There’s a kind of repulsion I feel when I hear someone talking about being authentic. It seems to invite a kind of overly sincere and wide-eyed “you-can-trust-what-I’m-saying because I’m so real” response. Maybe that’s just my reaction for having lived through the “truth decade” of the 70s, which wasn’t really all that much truthiness, when all is said and done.
But I’ve been busted on not really being accessible, or authentic, when I’m clever or funny in a response to a question someone has. When someone asks a question, their attention is on the person they’re asking because they really want to know what the person has to say. Having someone’s attention on you is a sort of blessing. It’s an open invitation to be yourself and to share what you have without putting distance between the two of you.
Our putting distance between us and the other person may happen for a number of reasons, and if you wanted to you might analyze it down to an event that happened when you were young,or not…(yawn). We all have our own justifications for that happening; in my case sometimes I’m just so amused by the wacky stuff that comes out of my (occasionally inventive) comic book brain that I sometimes ignore what the other person wants.
Well guess what? That’s being kind of selfish and, really, unkind to the guy/gal asking the question or wanting to share. However, under important circumstances, for example, when wearing my Triathlon Coach Hat, I sincerely listen to whomever I’m coaching, and they get immediate, personal, and relevant answers. When I’m at my Corporate Job working on a project with other people there are no deflective comedy routines coming out of my mouth.
It’s only when I don’t know people that well that I’ve just met that I do the occasional verbal clown dance. Dunno,…maybe I just want to see them laugh; maybe I’m having a good time and want them to have a good time, too. Maybe I’m self-conscious at those times. But now I’m working on being grateful for the attention THEY’RE GIVING ME! The gift of attention is a reminder of who we are and shouldn’t be wasted.