Recently at an event I was at, a dude I vaguely know said goodbye to me with the words
“It was SO awesome to see you again beautiful”.
I was surprised that it made me feel a bit sick!
I smiled and nodded kinda awkwardly and then walked away, and only a few steps down the road did I realise why I’d reacted to his words (internally, that is).
It was (in my mind) completely fake. I hadn’t talked to this person all night and I don’t know them all that well, and so their words just came across as jarringly inauthentic. You know those people who are overly joyously nice to everyone they meet, showering them with compliments to make themselves look like a loving, charming person so that everyone will like them. They’re doing it to look good. We all do this in some form.
We usually aren’t even aware we’re doing it.
There’s nothing wrong with being kind and loving towards people if you mean it, none at all, and I have many friends who behave this way (in an overly loving, friendly way) because they really mean it – I have no problem with this at all. I only get triggered when people say things that clearly aren’t true. Because then it takes away my trust in anything they say, and makes me feel a bit ikky. It invalidates the genuineness of their words. If we were to later become close friends, I’d never know if they REALLY thought it was ‘awesome’ to see me, or if they just say that to everyone because it’s in their repertoire of nice-guy things to say.
I prefer to know exactly where I stand,
and I let people in my life know exactly where they stand.
If I think they’re awesome, they know it for sure. If I don’t know them well enough to feel it, I don’t say it!
I will also add that when you do a lot of self-development and mindfulness work, you do start to associate less with your judgey, angry mind and more with your calmer, more peaceful self, who is, at the core, a bloody legend (i.e, kind and loving towards everyone, irrespective of who they are). For many people who are overwhelmingly lovely, this is the case, and for them, (us??), they really are being authentic when they gush compliments. I often do, but only if I genuinely feel it.
But if you didn’t ABSOLUTELY LOVE catching up with someone (you know what I’m talking about), don’t tell them you did! You’ll both know you’re being inauthentic, and it hurts you both on a tiny little barely noticeable scale.
Now, this is no judgement at all on the person in question,
they are just one example of the majority of people – especially in the health and wellness world, this kind of over the top non-genuine talk is commonplace. But I so prefer it when people say what they ACTUALLY think, even if it isn’t particularly gushy, because then I know where I stand.
This is in the same category of all the health-coach blogger types that say
“hey gorgeous, hey beautiful (etc)”,
when speaking to their audience in newsletters and posts. I find this really inauthentic (especially as most coaches are just copying from other coaches anyway). To me, it completely invalidates the power of their words.
They don’t know us, they’ve never met us, they can’t see or feel whether we’re a gorgeous person or not (though we probably all are!), so why are they calling us gorgeous? If they then met you and called you gorgeous (which I’m sure you are, inside and out) – then you wouldn’t feel that it was a compliment, but rather just something that they say to everyone.
Your words have power, use them powerfully.
And by that I mean, be honest!!! If you love something, say you love it! If you don’t love something, do not say you love it!!
That’s how people know where they stand with you.
Knowing where you stand gives your mind a break – if you know someone is authentic, there’s no need to over-analyse and read between the lines to work out what they “really” think.
Silence is better than inauthenticity.
Because if people can tell you’re being fake, you might look all shiny and lovely, but no one will take your words at face value.
Whereas if you’re super honest all the time, your compliments come with a huge power to make someone’s day and make them feel genuinely special.
I wish we all lived in that Ricky Gervais movie where no-one could lie.
Sure, it would take a bit of getting used to, we’d all have to get over ourselves a bit and handle a bit of unfiltered honesty, but everything would be so much easier! That’s the world that I live in, mostly, I generally tell people exactly what I think in most situations. This means that I can really only be mates with people who are ok with straight up honesty, and those that prefer to keep things polite and fake, they generally don’t stick around in my life for too long these days. I still love them, I pretty much love everyone these days(!), but I far prefer being around people who say it like it is, speak their mind (literally), and who don’t take it personally when I do the same.
Most of these type of people practice mindfulness, or have done Landmark!
Because when you learn that all our minds are the same,
and really quite erratic and judgey,
you realise that everyone has the same shit going on in their head, and everyone is playing a big pretend game of trying not to show anyone what’s in their mind. When you see this, you can start to be more honest about what’s going on in there. It takes a huge weight off your shoulders, and peels away a whole layer of over-thinking and reading-between-the lines.
So, on this nice Monday afternoon (or morning, if you’re in Denmark), start practicing saying what you mean, meaning what you say, and saying nothing if you can’t do either!
[PS – this is me fake smiling, I was trying to smize like Tyra Banks, obviously not my forte – should just be honest about it!]