So much of what I’m hearing lately in my job as a spiritual healer is the need for transparency. Transparency is crucial and is the best way forward. It takes courage sometimes, and trust when trust is hard to come by, but the results are better in the end. The alternative festers, afflicts, separates, and disintegrates.
The kind of things I’m hearing:
- people acting like everything is fine when it is not
- people going through a divorce and not telling their workplaces
- people letting others think they believe what they don’t
- people sharing information with the instructions not to tell anyone
- people without a license acting like they have one
- people who are in over their head but don’t tell the boss
- people pretending to have a happy marriage
- people overly stressed but pretending it is okay
- people not speaking up when the demands are too high
- people spending big money without telling their partner
- people refusing to seek help because of what people might think
- people who are different but try to blend in and not stick out
- people pretending to be healthy when they are not
- people keeping their health concerns from those closest to them
- people who fabricate deception to deflect from their problems
- people who are too proud to get help so hide their difficulties
- people who are outright lying and manipulative to get what they want
- people who deflect personal responsibility by blaming others
- people who seem to have it all together but are crumbling inside
- people who don’t agree but do not speak up
- people using secrecy for a myriad of other detrimental reasons
Here are a couple quotes from Mary Baker Eddy that I find helpful in these situations:
“Honesty is spiritual power. Dishonesty is human weakness, which forfeits divine help.” (SH 453)
“Truth is an alterative in the entire system, and can make it ‘every whit whole.’” (SH 371)
Why do we fear honesty and truth so much? My role, over and over again, has been to help people through these tangled webs they weave. My heart goes out to all who think they need dissimulation to make their life tenable.
One of the things I do on this blog is to model transparency. That’s why I wrote that Covid post, even though it wasn’t pretty. The inspiring part of that post is I don’t pretend to be what I’m not, and this kind of ruthless transparency is a significant factor in why I’m thriving in general. Authenticity serves me way better than any pretense could. I would have you, too, experience the blessed freedom of rampant, transparent authenticity.
In late December, I had a conversation with someone who felt uncomfortable with the sending out of Christmas letters. They said they would never do it, since they felt a need to modulate and customize separate communication to each individual, in order to best regulate each person’s view of them to be most favorable. In response, I launched into a sermonette on authenticity, for when you are genuine, it is not your responsibility how any one else receives you. That’s their business. If they don’t like what you stand for, it’s their prerogative. You do you. It can be as simple as that.
It is not always appropriate to “tell it all” without filters, but feeling like you can’t when you should be able to, is another thing entirely. You know something is amiss when you feel a need to disguise yourself or to impersonate something unaligned with your experience.
I have found that others generally really appreciate transparency, and it fosters an atmosphere where others feel more free to be themselves. Work, family, or church cultures where people are expected to conform to some external code first, escalate pretty quickly into toxic situations. These cultures need to be challenged and changed, and humanized with some tender compassion, for everyone’s benefit. The process of doing so may be bumpy, but I guarantee that it will be transformative.
For example, LGBQT people started “coming out” in a culture that would have preferred that they suppress it. But they “came out” anyway, for how else could anything change? I’m so proud of those early intrepid ones for doing that; it must have been excruciatingly onerous pushing against that much stigma. But by doing it, gradually our culture is shifting and becoming more inclusive and honest.
Cultures are created, so lets each be co-creators of our work, family, and church cultures by bringing unabashedly what is true for us to the table, even if it is uncomfortable for a while.
Of course, there are a few exceptions to routine transparency. I know someone fleeing from an abusive relationship, who doesn’t want the abuser to know where she lives now. That is completely legitimate. All sorts of professionals like myself have to keep what we know about our clients in the strictest of confidence. That is as it should be. Another exception would be national security.
However in general, the healthy churches, healthy relationships, and healthy work situations, are places where transparency and authenticity are honored and prized as a precious, essential, scared trust. If you find you can’t be transparent, then there is something deep down in those cultures, which needs to be changed. And the only way those changes occur is by brave people stepping up and being transparently authentic anyway.
Let your truth be known. Let people know who you are and what you stand for. People can know what you are going through. Be honest with your co-workers, your spouses, your families, and in your churches. Messy but true is always better than tidy but fake. Embracing this reality, allows divine Love to flood in.
I always think of this bit from the Sermon on the Mount:
“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14–16 KJV)
We think we are safer under that proverbial bushel, and that we’ll feel too exposed on that candlestick. However, it will be the bushel that suffocates your light for lack of air, while on the candlestick, the candle dances for joy in all that delicious oxygen.
Realize that cowering in prevarication, or feigning one thing while being another, stifles you and can dangerously snuff you out, just like that bushel. The straightforward fact is we are more vulnerable when we hide, than when we risk exposing our sincere selves. Reside in the elevated confidence and resolute integrity of the candlestick, instead of obscuring, suppressing, or concealing yourself, or what is true. You’ll find that this simple act lights up all who are there with you, and the outcome will be much better for everyone.
Thank you Polly, wise advice indeed!
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