“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” -Aristotle
Life makes more and more sense the longer I live. I’m confident you agree but if not, please share your experience!
Recently I did something that felt new to me. Although I don’t keep many secrets today that hasn’t always been true for me. I engaged in a conversation-turned-podcast-episode with a friend of mine. This felt new to me because although I don’t have many secrets today, this conversation detailed some areas of my life that I’ve never just shared openly for anyone and everyone to listen to, on demand, however often they desire. (Episode 050.Sean of the 2DDpodcast if you’re interested.)
Over the years my appreciation for authenticity and transparency has grown exponentially, especially as I realize and experience the power of honoring such principles in my own life.
I think it’s important to clarify the distinction between authentic and “right,” and transparent vs. “acceptable” or “the norm.” Unfortunately, I think some mistake authentic and transparent living as a call to be right, fair, honest and consistent in your actions and decisions. Of course, those are good and important characteristics, but living authentically is a principle that is applicable to all walks of life – brilliant scientists and bank robbers alike. Diplomatic presidents and loose cannons.
Authentic and transparent living isn’t about being good, or right, or wise or fair or perfect. Instead, authentic living is a source of power that can help us wholeheartedly pursue what may be right, good, wise, fair and so on. Authentic living is accepting you for you and every little detail that paints the big picture you. Authenticity is the opposite of ‘living up to the Jones’;’ it calls for you to be you no matter what that may look like or feel like to others. Transparency calls for us to be open and forthright about who we are, what makes us tick, what’s important to us and what we want or hope for out of this life. Transparency can be neither right nor wrong, it just simply is. Whether one likes what they see or not doesn’t matter. Simply seeing what is, is transparency. Right now, I’m sitting on a Delta Airlines flight. This is by far my least favorite airline and least favorite company, period. Hands down. This is me being transparent. Some may agree with me, most probably don’t. However, it doesn’t matter. I’m neither right nor wrong, I’m just exposing you to my opinion, my perspective, formed from my own experiences.
Both authenticity and transparency demands one to live openly; to allow others to see you at your core and begin (if they choose) to understand all the nuances that make you who you are. Both principles are the beginning to living a fuller, more meaningful life. Or, as Brene Brown calls it, these principles help facilitate “wholehearted living.”
Authentic and transparent living starts with you. You have to allow yourself to accept the person you are today, like yourself or not. You must also be willing to look at what is, right now. Don’t worry about what isn’t or what you wish was. First, acknowledge ground zero. From here, go wherever you want. If YOU don’t start with accepting your current authentic and real (transparent) self, you’ll never realize your full potential, you’ll never be the best version of yourself and you’ll never have the support network (tribe) you need to grow, improve and thrive. Never. Instead, you’ll bury yourself in regret and resentment as you constantly compare yourself to the Jones’s and preoccupy yourself with the life you wish you had.
You starts with you. Come to terms with who you are right now and move forward from there. Nothing in life is about perfection. Instead, everything is about progress. You’ll never progress though if you hide from yourself and never pay attention to your own mirror.
I wish I would have understood this 11, 10 and 8 years ago. However, I’m thankful for the process and the progress.
If you’re going to Get Shit Done, start here.
I can almost hear it now from some of my church friends, “Oh no, Sean has gone New Age.” There is nothing new about this, I’m just not sprinkling it with scripture-glitter. I appreciate this about Fred Rogers; the ordained minister who combined love and the work of ministry together, on public television, without once preaching or thumping.
“I don’t think anyone can grow unless he really is accepted exactly as he is.” Fred Rogers