In the self- improvement world you will often hear the words, "In order to be transparent." What the speaker means is he is going to be completely open with you. The word transparent is over used these days. I prefer open, vulnerable, real, exposed, naked. In the song, Moves Like Jagger, Adam Levine sings, “I put on a show. Now I make it.” but I always hear the lyrics as, “I put on a show. Now I’m naked.” Personally, I prefer my version for several reasons. 

1. I get to picture Adam Levine naked
2. I interpreted the words to mean that he had completely revealed himself, left himself exposed and was willing to be honest about who he is.

Most of the time people wear masks with each other. We have who we truly are inside and who we present to the world. To reveal ourselves completely leaves us feeling scared, anxious, and vulnerable. What if we are rejected? What if someone uses our weaknesses against us? We put on happy faces, well-adjusted attitudes, completely competent and capable demeanors.

The problem with presenting ourselves this way is that we isolate ourselves. We become so focused on our own presentation that we miss out on really learning about and knowing others. We end up feeling alone and misunderstood.

When someone tells us they love us we don’t believe them because they don’t really know us or we become resentful that they fall in love with this idealized version of us. Why don’t they love the real me? When they love this version of me, I am then stuck always having to be this made up, perfect version of myself. It becomes exhausting always putting on a show.

We end up disliking ourselves even more because we are hiding and because we’ve done such a good job we have fooled everyone and now they would never love the “real” us. We’d be exposed as a fraud if the truth came out.

The thing is many people find “perfect” people intimidating. If they seem to have it all together, they become a little bit unapproachable. Revealing some of our foibles allows the other person to be authentic too. They see that they can be themselves with you, that you will relate to them.

Our vulnerabilities and quirks are what make us unique. If we were all the same, how boring the world would be.

The most influential people in the world were all completely unique. Think Einstein, that crazy hair and honest willingness to fail and then try again are some of the reasons we appreciate him.  Malcolm X stood for civil rights in a very different way than Martin Luther King, Jr. Both of these men were true to their own personalities and they both had a profound impact on the world. Jesus, Buddha, Mother Theresa, Helen Keller- all were different yet willing to be genuine. They modeled being true to yourself, opening yourself up to vulnerability to really connect with others. To be true to yourself and others is one of our greatest challenges. Bolster up your courage, be real, and get ready to see your life change. Don’t just be transparent, get naked.

 

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