Being Transparent About Yourself
Who am I trying to please by doing this?
I haven’t always been transparent.
Transparency is one of the most important values today in a world where everyone is trying to sell a certain image or trying to appear as if they have everything figured out. Also, in a world where we care more about pleasing others than remaining firm in our values. In fact, one of the reasons I dealt with anxiety in the past was because I was living a pretentious life.
One of the people who have had a profound influence in my life is my grandmother for many reasons but most importantly for living a life that is transparent. Her guiding principle has always been living a life that is pleasing to God and not people. Therefore the measure of her decisions has never been against what other people think, but against her own principles.
Being transparent has meant, for me, living an authentic life that is reflective of my guiding principles and not about pleasing others.
I haven’t always been transparent but in fact, it is something I am learning to work on as it becomes increasingly important to me. I managed my way through college by seemingly having everything figured out. I barely sought help in areas where I knew I was dramatically failing because I didn't want people to see me as a failure even though I failed anyway.
Being a failure was one of my biggest fears. I grew up as a child who always had good grades and was always praised for being good. Also, and this might be a lesson for parents, I was constantly praised in the context of somebody else’s failure. Therefore, I feared being that person.
I wanted to maintain this good child image to the point where I began to live a double life. I lied constantly about how well I was actually doing, and my bouts with anxiety about being found out began to fuel this action even more.
As I have become more aware and reflective about my past, the roots of my anxiety are steeped in living pretentiously. I have always been afraid that someone would truly see me for the things that I was trying to hide about myself. Even though I was smart, I haven’t always applied myself as I should and therefore had many encounters with failure. I also struggled with being unable to advocate for myself which eroded my self-esteem over time.
Being transparent allows you to advocate for yourself and to gain the trust of other people.
Therefore, for reasons that now include my mental health and my overall well being — being transparent has become increasingly important to me. This is not to mention the effect it has had on my relationships. Luckily, it is something I have been able to work through by opening up about my past and the things I held back from the people I cared about and who cared about me.
Also, as I began to openly pursue the goals and dreams that I have for my life, I realized how important it is to be transparent. It is hard to look at yourself in the mirror and truly see yourself for who you are including your faults. However, when you do, it is liberating.
Consequently, you cannot begin to work on yourself until you realize the areas in your life that need work.
One of the things that my grandmother has always reminded me was that you can lie to others all you want, but eventually, your lies will catch up to you. Meaning that at the end of the day the person who gets hurt the most will eventually be you.
Being transparent prevents you from hurting yourself and others.
Being transparent has meant to me living an authentic life that is reflective of my guiding principles and not about pleasing others. One of the ways that I practice being transparent is by asking myself two questions:
Is this true about me and my values?
Who am I trying to please by doing this?
I hope by reading this article you can start to think about your own level of transparency in your life. If you do, feel free to share with me in the comments below.
Thanks for reading!
Florence Wanjiku is a writer, poet, and founder of Without Borders, a publication for global writers with an immigrant experience, or that have traveled and love to push their own personal boundaries. She is based out of Boston, Massachusetts. Outside of her work, she has a master’s in Education and hopes to teach and inspire others to get outside of their comfort zones and live a life beyond their borders.
Read more of her work below…