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When we compromise our true selves in the name of safety



Allow me, a mother to a 5-year-old girl, to discuss the concept of "Authenticity vs Safety" using a children's example.


The first time I saw Frozen, I was captivated by the complexity of Elsa's character. Elsa, to me, embodies a powerful woman who has so much power that she is afraid of what she can destroy, but also, create; in other words, afraid of her shadow and her light. She has a kind heart, yet she lives in constant fear, concealing her true identity and sacrificing her authenticity. "Don't let them in, don't let them see, be the good girl you always have to be. Conceal, don't feel, don't let them know." (Now, that's quite hard work!)


When Elsa finally breaks free, she experiences that sense of liberation but she is all alone. And that’s when she realizes she must gather her inner strength and confront her fears instead of hiding from them.


I am confident that many people can relate to Elsa's character, struggling to find a balance between Authenticity and Safety. This struggle also extends to the workplace. Thankfully, we are not tasked to hide our icing superpowers there, but we often suppress our authoritative, people-pleasing, or arrogant tendencies, and that's ok. But, when we have to compromise to such an extent that we no longer recognize ourselves, its the signal for us to say "enough" and let it go.


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