Transparency is a word bandied about in recent times. With so much deceit in the world trust is difficult to come by. This is true in business, government and politics, and in human relationships. How is transparency defined? Merriam-Webster states these three of five offered: free from pretense or deceit; easily detected or seen through; readily understood”.
Dr. Sidney Jourard was an academic psychologist in the ’60s who wrote a book called “The Transparent Self.” It was a popular success — and still is in many circles as relationship devotees see its pragmatic value in deepening relationships while building trust.
Jourard has written, “Love is scary because when you permit yourself to be known, you expose yourself not only to your lover’s balm, but also to your hater’s bombs. When he knows you, he knows where to plant this for maximum effect. … Shall I permit my fellow man to know me as I truly am, or shall I seek instead to remain an enigma, and be seen as someone I’m not? … We camouflage our true being before others to protect ourselves against criticism and rejection. This protection comes at a steep price.” Jourard further taught that a person becomes healthier by being open and honest. Feeling a connection with their inner self, they felt stronger and able to take on challenges. Then they feel more real and able to use their talents to help other people grow.
For you theorists out there, Jourard’s theory dove tails well with Dr. Carl Rogers, Father of Humanistic Psychology. Rogers, also in the sixties, wrote about congruence which meant that the more real a person could be, the greater their ability to connect with other people. This enabled people to have richer relationships.
A word of caution here. People can only grow and feel good about themselves if they feel safe. If you don’t feel safe you cannot open up. You are in protection mode. Thus, what I am encouraging is for a person to not be naïve. Being open and honest to the wrong people can cause a heap of trouble and pain. One of my favorite terms is “due diligence.” If people do quality “due diligence,” and connect with quality people, they can be assured that their “transparent self” will be welcomed, embraced, and encouraged to share more of themselves.
Bottom line here is that to grow as a person and to have deeper and more significant relationships you, Respected Reader, need to lead a conversation by appropriately self disclosing something about you that has some depth, yet is not too risky for openers, and encouraging the other person to do the same. The result will be less boring conversations, a better feeling about yourself, and deeper relationships. A desired outcome, n’est pas?
Here are the transparent self’s tasks:
- Get real
- Be authentic
- Be courageous
- Make contact
- Trust and disclose self
- Invite others to do the same
Shakespeare tried to tell us these words of wisdom many years ago in his play Hamlet, with Polonius speaking to Laertes, “This above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night before the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.”
Respected Reader, to what degree do you think you are a transparent person? What might be holding you back? What about significant others in your life? Can they be trusted for you to share more of your inner self? Do they share in depth? If not you need replacement people in your life to help you feel safe and open on the way to becoming an authentic person. Give it a shot!