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You are always authentically you.

Sep 01, 2023

I've noticed in conversations recently, autistic, ADHD or otherwise neurodivergent adults giving themselves a hard time about masking and demanding of themselves to be 'more authentic'.

For example, maybe you can relate to finding it hard to give yourself permission to accommodate your sensory needs, or forcing yourself to make eye contact with someone because it might seem awkward to others if you don't.

Maybe you spend a lot of time and energy trying to keep up with what people are saying because you worry about being judged if you ask others to repeat themselves, slow down or share it in a way that makes sense to you.

Maybe you've had experiences of asking for your needs to be accommodated only to be ignored or rejected and so you've stopped asking. 

If this is your experience too, offering a gentle reminder: 


You are always authentically you.


Sometimes, you will be authentically you feeling safe enough to express your thoughts, experiences and needs.

At other times, you might be authentically you expressing one of your protection responses like masking or fawning.

Masking doesn't mean you are doing something wrong. It is a sophisticated survival strategy and a sign that something in the environment, interaction or activity doesn't feel safe.

So, when you notice masking, instead of giving yourself a hard time about not being authentic, I'm offering a gentle invitation to get curious about what is going on in the environment, interaction, or activity, that doesn't feel safe.


Gentle encouragement to also get curious about places, spaces, activities and people that allow you to feel safe enough to be yourself - because they are the kinds of things you want to spend more time immersed in.

Feeling safe enough to be yourself isn't something you need to justify. 

You have a right to thrive and you deserve access to the resources, support, connections and community that allow you to feel safe to be yourself.