Get real with yourself: 5 ways to live more authentically
A friend asks you a question and you cringe. If you give your honest answer, you’ll probably be labeled rude, so you lie to spare her feelings and avoid conflict. Lying to spare someone’s feelings indicates poor communication rather than tact. Speaking truth liberates others and yourself. When you tell half-truths or lie, you betray yourself.
Here are five ways to stop being fake and start being you.
1. Tell the truth when it hurts
If a friend asks you, “Do you like my haircut?” and the answer is no, say no and then be specific. Say something such as, “I liked it better when your bangs were like this,” or, ” I think the last cut you had framed your face better.” With helpful feedback they can, hopefully, get a better haircut next time. That’s true friendship.
2. Don’t laugh if it’s not funny.
Exchange that half-hearted, awkward, obligatory laugh with a statement such as, “I see how that could be funny, but for some reason it just didn’t work for me.” If that’s unnatural for you, simply progress the conversation by telling a similar joke or story.
3. Tell kids the truth
Perceptive little children need to hear honesty from you yesterday! Children are outstanding at observing and remembering things you would prefer they didn’t. But denying those events when asked about them is deceptive and will be used against you by your child in the future. Be an example of open and honest communication, and your child will likely follow your lead.
4. Stop asking, “How are you?” if you don’t mean it
“How are you?” has become the phrase to say in passing because it is commonly understood that we don’t expect an actual answer. The sentiment comes from a good place, usually. But below are more genuine ways to quickly acknowledge someone.
“Good to see you!”
“Did you get a haircut?”
“It’s a hot day, isn’t it?”
“I’m freezing, how about you?”
Also, nonverbally you can do any of the following.
Make a funny face.
Puff your cheeks in frustration.
Give a quick hug.
Give a high-five.
Give a fist bump.
These methods are just as quick as, “How are you?” and create opportunity for more sincere interaction.
5. Allow your feelings and actions to align
We oppress ourselves by suppressing our emotions and thoughts. We suppress emotions for different reasons. One of which is because we feel guilty about how we feel. Don’t do that to yourself. There are assertive ways to express a recurring uncomfortable emotion or thought process. The ways to do it vary per situation, but below is a helpful example.