I continue to have conversations with individuals who ask me questions about how I might want to raise my son. I always have lots of ideas to share with them, but one in particular comes so strongly to me that I wanted to share with you. Honesty and trust.
You might find me out in left field, or strange, or just not at all mainstream, but I am not sure I want to raise my son by telling him lies. I wrote a blog about it last May — the idea that we basically lie to our kids about Santa, the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny (and I am sure a lot more). Yet, I continue to be baffled that we want to teach our kids to tell the truth and have honesty and integrity, yet we somehow are horrible examples of that. Of course we want our kids to have mystery and adventure in their lives, but there has to be a better way.
Yes, I will try to find a way to be graceful about it all so that he does not ruin it for other kids, but I want to be honest with him and not create this world where he later finds out that the stories we tell about these holidays are all made up. How then have I truly taught him about trust, honesty, and integrity? We can still celebrate the real meaning of these holidays (which I wonder how much of that is really lost on so many kids because they learn this fairy tale rather than the essence and significance of these holidays).
This conversation keeps coming up, and it has brought about some interesting dialogue. Maybe I am rogue or on the fringe, or maybe we are not asking the right questions. As parents we should be the examples. My dad’s answer was often: “Because I said so.” Which I hated because it meant he either did not have a better answer, he was too lazy to explain it, or he just wanted to have control over what I thought. As exhausting as it might be I want to be transparent with this little boy entering the world and give him honest answers that help him weave together and make sense of an already complex world.
I found a print over the weekend via the fabulous, Elizabeth Gilbert that sums up what I think about a lot of things. It says: “Own your Shit.” I could never frame it and put it on the wall, as it has a bird on it, and I am not a fan of birds. I like the print because it says what I constantly have running through my head. To me “Own your Shit” means bring yourself 100% to your job, relationship, family, wherever in your life. Know who is counting on you, know what is expected of you, and bring it.
I struggle a lot with others that do not take accountability for their actions. If you say you are going to do something do it. Follow through. Think about the individual on the receiving end of what you need to do. Does your not following through leave them hanging? Does it make them look bad? Does it tell them you do not care?
When you drop the ball, own it. Put yourself out there and communicate that you did not own your shit. Let others know. You own it when you are transparent about when you did not come through. It gives you more credibility. When you do not own your shit, you can lose all credibility.
Whatever story you are telling yourself for why your life is more important, or what you need to do is more important than honoring your commitments, it is bullshit. Do what is your responsibility to do. Do not expect someone else to do it for you. Do not take the easy way out. Own it. Know it. Be it.
I am as transparent as they come. I have mentioned before that a colleague calls me “TMI” instead of Tami. Well jokingly at least. If you know me you know that I have few filters and I have no problem telling you what is on my mind. It might mean I offend folks at times, but honestly at least you know where you stand with me. Right? Part of being transparent means you have to be open. The funny thing is that is not always the easiest thing for me.
Why? I am a planner. I like to think things through, have backup plans, and ensure that I will be prepared for whatever might occur. My childhood of disconnected utilities, no food on the table, and no money in the bank probably made me overzealous about ensuring that I would never have to worry about the lack of electricity, food on the table, and to make sure my family never lacked the basic necessities. Those moments were integral to my development and extremely poignant as to who and how I am today.
So when I found this Daily Om: “Softening and Expanding” it resonated with me. I think often about being open and how Chris and I talk about it extensively, but that does not make it easy to do in our day-to-day life. Whether you believe in God, a higher power, or the universe, I do believe that there is something at play in our daily life that directs our thoughts. Being open allows us to let go of what we really want, and gives us the space to ask, “How can I best bless? What do I need to do today to be present and listen for which conversations to take part in, and when should I speak up?” I truly believe there is something (whatever you may call it) guiding us for what we need to know. Here is the excerpt I wanted to share from the Daily Om:
“In order to get what we want in life, we have to be willing to receive it when it appears, and in order to do that we have to be open. Often we go through life with defenses we developed early on in order to protect ourselves. These defenses act as barriers, walls we needed at one time to feel safe, but that now serve to shut out desired influences, like intimacy or love. So an essential part of being receptive to what we want is to soften these barriers enough to let those things in when they show up.”
How do you react or allow yourself to be open? Are you receptive to the voices that tell us not to react, not to respond, or to jump for joy at an opportunity?
There have been a few situations in the past few weeks that have irked me. Like being put in an uncomfortable situation where I had to take a stand for myself, where the other individuals were only thinking about themselves (or so it feels). Ever happen to you? I am sure it happens to all of us from time to time.
How we handle it is what matters most.
Do we react, get mad, get frustrated? Maybe. And that is okay. Do we show our true colors to the individuals that tick us off? Well, maybe. It depends. Can we do it with grace or do we add to the mix, stir the pot, and make the situation even worse? To me, making the situation worse shows our weakness. Instead, we should clearly and succinctly share where we are coming from and be transparent, open and honest. What gets me the most though is when others involved watch as by-standers never do anything. In some ways they could be accomplices to the situation and, by not taking a stand for us, they are no better than those that have wronged us. They shake their head and say, “Oh, it is just the way they are. There is no changing them.” What if (go with me for a second on this) they took a stand for us and said, “You are putting him in an awkward situation. This is not the way to treat them.”
I think of it often at work. I think of those on my team as part of my fold. I stick up for them and always keep their best interests in mind. I would not throw them to the wolves and hope they can fend for themselves. Yes, they must have strong skin and resilience, but I will not stand by and watch if they are put in awkward situations. I will see what I can do to help. The same is true for family and friends. Maybe others are not thinking of the situation they are putting others in and maybe I over think the situation I put others in. Either way, we could all be more conscious of how we treat others. Are we asking too much of them? Are we thinking about their situation? Are we asking of their time in ways that are not fair? Other people’s time is precious… do you care about it?
“There is nothing more rare, nor more beautiful, than a woman being unapologetically herself; comfortable in her perfect imperfection. To me, that is the true essence of beauty.” ― Steve Maraboli
Thank you to catscaffeinecake for sharing this quote on your blog. It makes me smile, and it makes me relish being a woman, and having no qualms whatsoever for being myself. There was a time in my life when I was more introverted, occasionally quiet, and not so excited to talk about my life. Now I imagine Chris is often wondering when I am going to shut up. Although when I am quiet, I think it makes him squirm a bit. Why? Because he loves when I am unapologetically myself, loudness and all.
A colleague recently told me my nickname should be Tami without the “A”, so TMI (too much information). He is right. I probably do go overboard with sharing whatever is on my mind. I do not have a filter, and definitely know that there are some situations when I should keep my mouth shut. There are other situations when I feel so comfortable, that I do not censor myself and I am sure that those around me are sometimes shocked with what comes out of my mouth.
What if everyone was unapologetically themselves? Would we trust others more because we knew that they were being completely transparent with us? No games played, just each of us being true to ourselves and those around us. We would all be more comfortable with each other, not worried about our flaws or inadequacies, with little care to what others thought.
I think when others are unapologetically themselves it is attractive. What do you think?