I’ve been thinking a lot for the past few years about the idea of being more genuine in all areas of my life.
I’ve heard people talk about masks that we all wear. That we have masks for all areas of our lives and take them off at home – or sometimes not even at home. I’ve heard that there’s a difference between our so-called social self and our professional self.
This has never sat right with me. When I hear about those kinds of things, my bullshit meter starts ringing. This way of looking human nature is what feels so slimy to me about traditional marketing, branding, messaging, and quite honestly some relationships.
I no longer feel comfortable with people that behave one way in my presence and then behave differently somewhere else. And admittedly, I certainly have in the past betrayed my integrity to go along and keep peace.
You probably know what I’m talking about. When you’re with someone and you can tell they are behind a facade. Like they are physically present, but you can’t really find them. You can feel when you’re not getting someone’s true self.
More and more over the years I see how much I value genuineness – this feeling that someone’s true Self is really present.
So I strive (not always succeeding!) to be genuine whether I’m talking to a potential client, a friend, or my husband at home. I’m still learning.
What does this mean? This means being who I am and not hiding. It means not pretending to feel something I don’t feel. It means being congruent with my internal feelings and my outward behavior. Bottom line: It’s not lying just to go along.
Now here’s an important piece to this. Being genuine does not mean saying everything I think. It does not mean correcting people all the time when I disagree with them.
It definitely does not mean saying whatever I want to whomever and then not caring what they think or how they feel. That’s just being an asshole.
If you’re an Enneagram fan, my personality tends to sit comfortably at Type 8, and I’m aware that my communication style can sometimes come off harsh or abrasive. It can have an impact on the recipient that I don’t intend. Being genuine for me requires self-reflection, self-awareness, constant work on myself and my issues.
None of this is easy. I fail miserably sometimes. I’ve agreed to do things even though I didn’t really want to do them. (I keep getting better at saying no) And on the other side of that, I’ve woken up more than morning after spending time with friends asking myself if I was too harsh or too overbearing. Was I honest in a way that could have been hurtful?
My ongoing intention is to be genuine with a compassionate awareness of how I am in relationship to others.
I’m interested in knowing where in life you haven’t been genuine or have noticed someone else not being genuine. How did that feel?
So if we meet, please don’t show me your social or professional self or any self that has to be named. Show me You. That You without the labels or masks, and I’ll do the same.