We are highlighting a previous episode of the ¿Quién Tú Eres? podcast, where we explore the conflict we often face between "professionalism" & being our authentic selves.
Gardelyn Bonilla is a proud Dominicana from Harlem and a therapist dedicated to empowering people to live as their most authentic selves by speaking their truth through therapy.
In this conversation, Gardelyn shares her experiences as a young Latina in the workplace and how she went from being a shy child to becoming a confident woman who continues her journey of authenticity.
These are some of the episode highlights:
"I've always had to work a bit harder to prove myself, and that actually burns me out." -Gardelyn Bonilla
Unlike many of us, Gardelyn’s experience at work was a bit different. At her entry-level position, she was surrounded only by women of color. But as she started to move up and advance in her career, she noticed that management was predominantly white men. And throughout her experience, looking younger than she was while also factoring in that she is a woman and a Latina, Gardelyn felt the need to continuously prove herself for other people to believe that she belonged there.
Sometimes at meetings, she would give an idea and it would not be taken seriously. But when an idea was expressed by someone older and different than her, she noticed that it would then be well-received and taken into account. And seeing this happen was discouraging, and it made her want to shut down. But with time, she learned she had to stand up for herself.
Now, regardless of what anyone thinks, she knows she is more than capable and efficient. And just because she may look younger or different, she does not have to spend energy trying to prove anything to anyone. She realized she had to be the one to feel like she deserved to be there. And so she did. She began to work through this from the inside out.
"It's easy, in our human experience, to think that we're the only ones going through it. That's why it's important to connect and share stories." -Gardelyn Bonilla
As we go through challenging or uncomfortable situations in life, we can find ourselves feeling alone. We feel as if no one can truly understand us. But eventually, we realize that our problems are not unique to us. We just don’t know it because we don’t speak about it. We don’t share our stories. So, how would we know? But if we were to open up to a co-worker, for example, or someone that feels good and safe to us, we might be surprised and realize that, after all, we are not alone, and other people share similar struggles.
Gardelyn tells us how by connecting and sharing our stories, we can create a support system. And by having at least someone who can listen to us in moments of distress, we can feel empowered as one and can make it through together.
"Being authentic is important because I'm not only healing myself. I'm healing those that came before me and those that come after me in the process." -Gardelyn Bonilla
For Gardelyn, authenticity is a lifelong journey. As we continue to grow in life, we shed old layers of ourselves. We unlearn what we have been taught to believe, and we learn new things that are more in alignment with who we are.
Authenticity is a process, not something that happens overnight. It takes noticing how we suppress ourselves in different situations and finding out the why. It takes digging deep and working to heal the parts of ourselves that we have hidden or abandoned to fit into what someone else or society wants from us. And Gardelyn realized that as she heals herself, she is also healing everyone that came before her and who did not get to feel open and free to be their authentic selves. And those who will come after as well because the more we heal and stand up in our power, we inspire others to do the same.
Gardelyn’s healing journey led her to embrace her authentic self and to show up for others! Listen to this episode to learn more about her journey:
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