I am grateful for those who know me. Though no two of my friends are the same, they all possess some similarities. Each one of them enriches my character, respects who I am, and appreciates my contribution to their lives. In short, we know and appreciate each other.
I can depend on my friends and they in turn depend on me. Recently, one of my colleagues from work voiced one of her expectations. “I count on you to be honest with me.”
I like it when others rely on me for being candid, forthright and frank. Her words echo a similar message from other sidekicks in my life. They know I am honest and this honesty is valuable to our relationship.
But, then there are those who know that I need them to keep me genuine, authentic and undisguised. These people are paramount in nourishing my true self. One is a fellow writer who consistently holds my toes to the fire, so to speak. She relentlessly and at the same time, gently persuades me to keep my writing connected with my emotions. She is savvy when I disconnect myself from my feelings and simply write words. Then she extracts my emotions with little statements such as, “I am sure you felt something here. What was it?”
Though I am at times unconscious when I distance myself from my emotions, my disconnect is glaringly obvious to my writer friend. She does not laugh, poke fun or insert any sarcasm. She simply, but pointedly notices and then uses her magic words to extract what needs extracting.
A second friend keeps me authentic when in front of an audience. Since joining a speech club, I’ve given several speeches. The time limit, 5-7 minutes per speech, causes me to speed through my orations. Her critiques, though, encourage me to slow down and connect my heart to my words.
I’ve entered a speech contest and in doing so, I will send off a video of my contest speech to a coach. Standing in front of a camera is terribly intimidating and my topic, my dad’s suicide, is close to my heart. The first time I ran through my speech while my friend ran the camera, I stumbled over most of the words. The second time was better, but I kept a great distance between myself and my emotions. Finally, my friend gave me forthright, yet soothing talking to and after I shed a few tears, the third time through I was fully connected.
Why bother letting others know you? Although we may be able to fool some people some of the time there are others who are not fooled at all. These are the ones who see beyond our veneer and whose presence enriches, expands and contributes to our authentic selves.