SELF-CONSCIOUS SOCIETY: OVER ONE THIRD OF PEOPLE FROM WALES ARE UNABLE TO BE THEIR TRUE SELVES

A new report has revealed that 35% of people from Wales don’t feel comfortable being their true selves. Being You: The Index, which launches today from Scottish brewer Innis & Gunn, uncovers the nation’s fear of self-expression as it looks to encourage people to be their most authentic and original selves.

A shocking 70% of the country’s inhabitants can’t be themselves with their colleagues at work, showing how they struggle to be themselves and open up to others. An overwhelming one third (30%) can’t be themselves with their friends, and a further third (31%) of people feel uncomfortable being themselves in front of partners.

The findings from Being You: The Index support ‘Be You, Stay Original’, Innis & Gunn’s movement to encourage originality, creativity, passion and purpose – a mission the brewer has been on since day one.

Innis & Gunn, the UK’s most recommended beer brand, has enlisted Consultant Psychologist and broadcaster Honey Langcaster-James to help explain their findings, which uncover the insights and perceived obstacles that many find on their way to being their true selves.

When it comes to the hurdles that stop people from Wales being their authentic selves, one third (33%) cite fear of being judged, showing how much value is placed on other’s opinions of us, rather than our own sense of self. Over one in five (26%) worry they will be rejected, 21% feel society dislikes those who are different and 21% fear being seen as vulnerable.

While the report highlights some challenges around the freedom to express ourselves, Being You: The Index also reveals the positive benefits that self-expression gives the people of Wales, with two thirds (63%) of respondents from the area feeling happy when being their authentic self, and respondents also feeling free (44%), like the best version of themselves (19%), authentic (28%) and original (27%).

Additionally, over half (59%) of those from Wales would like to be seen as ‘original’, showing that whilst they struggle to be themselves, there is a clear desire to be more unique, in-keeping with the brewer’s mission – with reasons including wanting to feel happier (45%), to know their opinions are respected (42%) and to have more confidence (28%).

And on a further positive note, two in five people from Wales (39%) also say that 2020 has made them less fearful of being themselves. This could be why half (52%) of the people from Wales also want to live life more authentically in 2021.

Dougal Gunn Sharp, Founder, Innis & Gunn, said: “Being You: The Index is a starting point for us, helping to show those who may be holding back their true selves from shining, that they’re not alone. Our stats show those who are true to themselves feel happy, free, authentic and original – and we’d like to encourage more people towards this way of living.

“At Innis & Gunn, being ourselves and doing our own thing has allowed us the freedom to make beers we love and hoped others would enjoy too. Our mission, ‘Be You, Stay Original’ comes from our belief that the world is a better place when people can just be themselves. It’s at the heart of everything we do, it has made us who we are today, and we now want to go further and celebrate the originality of others.”

Commenting on the report, Honey Langcaster-James, Consultant Psychologist and Director of On Set Welfare, said:” In recent times, many of us have had to become accustomed to wearing masks in our everyday lives. However, on a more psychological and emotional level, we’ve actually been covering ourselves in other ways long before this. We’re deeply social beings, and the opinions of others matters to us, so we often wear a kind of psychological mask whenever we present ourselves in ways, we think we ought to be, or when we say the things we think we should say.”

“We live in a world that we perceive to be very judgemental, and this means we don’t feel free to be our true selves. That can leave us stressed and disconnected. Staying true to your authentic self and daring to stand out also gives you freedom and makes you feel liberated. Self-acceptance is key – by being honest and accepting yourself, you start to avoid the need for acceptance from anyone else, and that is what gives you true freedom.”

To view Being You: The Index visit https://www.innisandgunn.com/beingyou.

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