Being Genuine – Part Two

by Vicki on April 19, 2013

A couple weeks ago I wrote a blog post on the notion of being genuine. At the end of the post, I indicated that I would spend a bit of time searching through current thinking on the concept and that I would report back on what I found.

I quickly discovered that the academic in me could spend years sorting through all the thinking/writing/research that exists on the topic of genuineness and especially the associated topic of being “authentic” (talk about a buzz word!!). So I quickly reminded myself that this is a blog post and not a dissertation. Here is a short, high-level look at what resonated with me:

Romantic Relationships
The first thing that struck me is how much conversation is devoted to people asking for advice on how to tell if someone is being genuine/real/truthful/honest/sincere. This interest was especially concentrated in people pursuing romantic relationships.

What are the Ingredients of Being Genuine?

  • Liking and respecting yourself, being comfortable in your own skin and the decisions you make
  • Having trust for yourself, listening to your body and your intuition
  • Being “in the moment” or present (i.e., your mind is where your feet are)
  • Not having to try hard to be you – as Dr. Ichak Adizes calls it, no “internal marketing” or an absence of “internal disintegration”
  • Being open to feel your feelings
  • Being able to communicate your feelings to others

Sounds Easy, Huh?
On the surface, being genuine should be easy…..it is about being you. Not trying, just being. The trouble comes in when you consider that we travel through life interacting continuously with people. We may have a strong sense of who we are, but there are impressions to manage, people we don’t want to disappoint and realities that are tough to face up to. We may strive to always be genuine, but the realities of being human are likely to get in the way from time to time no matter how good our intentions may be.

Values
So how might we live and behave in ways that are more genuine? Based on my cursory reading, I think the answer lies in knowing your values –

Your values are the things that you believe are important in the way you live and work. They (should) determine your priorities, and, deep down, they’re probably the measures you use to tell if your life is turning out the way you want it to. (Mind Tools)

How To?
Here’s an exercise suggested by Jason Teitelman

Write 10 statements about yourself you know are true. These could be beliefs by which you live your life or simply things that you do everyday.

After you have your ten statements, print them out and hang them in a place where they’re visible while you’re working. When you are writing a blog post, commenting on someone else’s blog, or even posting a quick tweet, take a look at your 10 statements and ask yourself if what you’re about to share genuinely reflects who you are.

I like the simplicity of Jason’s approach as well as how easily it can be applied to your everyday thinking, writing and communicating.

Net Net
While being genuine should come naturally and easily, like many human qualities it doesn’t necessarily. Those who have most success living and communicating in ways that are genuine have worked to figure out who they truly are and then mindfully go through life behaving in ways that are congruent to their values.

Ahhhhh…..the complexities of being human!
woman making the shopping list

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