Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Authenticity in Relationships

That sounds so deep :). Actually this is something I've been struggling with for a long time and it seems to have come to a head recently.

One thing that is pretty consistent with me is that I have a STRONG... very strong personality. I'm loud, I'm opinionated, and I want everyone else to know it. It's not that I really want to bother other people, but sometimes, I feel this urge to tell everyone what I am thinking. I don't know what the purpose is, but if I feel strongly about something - um, and I do, about everything - I want people to know it. Because of that, I've gotten in a lot of arguments throughout the years. And I can get very emotional becuase if someone attacks the opinion I have, I think they're attacking me as a person.

crazy right? Yes, I know.

And I hate having that conflict, so over the years, I have learned to be a little quieter about my opinions, a little less insistent that you believe what I believe. Part of that is because I can feel very strongly about one thing, experience something in life that changes that point of view, and then feel very strongly about the very opposite of what it was that I felt before... A lot, yes I'm aware. So I'm realizing that life isn't always black and white... sometimes, there is a grey area and what works for some, may not work for others. And I'm learning (not learned but still in the process of learning) to be quiet and allow people to believe/feel what they want. It's hard, but sometimes, I need to remember, why is it that I think I know everything and I know the answer? Why do I feel like I need to solve the world's problems? I mean, if everyone just listened to me, the world would be right, right?

Another fault of mine is that I am a people pleaser. It seems to be the opposite of what I just said, and yes, it is. But, I want everyone to like me. Even when I get mad at someone on the highway, if they look at me, then I feel bad because I don't want to hurt their feelings. This is different from what I used to be, but as I've gotten older, the idea of hurting someone's feelings really bothers me. And how this translates into the topic is that many times, I don't say anything even if I know whatever is happening isn't right, just because I don't want to rock the boat.

So my question is: Where do you find the balance of being too nice and too mean? Not being mean, but where do you find the balance between completely letting go of all of your beliefs just to be accomodating verses being too stuck in your own way? How do I know that I'm saying too much or not saying enough? This is especially difficult in leadership or group settings where everyone is focused on a common goal, but there are differences on how one gets there.

What I've noticed about myself lately is that I'm busy creating a version of me that I think you will like. I try to find something that we have in common and then shape my thoughts and actions into what I think fits the mold of what we have in common. That may not make any sense, but it's a form of manipulation and self defense. I do that so that I'm not making myself vulnerable. It's a way to insure that I'm always liked because if everyone likes me, then that makes me good.

So, how do I find my authentic self and then, allow that person to be present in every moment? Even if that means that someone doesn't like me? I'm assuming (just because people have told me) that as one matures, one understands how to have that balance. I hope it comes sooner rather than later because I'm kind of tired of all the work it takes.


  1. It sounds like wanting everyone to like you is a very selfish thing. I would recommend exploring that for a bit. Are you being selfish?

    Your questions about finding a balance or knowing if you're saying too much are displaced. the bottom line is that you need to be honest and stand up for what is right. the only time you would back off is if you were going to hurt someone. Not offend them. Being honest does offend people and that is good. but hurting someone is where you would draw the line.

    but if you see someone doing something wrong, especially toward another person, then I would say it is your duty to stand up for what is right and be honest about the situation. anything else is selfishness and cowardice.

  2. to clarify my earlier comment. It is ok to offend people with the truth. we all need to be offended from time to time. it is not ok to hurt them with the truth.

    offending - "your behavior is wrong and here is why"
    hurting - "you grew up in SC? you're a redneck piece of crap"

    bad analogy, but hope it makes sense.