Honesty Isn’t Always The Best Policy
I recently had to come to grips with some of my own failures. My first reaction was anger and frustration towards others but it wasn’t all their fault. I was the one calling the plays. I was the one carrying the torch. I was the one driving the car. Pick your analogy. The thing is; my failure wasn’t what I did or the work I produced. In fact, from the outside you would think that I was successful and achieved a great deal in a short amount of time. I failed in communication; the very field in which I operate. I am an artist. I am supposed to know how to communicate through images, designs, photography, film; and I do. It’s the verbal and non-verbal areas like body language and facial expressions in which I utterly fail!
I carry my feelings, opinions and frustrations out in the open, and honestly I don’t even know it. If I’m pissed you know it. If I’m tired you can tell. If I’m happy we’ll laugh. If I think something is stupid I say so. I’ve always thought that being honest and transparent was a good thing. Apparently not. I’m not sure if this transparency is related to my creativity or just something that I never learned to control, but regardless, it’s caused me quite a bit of crap in my life. Saddest part is that family has had to live through the aftermath of what is left behind.
I may not know the exact root cause of my problems but I have a pretty good idea. I remember a Christmas many years ago when I was a child. We were pulling into my grandparents driveway and no one wanted to be there. My grandparents were not your typical fun grandparents that gave you milk and cookies, or let you jump on the couch. In fact they would tell you to get off the couch because they were “saving it for retirement.” Seriously, they said that. So needless to say we only went out of duty. Before we get out of the car my mom said to us, “put on your happy face.”
My grandfather was a pastor and they seem to always have to keep up appearances as either having it all together or, even worse, my grandmother would say, “we’re just poor preachers” in order to manipulate and get what she wanted. I must have make an subconscious choice to never be like that and never manipulate someone. That’s probably why I hate politicians.
I’ve always hated the idea that I need to dance around a subject or feel like I’m walking on eggshells when talking to people or that I have to pet someones ego before I can tell or ask them something. When at work, I tend to stay to myself unless I need something from someone, and when I do, I typically stick to the facts and issues at hand. I don’t care about what you had for diner or that your kid won the spelling bee. All I care about is doing my job and doing it well! But, I was told that I am too task oriented and focussed on doing my job well and that I needed to spend more time developing relationships with those around me. A task that doesn’t fit my personality naturally and a task I find counterproductive.
The fact that I’m all business probably stems from the fact that I feel that I have something to prove. As a freshman or sophomore in collage the bank president, who was a board member at my church, cornered me and ridiculed my degree plan saying, “what are you going to do with an art degree?” Ever since then I’ve hated bankers; partly because he was right but mostly because of his condescending attitude looking down from his corner office with it’s ridiculously large mahogany desk and big-game animals mounted on the walls. But I guess that’s an issue for another day.
I guess I say all this to say that I am owning up to my mistakes and that I am working to overcome my own flaws. God created me to be artistic and creative to be used in His Church. I don’t have to prove anything. I don’t have to be so task driven and goal oriented that I leave a trail of bodies behind me on my way to success. Taking time to build relationships is not counterproductive and keeping my mouth shut and concealing my frustrations, anger and attitude is never a bad idea.