A few years ago, I was having lunch with a friend of mine. I asked him how he was doing and he said he was doing “great.” He went on to tell me a bunch of good things happening in his life.
He then asked me how I was doing. I hesitated at first but then I answered honestly. I was doing it a bit tough and so I told him about it.
The depth of our conversation changed immediately. He thanked me for my openness. Actually, near the end of our time together he admitted that he was going through some challenges too … but he never had the courage to tell anyone.
Authenticity is very important. It’s about being honest, real, and transparent … no masks, no hiding, no pretending.
This is not easy – after all, we live in a culture that is into “image projection” and “impression management”. We have a strong tendency to hide and to want to look better than we really are.
You know, we have this amazing family photo of our 3 kids on the wall at home. They’re smiling and they look great – such a happy family. Yet, the truth is, that was a really difficult day. We were paying big money for a professional photographer and the kids were pretty ratty … and I was in high-powered management mode, yelling ‘Smile!’ with great intensity. We sure didn’t frame any of the ‘before’ or ‘after’ shots. Just the split second of that perfect photo. We laugh about it now.
You know, the level of intimacy or closeness in any relationship is directly related to the level of openness in that relationship.
Of course, this requires wisdom and discernment. It can also be a little awkward. But hopefully, you have a safe, trustworthy friend who can ask you, “How are you doing … really?”
Be open, honest, and real. Authenticity is attractive and helps to build genuine and strong relationships.
This has been Soul Food with Mark Conner. See you next week!
You can watch a video of this episode on the Soul Food YouTube channel.