We like to think that society – our work, position, family or some other external factor, holds us back from manifesting our true success.
You can make the argument that what is really limiting you is that society doesn’t allow you to be totally yourself. And it’s a great argument to make. It’s just not true.
You’re afraid that if your company knew you’re a lesbian it would hamper your promotion.
You think if you don’t cover your scar with makeup, people will find you unattractive.
You’re afraid to tell your spouse about the fetish that really excites you.
You downplay or even hide your religious beliefs (or your atheism), for fear it will cause friction with others.
You’re afraid that if you don’t use the initials after your name, or have the right title, that you won’t command the respect you deserve.
In all of these examples above (and thousands more I could write), the real issue is you. You’re allowing the opinions of others to influence your self-worth. You’re changing yourself to meet other peoples’ expectations, requirements or wishes. But the self-actualized person never does this.
Yes there are people who will try to discriminate against you, hold you back, harm you or even kill you, simply because of who you are. But they only have that power if you give it to them. You have to be willing to stand up for yourself, even (and especially) when it means losing a job, speaking up, fighting back or escaping. Because if you can’t live being the real you, you die a little every day.
If you’re a woman in a Taliban-controlled country, a transgender person in Russia, an overweight kid being bullied in school, or a similar situation – protect yourself first and foremost. But seek help, and if help isn’t available, escape the situation or surroundings. Refuse to stay in any environment that doesn’t allow you to be you.
Society isn’t holding you back from being totally yourself. You are holding you back from being totally yourself.