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3 Stages of Authenticity

November 15, 2012

I loved playing peek-a-boo with my kids when they were little. If you’re a parent, you’ve done that too.

As my children became pre-schooler’s they constantly said, “Look at me Dad! I’m doing something spectacular!” (Like singing a song, drawing a circle, or eating dog food.) They were embracing life and wanted to experience more of it.

However, as children enter middle school they begin passing notes to friends asking, “Do you like me?” Suddenly, they are unsure and begin to retreat and hide.

The deep desire that you and I always share is to know and be known.

Our problem is not original with us. Adam and Eve had a perfect relationship until their sin resulted in the Fall. After his sin, Adam heard God’s footsteps approaching from the distance and for the first time in his life instead of running to God, Adam ran away from God. This is when the activity of peek-a-boo was first introduced.

As adults we play peek-a-boo with our authenticity. It’s easier to hide from others or try to impress others. We hide from or try to impress people with: sarcasm, intelligence, spirituality, shyness, busyness/success, superficial conversation, etc..

In his book, “Everybody’s Normal Till You Get to Know Them”, John Ortberg reveals the 3 stages of greater authenticity:

 1) Guarded Communication

This is when your neighbor brings over a homemade-from-scratch hot dog casserole and then later asks, “How was it?” You say, “It was something else. We ate it and enjoyed it. Thank you.”

No need to be ungrateful and rudely blunt.

How about you? Do you practice guarded communication?

2) Everyday Authenticity

Some people struggle trying to impress. Some people struggle with fear of rejection.

Everyday authenticity is where you unveil your face.

My wife is a natural at this. Ginger is comfortable not wearing makeup and not having to always wear the latest fashion. She is honest about the cleanliness of our house at any given moment. In fact, she is honest about any weakness she has. It’s one of the things I love about her.

Me . . . not so much. I’m often too guarded, measuring my words and the image I’m projecting. I want to grow in this area.

How about you? Are you an “everyday authentic” person?

 3) Deep Disclosure with a few trusted friends

Some people don’t share with anyone. Some people share with everyone. Both are unhealthy.

Deep disclosure requires trusted friends. Trusted friends shouldn’t be judgmental, violate confidentiality, or offer premature advice.

Do you have a person or a small group of people where you can safely share the deep stuff? If not, what steps do you need to take to develop a relationship with a trusted friend or small group of trusted friends?

Let’s save the peek-a-boo for the kids. 🙂

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