Research Paper By Chanel Flores
(Life Coach, UNITED STATES)
Why More Safe Spaces are Needed to Foster Greater Authenticity
It seems like the world we live in is becoming increasingly fake. Models in magazines are airbrushed and digitally altered. From children to adults, we hide behind our electronics where we can create and portray a false version of ourselves. Many people are even turning to plastic surgery to change their appearance. Statistics show that in the last three years the number of breast augmentation procedures in the United States has increased by 37% and Botox procedures went up over 700%. The global video game revenues reached $75 billion last year. Why do we feel the need to hide behind surgery, video games or social media and avoid showing others our true self?
We sit and watch reality show that are not actually real, instead of going out and living our own lives. Life is hard. People are judgmental. We’re imperfect. Things happen that we may want to forget. No on really has answers to any of this. So we block it out and create seemingly better versions of ourselves in order to accepted and happy.
What happens as a lack of authenticity amongst us grows is that we cannot trust others. We may even lose ourselves. If people feel disconnected from their true self they may be more inclined to do things that they wouldn’t have done otherwise. Nobody wants to pay for a product that claims to be genuine but isn’t. How can anyone live a life that is basically filled with lies?
There has to be a way for people to stay connected to their authentic self. To be authentic is to be genuine. Having a safe space to express oneself openly and honestly facilitates authenticity. When someone enters a safe space she feels free of judgment in a positive and supportive environment. One can feel free to verbalize his strengths, weaknesses, experiences and emotions in a way that allows for change and growth.
Be what you are. This is the first step towards becoming better than you are. Julius Charles Hare
Why are safe spaces often difficult to find? Judgment is a part of being human. We all past judgments, but those who share safe spaces with others are trained or mindful of withholding judgment. Even well intentioned friends or family members tend to interject their opinions, criticisms or disapproval about our ideas and the way we want to live our life. This can create an uncomfortable, discouraging, anxiety-provoking environment instead.
Counseling sessions and support groups often create a safe space for people to share their inner thoughts, deepest fears or weaknesses. The job outlook of mental health counselors is expected to grow 29% over the next ten years. This is faster than the expected 11% average growth of all other occupations.
Although we may fight to hide or alter our true self, at some point we need to face who we really are inside. The projected growth of counseling and therapy careers demonstrates that more people will potentially begin to seek out and have access to a safe space. However, not everyone is in need of counseling or therapy.
Some seek the comfort of their therapist’s office, other head to the corner pub and dive into a pint, but I chose running as my therapy. Dean Karnazes
For those in recovery or experiencing challenging life changes there are a variety of support groups that may serve as a safe space for some. Many of these groups have facilitators and are structured in such as way that creates an environment to allow for open expression. Speakers take turns sharing one at a time. Participants are often discouraged from passing judgments or providing negative feedback. Not all groups will provide this type of structure or necessarily create a safe space.
Another option is also available for people that want to create a positive change in their life, improve their results or take an area of their life to the next level. Engaging a life coach provides a safe space while helping a person get to a new and better place in his or her life. Certified and credentialed coaches are trained to listen, suspend judgment, refrain from giving their advice or opinion, and focus on supporting the client to come to awareness of his or her own self-sufficiency.
Finding a safe space gives people the opportunity to take the time to be truly honest about all aspects of their life. It is so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life. There are so many external influences from the media, friends, employers, family and more that almost constantly feeding us ideas of what we should do, be, feel, eat, wear, etc. It’s no wonder the lack of authenticity is so prevalent.
Enter: safe spaces. Although some of probably do it, most people don’t necessarily want to have lengthy conversations out loud with themselves. Even if they did it is likely that they would not mentally catch or expand significant areas. Working with someone in a safe space gives the person time to talk openly and then have someone give feedback or ask questions to move deeper into the exploration.
What often results from such experiences, especially in coaching, is that there is a development of more self-awareness and there can be a powerful shift in perspective as well. Creating that self-awareness in others is definitely a key to fostering greater authenticity. When people are more aware of who they are, why they respond or react in certain ways and how they make decisions they are now better able to live intentionally in a way that is true to who they are.
As more safe spaces leads to a growth in authenticity, ideally the result would be a world where more honest people will make way for more trust. The diversity amongst us will be respected, allowing everyone’s uniqueness to shine through in a way that brings something special to the world.
Being authentic also leads to integrity. When you stay true to who you are you will not hesitate to what feels right from within. Integrity is an important quality, one that we especially want to see in our leaders. Imagine the impact that authenticity and integrity in business leaders and politicians would have on our world.
The doors of potential are also opened when a person can make an honest assessment of everything that makes up who they are and then consider where they want to be. They will better equipped to be successful in something that ignites their passion and makes them happier. Now who wouldn’t want to live in a world where they are happier and surrounded by people of integrity who are happy and trustworthy?