Here She Goes Again

Authenticity, Part II
The other day at church a friend of mine came up to me and put her arm around me and told me that she really liked me. It made my day. But I was a little surprised at myself. I never took myself for one of those people who needed a hug or smile to recall my self-worth. I was sure I had enough security without the reassurance of others. But let’s face it, I am one of those people. I like to know, and especially to hear that someone likes me. Is that such a bad thing though? The more I think about it the more I realize how human that is. How real it is. So now I want to hug everyone and quit pretending that I don’t need their attention. I want to be sincere. I want to be totally genuine and treat people the way my conscience tells me to treat them.

Going back to my last post about authenticity. I’ve broken it down into two thoughts.
1. Making judgement
2. Everything thereafter

So my first task is to train myself to make careful and cautious judgements. Sometimes judgements are necessary. A mother looking for adoptive parents for her unborn child has to make some very important judgements, with what might seem like grossly inadequte time or information. But some judgements are hurtful and result in great loss. My new catch-phrase for judging is a line from a hymn. “In the quiet heart is hidden sorrow that the eye can’t see.” I’ve learned this lesson many times and yet still I criticize.

My next task is the “thereafter”. In my relationships with people I want to try to break down the selfish barriers that protect me from vulnerability and prevent me from realness. This is a particular weakness for me. I am so afraid of rejection that I avoid making invitations. I am so worried about being annoying that I don’t make a phone call just to talk. I want to protect someone’s feelings so I am deceptive or dishonest. (I know that sometimes that might be a good thing, but I think I do it to a fault.) I want to “relate” to my co-workers so I join in the gossip-fest. I know truth but fear keeps me from sharing it. Those are my barriers to sincerity. In one of my favorite books “Bonds That Make Us Free” C. Terry Warner sums up what I am trying to say.

“What does it take to achieve emotional intimacy? The fundamental ingredient is an awakening of each individual to others and a willing effort to respond without any personal agenda in exactly the way that seems most right, considerate, and helpful.”

I am so weary of answering questions based on all the wrong things. “What does she want me to say?” “What will make her like me?” “What will impress him?” “What would so-and-so say?” What a burden it is to muddle through all the self-agendas to get to an answer or reponse. It’s a wonder I even want to talk to people. All of my artificial dialogue is weighing me down.
In my good moments when I answer according to what I feel, what my conscience says is good, rather than what I think is the “right” answer I feel completely liberated. It feels honest and real. I usually only have the strength to be my best self when my self-confidence is strong and my heart is full of charity.

So to follow-up from my last post. I believe I can treat people the same. I can treat all people with open-mindedness and kindness, and if they feel my sincerity they might easily forgive any poor assumptions.

It seems fitting to end this pontification with another work experience. Yesterday my 83-year old patient asked me if I had had a hug yet that day. Not two seconds after I answered “No” she wrapped me in the kindest embrace. So real. So awesome. I hope it doesn’t take me 83 years to get there.

11 thoughts on “Here She Goes Again

  1. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: I like you! You don’t know how happy it makes me to be able to call you my friend…I wanted that for a long time, just ask Coy. Thank goodness for instant messenger, huh?

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  2. ok that was awesome and can I just say that I am in your complete same boat. I wish that I could write like you, but that was my exact feelings. I honestly think most women are like that. I put up barriers and the min I take them down I get hurt, so I keep them up and gain nothing, it is when, and only when, we take our barriers down that we can enjoy the sweetest friendships, I just have to keep in mind that their is opposition in everything, and that includes friendships and so “we have to have the bitter to taste the sweet”. So my walls are slowly crashing down!

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  3. Man, Jo!!! You leave us in the dust, that was so good to read! I love your thought provoking posts, I think so many of us (me) do exactly the things you talked about… a total inner debate with each conversation, a change with each new person. It’s nice to hear someone else is as worn out as I am 🙂

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  4. I am one of those people too- I mean, who doesn’t like to hear when someone likes you?I have often let my shyness and self doubt get in the way of talking to an aquaintance at church who looked sad. My physical imperfections keep me from feeling like I can speak up and when I do, I too, feel like I am answering questions or making comments based on the wrong things. I have always desired the feeling of being accepted and loved and yet, I don’t feel like just being “me” will get me that.It’s self defeating.Thanks for the multifaceted thoughts Authenticity II has instilled. It has given me much contemplation as to who I am and who I pretend to be.

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  5. If I saw you, I’d give you a hug. They do just make your day. But since I can’t, here’s a cyber (((HUG))) for you!Thanks for stopping by my blog. It’s great to see you and your cute family. I am still trying to get over the fact that you aren’t 12 years old anymore. Have a great week!

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  6. If only I could express myself like you! Jo, you are amazing with your words. I have felt so much like all that you have written in your blog. I don’t see you as one that has any of these weaknesses that you are confessing to. You are amazing and I am so glad that I have the opportunity to spend time with you and learn so much from you!

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