Authenticity Revisited…


A week or so ago I posted Me & My Big Mouth!.  It is a post about communicating honestly with the people in our lives.  Wow, has it generated some feedback.  Here is one of the emails I received this past week on that subject.

[FROM MY BLOG] So whether you are on the giving end or the receiving end I think we have to get over some of our sensitivities and start being more authentic in what we say.  Say it! Own it!

I referred to it because someone said something to me that was considerably out of line.  When I responded with something similar, he told “I was just joking.”  My response to him was “So was I.  You didn’t find it funny?  Interesting.  Neither did I.”   Then I referred to your statement.  I told him I agreed with it up to a certain point.  I told him “Yes, we should speak with conviction.  We should say what we mean, and mean what we say.  However, I believe we should THINK before we say it.”   I think there are a dozen ways to say one thing.  I don’t see a problem with saying something in a way that’s more helpful, and less hurtful…and I don’t find it any less authentic to do so.

So yes, I referred to your blog.  Blogs are supposed to make people think…spark conversation….yours has done just that.  Thanks.  -E 

No, thank you E.  He is right!  We should always speak with conviction and think before we speak. Shaun Groves made a point of this in his post: Semantic Stretch: Authentic.  Being cruel, harsh, chronically depressed and unleashing it on the general public does not make you authentic. It does however, make you a very good candidate for counseling or medical intervention.  It is also a reflection of your character.

Now, let’s examine my original post and I will clarify the intent.  My post was speaking to personal relationships.  Communication in a personal relationship is so very critical.  Take a look at this analogy…

A relationship is similar to a mosaic. It has many pieces to it. These pieces are moments in our lives, such as: wedding, births, initimate nights, playing in the park with the family, dinner with friends, going to church, etc.  These pieces of mosaic are special to us and bring us together as lovers, as partners and as friends. But what about the in between? That’s where communication comes in to play.  It is the glue, the sticky that holds all the moments in between together. If it goes by the wayside or is not transparent and honest, then it loses its stickiness. The glue is what holds the mosaic together. If it is failing, the mosaic will crumble.  It is the same in a relationship, if communication is failing, it will also crumble.  Does this make sense?

Here’s an example…  My GF called me about a month or so ago to vent about her husband.  They had made a joint decision on something very important to their family that would impact all of them.  When the time came, he made the decision differently than what they had agreed.  He told her what he had done and she said oh, ok.  Then she hangs up and calls me.  As I was listening to her vent, as all good GFs do, I began to wonder why she just didn’t ask him why he changed the plan. So I asked.  She hesitated a bit and said, well I didn’t want to question him or ruin his moment, etc. And I said, “How is saying, ‘I thought we agreed to do this…., Can you help me understand why you decided to do this instead….’ a bad thing? I mean he probably has a very good reason and you would most likely agree or at least understand, right?”  But instead, she was angry and on the phone with me.  I could hear the resentment in her voice.  Repeat episodes of events like this erode the glue in a relationship.

So, my post was driven by me sending an email to a friend that I thought I had actually saved to my draft folder.  I was scared of being honest about my feelings and how that would impact our friendship. I had another email also drafted that was more tutti-frutti as my friend called it. She said it sounded as if Miss Teen USA had written it. She liked the the email that was accidently sent because it was real. It was me. It wasn’t mean. It wasn’t harsh. It was just me being honest with my friend about my feelings.  I was scared to send the email. Because I think I was worried about appearing to be something other than myself, as if that wouldn’t be acceptable. 

Here’s the final bit of mosaic analogy for the day… when you develop a mosaic (relationship), from day one you have to start with a good solid base of glue (communication). The mosaic pieces (special moments) are then put in place and built up over time and held together with more glue (communication), but it all starts with a solid foundation.

So, is E right?  Yes!  Is Shaun right? Yes!  Am I right? I think so.  What do you think???????

E is Erik Blue, lead of this awesome band called Erik Blue & The Bomb Squad.  Check out his MySpace page!

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