The theme of transparency has been up all week. Couples, colleagues, clients have wondered, why tell the truth? Isn’t it easier not to “hurt someone’s feelings” by not telling them how you really feel? Doesn’t saving the connection matter more than whatever the truth is? Others have spoken about what it is like to be on the other end of the truth-telling: the shock of hearing what is really going on, and then having the reaction that the other person was trying to avoid having to see by not being transparent.
I’m in the rather unusual and privileged position of watching the consequences of this dilemma over time. I see how people choose the short-term gain of making everything sound “just fine” when it’s not, not expecting the long-term consequences of loss of aliveness and being in the flow of what is real. Family members who prefer to expend great energy talking to everyone but the person they have an issue with; partners who would rather stifle their true selves–until they can’t stand it anymore; business associates who feel awkward speaking or showing their real feelings, so want to quit the business instead. Each making the choice to give up what is real for them so that they don’t have to feel the scary unpredictability of speaking what is true.
I’ve been in each of these positions. This week I just witnessed them. And watched the ongoing anguish from the outcome of the lack of transparency: projection, distortion, blame, defensiveness, confusion. And the ultimate consequence, the one that all of this withholding was supposed to keep from happening: disconnection.
Speaking the absolute truth at any given moment grounds us in what is. It allows those around us to choose the next step for themselves. Being willing to hear the truth without attacking, shaming, or blaming supports those around us to be fully transparent. This step into the unknown that transparency provides is the channel into evolving our consciousness, as we show our real selves to those around us. In the vulnerability of our transparency, we experience true power, the power of being with what is. Because once we can land squarely in what is, everything can change.