My husband just gave me the best Valentine’s gift. He’s given me this gift in parts basically always, but the way he just described me, the clarity and honesty, is a gift that held up a mirror that cleared up so much for me.
He called me 100% authentic 100% of the time.
What a sweetheart. Beats chocolates any day.
He also cautioned me about how people interpret that. For example, I genuinely like people in general and am mostly open to what people have to offer. Consequently, I often come off interested in others. And I’m generally pretty nice. Indeed, I’m almost always pretty interested and pretty nice.
When I disagree with things, I say it. So, when I’m authentically in the negative with someone, they tend to go and determine that my positive input is inauthentic. But it’s not. And that’s confusing for people.
I developed this sortof raw authenticity because I sucked at niceties. And I watch people say one thing “Oh, sure, we’d be happy to help!” and then complain about it, and I literally can’t see any good in that way of being. I can’t see any good in sitting there hoping someone can read my mind, either. I spent a good portion of my earlier life wishing someone would read my mind and deliver me from [something]. No one ever did. So I changed my strategy. Seemed logical.
I also suck at lies. In fact, even withholding information. For example, I’ll tell Tucker: hey, let’s not tell the kids x, y or z. And literally, that invokes me to make x, y or z the very first thing I say when I see them. As you can imagine, Christmas has very few surprises. And if there is a big surprise, they’ll often get to open it the day it arrives (I’ve gotten around this by saying, “Christmas is more of a season than a day” – same with birthdays) all because I’ve developed this inability to hold things back.
Most of the problems I see in the world and on TV can boil down to people not communicating. Not saying this because you want people to think that. So, while my way of being may be extreme, it is counterbalancing a culture of wanting one thing and saying another for whatever imagined reason.
My authenticity may be misinterpreted, and even full-on disliked. I’m OK with that. It saves me incredible amounts of time. And by no means do i mean to imply my authenticity is socially appropriate. It would be infinitely easier if I could pretend I didn’t care about stuff I care about in order to have a conversation with a very fine person who happens to believe in things I would die on the stake to protest. Most people can do that. I cannot.
I maybe gush a little when I’m grooving with people, mostly because I’m so grateful. It’s relatively rare for me to groove with people because most interaction likes to hang at the surface. I don’t. And while I pull my punches when I voice my disagreement, I still voice it. I’ve trained myself to voice it at the first signs of trouble because, why not? why wait? you may say, “because things often work themselves out” but I haven’t actually ever experienced that. I used to wait, and wait, and wait, and by the time I had to call out I was so freaking angry I would be enraged. And I had a very powerful rage mentor in my father, so this is something I wanted to de-power not empower. And so I developed an early-warning system and a policy of over-communicating. And while I am by no means a poster child for perfect humans, I have more peace of mind than the average bear, and more harmony in my close relationships than I ever imagined possible. So it works for me.
So when Tucker called me 100% authentic 100% of the time, it wasn’t saying I am wonderful or terrible. I took it as a gift, indeed a great one, because I felt seen and acknowledged. Not even appreciated: I am not sure he appreciates the fact that I have very little filter. But, he is an excellent observer, and he can see me for who I am, and even caution me about how it might be received, without judgment. That’s why he’s my valentine…