"Becoming your true self" by Wendy Tangen

Wendy Tangen shares a blog for International Women's Day 2020

I have never viewed myself as unique. I’ve always believed that I did not fit in, that I will always be on the outside. As I look around, I am the only person like me in the room and this has, at times, made me feel uncomfortable. No one wants to stand out, so the only thing to do is to go with the flow, be part of the crowd and somehow blend in. Do not upset the status quo and people will invite you into the inner circle – only then would I feel I’ve made it. A lot of people feel like this. They conform to the norms of what they believe society expects of them. They strip themselves of their identity and loose the essence of who they are.

I’ve met some wonderful people throughout my life, some of whom I remember vividly, others managed to leave an impression on me despite knowing them for just a fleeting moment. Those experiences and relationships have allowed me to grow and develop into the person I am today.

So, I ask you…who are these people in your life? Who has imprinted on you and made you the person you are today? How much of yourself do you celebrate? And how have you imprinted and connected with others?

When you start to reflect on these questions you begin to realise your true worth. For others to value and accept you, first you need to look inside and appreciate yourself and then I truly believe others will see what you see.

The turning point for me was when my husband proposed… exciting right!!! But it led me to think about my name. What do I call myself? Does my name define me? I thought I knew who I was. I am a daughter, sister, aunt, friend, nurse…the list goes on. But until I began to reflect on my identity, not just my ethnicity and origins but what my soul said, what my values were and what I stood for. It was only then that I began to appreciate my true self.

This process taught me to embrace and celebrate the person I am. It reminded me what was important to me. I began to see my achievements and reflect on how I may have or can influence others. This was priceless stuff – a real journey of self discovery!

If you understand yourself – in your entirety, your behaviours then reflect your values and you become your true self.

Being brave and stepping out of my comfort zone in certain situations can still be a daunting experience. So, I remind myself why it is important not to blend in, to follow the crowd or just play it safe. In today’s climate of influencing positive change, it is even more important to stand up for what you believe in and be your true self.

Wendy Tangen is Clinical Engagement, Access and Inclusion Development Lead at the Trust and was shortlisted for an Equality and Inclusion Award in the 2019 Trust Awards.