Why is it so hard for some of us to be genuine and honest?
For many years I’ve been trying to figure out and understand why is it so difficult for some of us to be genuine in our conversations, in business and personal relationships, and just daily interactions with others, whether it is our colleagues at work or people that we meet for the very first time? Why we try to create this imaginary person whom we are not vs. just being who we are and being open and honest with others? To this day I am struggling to figure this out. I know that one of the possible reasons may be our inner desire to be liked. Another possible reason is our desire to be accepted, to be a part of a “group.” I guess that’s why people create stories and personas that are far from reality, but sound and look good to other people. However, if this is the case, then sooner or later our real persona, our true character and personality, our genuine and real thoughts and opinions would make their way to the surface of our daily lives, and everyone would be able to see everything that we’ve been hiding deep inside of us for so long, and see us for who we truly are. Why go through such difficulties? Why make our own life and lives of others more complicated and confusing, when everything can be so simple and genuine if we just be ourselves, be honest with others, and say what we think, not what we think other people would respond more favorable to?
Sure, those who are genuine and honest, those who say what they think and what’s on their mind, while remaining professional, and without worrying of what other people may think or say about them, or disapprove their point of view or perspective, may not be popular or liked by those who are accustomed to act solely in the interest and options of others, but does it matter? I personally believe that it doesn’t, not for me at least. What I do believe is it is important to be honest with yourself and others, be genuine in our conversations and intentions, be real and transparent in everything that we say and/or do. I can always tell when someone says what they think that I want to hear. When someone is dishonest and ingenuine in their words and intentions, there simply cannot be any trust established between individuals or groups, which typically leads to an ineffective personal and professional relationships.
So, how can one be genuine and honest with others without having to constantly thinking about new stories to tell that never happened? In my opinion, it is quite simple, as there is no magical approach or method here. All one should do is just be himself or herself, be and present themselves to others as who they are, genuine, transparent in their intentions and words, and honest. Tell your story, good and bad, and not the story that you have never experienced in your own life. Those who dislike you for speaking your mind and speaking the truth, would continue to dislike you even if they make it look like you are the member of their ‘fan club.’ However, they will secretly respect you for building a reputation of someone who speaks the truth and not afraid to disagree, and share personal point of view, even if it goes against a popular point of view. Why would they respect you for that you may ask? Because very few are capable of doing so – being genuine and honest every day and in everything they do, not just some days.
Beautiful and unique world around us
World around us is such a beautiful and often almost magical reality in which we all live in. It may certainly be difficult to see and experience all this beauty when we are unable to or unwilling to explore world outside of our own backyard. However, even when we are unable to travel around the world for one reason or another, at a minimum, what we should be able to do is to spend time outdoors as much as we can, and go see natural beauty around us within reasonable travel distance that we are able to and willing to travel at any given time.
This is especially nice to get out when weather is beautiful outside. My most favorite time to explore outdoors and get one on one with nature is during early fall, when trees begin changing their leaf colors, temperature outside drops and stays nice and cool, when light rain sprinkles roads and everything around with freshness and light breeze. What could be a better time than this to get out and explore the beautiful nature around us?
If you are able to travel internationally and explore not only cities, villages, nature parks, trails, lakes, and forests in your own country, but also visiting other countries around the world, and their own unique and beautiful natural wonders, then why not to do so. I believe that the more we are able to see and learn from around the world around us, exploring it whenever we have an opportunity to do so, the more we begin to respect and appreciate everything that we have. Travel is also a great opportunity to learn about other places, states, countries, their history, and people. So, get out as often as you can and explore.
We must remember that there is a beautiful world outside of our homes, offices, and desks. Sure, we must work hard every day to provide for us and our loved ones, and creating a feature that we want to have one day, but we must not forget to reward ourselves and recharge our internal batteries, and relax while enjoying beautiful nature which surrounds us everywhere we go, we just need to stop and look around to see it.
Having to make a choice every day whether to live our life based on opinions of others or our own
Many of us tend to listen to what others are telling us what to do, what to say, how to feel, etc., which causes us to live in someone else’s reality, not our own. Instead of asking ourselves how we feel about a particular topic or situation, we are asking and waiting for someone else to tell us. Why? Why can’t we simply think for ourselves and follow what our own mind and heart are telling us?
I believe that we have conditioned our brains to focus on and follow that what is popular, that what others are talking about and following. It is hard to recondition our minds to begin thinking and making decisions on our own, because we have been following group and public opinion for so long. It does not mean that It is impossible to change and start placing our own interests, opinions, and values ahead of public interests and objectives.
