Dare To Show Your True Self

For as long as I can remember, my mom told me to always be true to yourself and stand your ground, no matter what. It is a precept that I hold dear to this day. I’m always myself, possibly to a fault. It’s definitely given me some grief in my childhood and teens from others, who prefer the safe choice of being like the rest and within their cliques.

I don’t portray myself as something that I’m not, when in a social situation. I’m polite and cordial on first impression, of course, but ask me my opinion, on any given subject, and I immediately let my 2-cent engine rip. I can’t help it. I like being myself. It’s too much work to try to be something more pleasing. Why bother? Reveal yourself, warts and all. It’s so liberating and makes you a more interesting person.

One of the things I love about my wife, Claudia, is that she doesn’t agree with me on everything and isn’t afraid to let me know it. We debate on lots of things, from mundane subjects like computers (she’s a Mac loyalist whereas I don’t mind Windows too much and see the appeal of Linux) to more serious matters like constructive criticism on my character flaws. Recently she told me that I’m too brash and mean  and I complain more than I should. I don’t always agree with her (are you surprised?), but I love her for her candor.

When I speak to anyone, I do so with all my cards revealed. I’m an open book. Thusly, I expect the same. When I criticize you or give you an opinion, I do so with open arms. I own up to my stance and if you rebut it and prove me wrong, I admit that I’m wrong and concede your point. If you wish to share your opinions and critique by all means do it. Don’t sugar coat it, or try to soften the blow. Don’t try to use southern hospitality on me like, “Not for nothing…” and then say your point so that when I try to respond you look shocked and be all, “But I said not for nothing”.  By all means, critique me all you want. Don’t add, “Just busting your chops” so I can’t respond. Because believe me if I disagree with your assessment I’ll come loaded for bear. And after I respond, don’t dismiss my comments with a little quip. Stop deflecting and engage. That  makes for good discourse and an exchange of ideas.

Stop playing it safe all the time. Let down your masks once in a while. If you feel that you can’t stop your compulsion to please everybody or can’t cede your flawless all-likeable-persona, at least heed me one caveat: Be completely honest with me with your opinions or criticism, or don’t say anything to me at all. I don’t have time to read between the lines. I like things up in my face and out in the open.

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6 thoughts on “Dare To Show Your True Self

  1. I totally agree… I try as best I can to be true to myself. If you’re not, then who are you? I sometimes feel people are afraid to show who they really are because they see themselves as less than what they portray. They don’t like who they are and create a façade. That’s why one of my favorite sayings is:

    “I cannot give you the formula for success, but I can give you the formula for failure: which is: Try to please everybody.” by Herbert B. Swope.

    I feel that if you want to please everyone, then you’re not being honest with yourself. There’s no way you can agree with everyone in the world. All you can do is be true to yourself and be honest with those around you. If you’re not, then either you have no true personality or if you do, that’s not what you’re portraying. When you lie about who you are, you’re only lying to yourself.

    Another saying I like that kind of goes with this is actually in Spanish. I wonder if there’s a similar one in English. Here it goes in any case:

    “No soy monedita de oro para caerle bien a todos” which can loosely mean “I’m not made of money, so I can’t please everyone.”

  2. The most important thing about authenticity and showing your warts is remembering that you can’t please everyone, which you nailed, bro! I do soften up my tone and bite my tongue a bit when in polite company but, yes, if you ask me to “be myself” – be ready!

    It’s interesting because there’s been a recent string of articles about bloggers and the hypocrisy of the authenticity movement. As much as new media and the blogosphere has changed the business world, there are still people clinging to archaic thoughts. Everything has to be PC and “classy” to them. It really makes you think…

    I believe there’s a happy medium. You can be true to yourself while not coming off TOO strong. I’ve encountered people that LOVE to share their opinions and discourse on anything, even when not asked. These very people claim they are “open-minded” and willing to be proven wrong, yet they don’t let you get a word in edge-wise.. That’s where authenticity is made into something ugly.

    With that, I have a quote that Dino Dogan shared with me:

    “I used to have opinions, then I started doing shit.”

    Some folks only like to get into debates because they are cursed by knowledge and don’t know how to do something productive with it. I don’t mean friendly discussion or constructive criticism.. I’m talking more about the trolls, naysayers, and negative nellies. Anywho, I probably butchered his quote but you get the gist of it!

    Oh, and the saying more directly translates to, “I am not a gold coin so I can’t please everyone.” It definitely loses something in translation. Haha

    • I do agree with you about those who share their opinion when not warranted. There are a lot of Cliff Clavins on this world.

      And debates can be fun but you have to pick your battles.

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