplicity and authenticity,