This was a statement made recently by a friend of mine. Hmm, I thought. Good for him. But is he really being more transparent? Does he even know what it means? Do I?
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines transparent as: free from pretense or deceit; easily seen through; readily understood; characterized by visibility or accessibility of information, especially concerning business practices.
We know that “transparency” is being open, honest and sincere in putting one’s self out there. But, in order to do that we need to feel comfortable in our own skin — and that’s difficult.
The other day, I told a friend that I’m not sure if I’ll ever be totally transparent. I like to keep some of my thoughts, desires and dreams to myself. And, what’s wrong with that? Can’t I keep some things to myself? (the answer, of course, is yes)
Let’s just say it this way – being transparent is a goal. And it’s a goal because transparency creates a vehicle from which others see us as being congruent and in alignment with who we think and say we are, and who we really are. The reverse is also true: when we lack transparency (or when people don’t trust us), people relate to us at an arm’s length, view us suspiciously, and are constantly watching our every move. When in those situations, we choose not to be transparent because we don’t feel safe, we feel judged and not credible.
But, if transparency is the hot thing, why are we all so reluctant or resistant to behave transparently at work, at home and in love?
Look at our kids – they were totally transparent at first:
“I’m in LOVE with this car.”
“I NEED that candy NOW.”
“I’m the SMARTEST kid in the WHOLE class.”
They were not afraid to share their feelings and thoughts. But at some point, that changed and they became fearful of sharing all their deep thoughts and fears. Why? Because we somehow convinced them that those things were dumb, wrong or even punished them for those inner feelings (of course, not intentionally – but we’re not perfect parents).
Then, they became (young) adults and anything but transparent.
One of the advantages of getting old(er) is that we become more self-aware. More emotionally mature (I hope!). We’re not afraid to let our voice be heard. We’ve learned to learn from rejection.
There are going to be times when we choose not to divulge our most intimate struggles in life. And, that’s not us being fake, it’s us being careful (it’s possible to get burned being too transparent!). But, when we find those people we can be vulnerable with – those that will guard our feelings as their own – we’ve got to hang on to them. They will help us find the ease and beauty (and safety) in transparency! Count me in!
Have a great day!