Building Authentic Relationships
By: Kristen L. McNulty
The other day I was on facebook and noticed the writing that appears at the top of my profile. I guess you can say it's kind of a snapshot of my life. It tells you what I do for a living, the fact that I studied Business Management at Athabasca University, where I live, my birthday, and even shows some photos that I was tagged in.
In some ways you learn a lot about me by looking at those first few lines, but in other ways you learn nothing at all.
You see from a facebook point of view my life may look pretty good and put together, after all, I am smiling in most of those photos there. But what you don't see is all the things behind the scenes that build together to make up my actual life.
You don't see the struggles I've faced, the things I've gone through, the heartache I've felt, the things that drive me and have made me who I am and the things in my life that are not perfect. In fact while you might even see who my "friends" are you have no idea who I actually spend most of my time with and who are the people who have shaped me and made me who I am today..
If those things were listed at the top of the page only then would you come close to having a complete picture of who I am and where I come from.
And maybe, just maybe, if those things were listed some walls would come down as we'd all realize just how much we have in common.
Now am I suggesting that you put every single messy detail of your life on facebook? Certainly not. But what I am suggesting is that all of us learn to be a little more authentic in our relationships. If our interactions with other people on a daily basis read something like our facebook profiles, we're in trouble and we'll never really get to know people or be known. But if we take down those public perception filters we pass everything through and are honest with one another, that is the kind of environment that gold relationships are made in.
So let's do ourselves and the people around us a favor. The next time someone asks "how are you?" instead of answering "fine" or giving an answer that you would be okay with seeing on your facebook profile, elaborate and be honest in what you say. You might be shocked at the doors to deepened relationships that your answer can open.
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