6.03.2013

Authenticity, honesty and transparency

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by Rachel A.

"Honesty and transparency make you vulerable. Be honest and transparent anyway." Mother Theresa


If you’ve been following this blog at all, you’ll know that we’ve tried to create a place where life meets reality. We try not to sugar-coat things or take ourselves too seriously. Authenticity is a word we think a lot about as we decide what to write, and is the theme we've chosen for the month.

Authenticity is one of my favorite traits to discover in a person. I love and respect people who unapologetically embrace their true selves and aren’t afraid to introduce that person to the world. I think I love it the most, because I know it isn’t easy. Like Mother Theresa said, this openness can really make you vulnerable. However, I believe that that vulnerability opens doors to healthier relationships, increased self-worth and confidence, and contentment with life decisions.

In my professional life, my colleagues and I encourage organizations to embrace and practice transparency and authenticity. Why? Transparency elicits trust - this goes for individuals too. If you are honest about your true self, others know what they can expect from you, what you value, and they don’t have to guess what you’re not saying (I am not suggesting you shouldn’t filter what you say – please don’t go tell your boss what you really think of them in the interest of being honest, transparent and authentic).

So does being authentic mean you embrace all of yourself, even your faults? Does it mean you shouldn’t try to change less-desirable traits? Those are good questions. My initial reaction is to say no, but I suspect the answer depends on the motives, as well as what those less-desirable traits are. I don’t think being authentic means to stop trying to improve yourself, but I do think it means that you have to celebrate the person you are, accept that person's faults, and then transform that person in a way that feels natural.

This is a bit of a tough topic, and I’d love to start a discussion. What does being authentic mean to you and how do you embrace it? Have you found being authentic beneficial or detrimental? Why is authenticity important (or not) to you? How do you move pass the discomfort of vulnerability to embrace a spirit of honesty and transparency?
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5 comments:

  1. First of all, great graphic Rach! You are so talented! Second of all, I completely agree, that I look for authenticity in people. I feel like it is a gift one can give to another when we share our true self, especially our faults because that is what makes us human and relatable. I think it is great to change, but we'll never change if we don't accept the underlying flaw, and I think it is important to be honest about that change. Anyway, great post. xxoo

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  2. Love this post! I have struggled with this myself lately because it is something that I've been trying to embrace in my blogging and my real life. The problem I have found is that (at least in blogging) sometimes people make assumptions about your life that are not true. For example, maybe you blog about a bad day, and they think, "Oh, she must be depressed". It's interesting to me because you would think that people would understand you better if you are being authentic, but sometimes, I think the truth is that people don't want to know what is really inside your deepest core. Sometimes being "real" or "authentic" to our own feelings can make others see a darker side of us that they would rather not see. But, I still feel like to love ourselves, we have to stop worrying so much about what others think, and focus on what we know to be true about our authentic selves. -Meredith

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    1. Meredith...the way I see it is that some things are best shared only with people who have earned the right to hear it. People who have earned our trust and who also can embrace authenticity and vulnerability and be there with us. If someone is critical then they aren't one of those people. With regard to blogging...some of us can hear how people react to us and not be so affected by it and for others it makes us want to hide our deepest parts. We all have to find our own comfort with it and we are all different. But we all need a few special people with whom we can share everything...hopefully our spouse is one of those people. My 2 cents.

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  3. I love your statement that transparency elicits trust. Sometimes it is hard to be transparent with myself, and really accept and understand my core person. But when I do, I am able to trust myself to be vulnerable in relationships--knowing that my core will still be stable and likely stronger even if a vulnerable action hurts.

    Thanks for such a thought provoking post.

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  4. I think being able to be authentic/transparent, has something to do w/ not caring what other people think...not comparing yourself to others...being yourself w/out caring how it is perceived. I love a peep who can truly rock a "take it or leave it" attitude.

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