It is important to remember that when things get tough in our life, we would typically have to only rely on ourselves to overcome temporary challenges in our life. Nobody is going to come offering help and support voluntary, because that would mean that they would actually have to do something., which would take them away from their own daily routine, goals, and needs. Therefore, we should not forget to think about things that are important to us, our family, and our future, and ensure that our actions and choices align with our goals and objectives first, before letting outside opinions influence us and our actions. When reading or watching news on tv or social media it is important to remember to ask ourselves – what do we think about topics or issues being discussed by others. Do we agree with thoughts and opinions of other people or do we disagree, because, we gave it some thought and did our own research helped us to form our personal opinion vs. going along with what we may be expected to think and feel? Not saying that anyone must go on social media to express their own points of view, actually quite the opposite, as long as we agree with our own decisions, thoughts, and feelings internally, that’s what is important. If our own opinions align with our actions and personal goals and objectives, that is what should lead to happy and fulfilling life.
Creating positive experiences and opportunities for personal growth during tough times
Many of us have found the time and circumstances in which we live in today to be extremely challenging, both in our professional and personal lives. On any given day, we are expected to wear multiple hats – we are teachers, employees, business owners, parents, husbands and wives, and in most cases, we wear all of these and other hats at the same time. Is it challenging and often hard to manage? You bet it is. Do we ask ourselves, almost daily, the following question: “Am I supposed to juggle all of these responsibilities at the same time, and do the best job I can no matter how hard things may get?” Of course, we do. I know I do. I want to be the best father and husband for my family, and I also want to be the most effective and valued contributor and a team player at work, and lastly, I want to do the best I can in supporting my children during virtual learning that they are expected to participate in. Listen, I know there are many people in this world who feel the same way as I do, and who strive every single day to be the best they can be, no matter how difficult it gets at times. Or, should I say, most of the time? However, despite all the challenges that many of us face today, we tend to ignore or not notice the opportunities and benefits that such challenging times bring into to our lives.
I am sure that many would agree with me when I say that we have been spending a whole lot more time at home with our family. Because of this, we have been speaking more with each other, we have played more board games than we had ever done before. Also, we have spent a lot more time outdoors, at the lakes, beeches, hiking trails, etc., which, in my opinion, is not only fun but also is good for our physical and mental wellbeing. Finally, many of us are spending more time exercising in the comfort of our home. This could be easily noticed by observing fitness equipment shelves in sporting goods stores, just look at the free weight’s racks, which are mostly empty at this time. So, why am I bringing up all these examples? Because, when we go through difficult times, we mostly pay attention to all the things that are bad or negative, that are happening around us or to us. However, we fail to notice and realize all the positive and good things that are happening in our world today and now. We tend to miss or ignore all the opportunities that we may have available to us, such as: spending more time and resources on our personal and professional development, growing and expanding our knowledge of various topics that we’ve always wanted to explore, but never had time to do so, and learning new skill(s), while at the same time enhancing our resume and skill set.
So, with all challenges and negative events that may be taking place around us, let’s not forget about all the great things and opportunities that are making their way into our lives at the same time. As Sun Tzu once said: “In the midst of chaos, there is also an opportunity.”
Don't let failure or temporary setback stop you from achieving your goals and expectations
No matter how challenging, how unpredicted, or how unfair life may seem at any given time, its important to remember that life goes on, and so as temporary challenges and uncertainties that we may face from time to time. Of course, we want for everything be simple, clear, and straightforward but, unfortunately, it’s far from the reality. Life has a unique way of teaching us lessons by presenting us with problems with an expectation of us working through problems that we face to find solutions and learn from each experience. That way, when we face similar problem in the future, we would know exactly what to do and how to deal with it in the most effective and efficient manner possible. So, That a plus, right? I personally think so. Sure, it does not seem immensely helpful or positive experience when we face a particular problem for a very first time and don’t know what to do. So, we do the best we can, and often fail the first, or even the second time. However, with each experience we learn something new and increase our chances of succeeding in the future.
Any challenging life’s lessons we live through is an experience to remember and learn from, it is not a reason to ever give up and stop trying again and again. By us giving up, all we are doing is surrendering to failure, and throwing away an opportunity to learn and obtain something useful for us. Either you win or failure wins. When we win, we learn and more on to something new and exciting. When failure wins, we receive absolutely nothing, just time and energy wasted. So, who cares if we make mistakes in our professional and personal lives, as long as we learn from such experiences? Nobody like or enjoys making mistakes, but it doesn’t mean that everyone just gives up after the very first failure and stops trying. If this were the case, we would not have so many successful business, corporations, and individuals who were not afraid to make mistakes and were not afraid to fail. Instead of giving up, many highly successful people used often very difficult situations, frustrations, and defeats as their fuel, as a driver to keep moving forward no matter what, proving to themselves and others that failure is nothing more than a life’s lesson.
So, don’t be afraid of making mistakes, don’t be afraid to fail, don’t let temporary setbacks to stop you from moving forward in life and going after your life’s goals, wants, and expectations. As Robert Frost once said: “In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.”