Authenticity is a key to connection with others and successful communication. What’s the number one enemy of authenticity? Falseness, i.e., outright lies, hiding truths and/or offering a false self to others. We all know that outright lies can ruin us, but we often fail to see how damaging hiding truths about ourselves or presenting a false face to others is to our connections and communications. We tend to hide our truths and present a burnished image of ourselves by locking our vulnerabilities, difficult issues, self-doubts in an iron-clad box and hiding it away.
Seems innocent enough, right? But you can’t have both authenticity and a box full of beasties hidden away from view – by you or others! When you try, what you end up doing is masking your authentic self, which prevents you from being truly connected to yourself and others.
When you attempt to keep your “vulnerables” boxed and buried, your authenticity gets trapped right along with them. If you release the lid, instead of pressing down constantly, several positive things happen:
- You free the energy consumed by managing your box of beasties;
- You gain strength through the process of facing your vulnerabilities;
- You rob them of their power over you; and…
- You find that you can speak with a more authentic, truer voice.
When you open your box of vulnerabilities, you not only begin the process of healing the wounds that caused them, you also begin to rekindle an intimate connection with yourself – you end a form of self-censorship that blocks your intimacy with your own self. Rather than avoiding that intimacy by struggling to keep a lid on your lock-box, you will free yourself to be more authentic by digging deep to uncover it and by letting your beasties out. Only by going deep, lifting the lid and facing your vulnerabilities do you really begin to know yourself from the inside out.
Having healthy, authentic connections with others takes being able to reveal your vulnerabilities to them, which requires an intimate connection with yourself, first. Effective communication is very much about the ease and authenticity of your connection with others and with the intimacy of your relationship with yourself.
Try this, pull out your lock-box and select one of your self-doubts or issues about which you feel most vulnerable. Then share it with a trusted friend, colleague, coach or mentor, and enjoy how liberating it feels. Notice how it creates connection with the person to whom you are talking. Notice how nice it feels to de-fang your beastie – to be truly authentic!
Food for thought—
“When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown-up we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability…to be alive is to be vulnerable.”