Archive for the ‘Sincerity’ Category

The Truth and Tyra Banks

Truth.  Truth is such a virtuous word, isn’t it?  After all, everyone wants to hear the truth.  Or, do they?

Sometimes I do.  If there was a piece of Charmin stuck to my shoe, I’d want someone to tell me the truth.  Or, if there was parsley in my teeth.  Or, if I accidentally dropped a few Benjamins out of my wallet. 

Other times, I’d rather that people kept the truth (or their perception of the truth) to themselves…unless I ask…or unless it’s totally positive…or unless it’s given as constructive criticism with a tactful and respectful delivery. 

A lot of times people tell me to stop talking and listen…to be more contemplative…and less direct with my choice of words.  I know they’re right… it’s the truth…and I’m working on being a better listener.

Listen Up MuleThat’s called ear to ear communication.  Oops!  Maybe I should be more serious in my efforts to improve.

With the wrong delivery, or inappropriate timing, or the lack of discretion when speaking the almighty truth, the words free-flowing out of your mouth can be ugly.  Sometimes the truth can hurt.  Sometimes it can scar.  Sometimes it does not need to be said out loud.

By now, you’re probably wondering how former supermodel Tyra Banks fits into this topic.  I’m sure that Tyra never gets tired of people speaking the truth about her beauty and success.  But, she probably didn’t like reading all of the media reports last year about her weight gain…even though it was the truth.

Take it from Tyra

This reminds me of something that Tyra  said about THE TRUTH on the spring 2011 cycle of her reality TV show, America’s Next Top Model. I’ve never forgotten her words.

Two of the contestants were arguing.  Girl #1 said that Girl #2 was shallow and undeserving of winning a spot to model in a PSA campaign.  It was true…the girl seemed shallow.  But, was announcing it to the world on national TV in full attack mode the right thing to do?  I’m not so sure, and Tyra agreed.  Said with confidence and poise, Tyra made an excellent point about how telling the truth can be outright rude.  She said,

A lot of young girls think that the opposite of fake is rudeness. And just as ugly as fake is, so is saying whatever is on your mind just because it’s the truth.

– Tyra Banks, 2011

I agree with Tyra.

Do you think the truth should always be told?

Them People

Today, let’s focus on human kindness.


The world could use a little more of it, I think.

After work today I went to the grocery store.  Normally, I hate those self-check machines, but I had one easy-to-scan item and I didn’t feel up to any human contact. 

Apparently, the nonhuman scanner machine has a motion detector.  It felt my presence…

  • Welcome.  Do you have a Super Saver Card?
  • Please scan your Super Saver Card now.
  • Are you still there?
  • Beep.
  • Thank you for scanning your Super Saver Card.
  • Please scan the first item.
  • Beep.
  • Seven.  Ninety.  Nine.
  • Please scan the next item. 
  • Beep.
  • Order complete.
  • Do you have any coupons?
  • If yes, scan your coupons now.
  • Select your method of payment.
  • Please wait for an attendant.

Augh!!!   Had I gone through the check isle with an actual human clerk, there would have been less conversation.  I usually get the same clerk and she doesn’t say much more than hello and reminds me when my gas perk points are going to expire.  I don’t strike up conversation either.  Not with the clerk.  Not with the other people in line.  Not with the bagger.  I’m usually too absorbed in my own thoughts and frustrated that the gas perk points are going to expire before my tank is empty.

Throughout each day, many of us exchange no more than just a few words between lots of different people.  Grocery clerks, doormen, bank tellers, ticket takers, security guards, parking lot attendants, restaurant servers, bus drivers, maintenance men, and more.  And when we do, we’re usually so self-absorbed with our own thoughts that they become…

dare I say it…nonhuman.


How is it that we can so easily shed our skin of kindness and ignore, or even be outright rude, to the “them” we interact with every day?  Is it an easy, no-consequences, I’ll never see that person again situation where we can just let rudeness rip?  I see so many people do it…and I have to wonder…why?

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle.

How different would the world be if we approached every one of our human interactions with kindness?  What if we approached every person we met with compassion?  What if we took just a moment to realize that a  few kind words, or a sincere smile, or just a little eye contact, could make a big, positive impact in the day of a complete stranger. 

Okay, so I’m giving us homework.  The next time you are in the company of a grocery clerk, or a mailman, or a waiter..or anyone else that is typically treated as a nonhuman in their area of service…say “thank you,” while looking them straight in the eye and thinking to yourself…

“You are a person to me.   In this brief moment in both of our lives…it mattered.” 

Report back.  Let me know what happened.

The Art of Authenticity

This weekend Mr. Backbone and I went to a company holiday party, a party with friends, and decorated, decorated, decorated our own home for a family party we’ll be hosting next weekend.  Stay tuned…there will be a party recap next week.

Today, let’s take part in the Self-Discovery, Word by Word series, which is being hosted this month by Katie at Health for the Whole Self.  The concept is to select a single word and encourage meaningful self-reflection by focusing on the word. 

This month’s word is Authenticity.

Before reading some posts from other bloggers on the word Authenticity, I never associated this word with people. 

I would use it to describe food.  Yum!  This has to be authentic Mexican….

Or places.  This town is so cool; it’s really authentic to its history.

Or things, like the crap people bring to Pawn StarsYes sir, that’s an authentic NASA negative…but I goddda make money on it, so I’ll give you 20  dollars cash and 20 bucks in pawn shop credit.  Love that show. 

Turning to people, I struggled with applying the word.  It means: Real.  True.  Original.  Pure.  Genuine.  Undisputed. 

I thought…Am I real and true with others?  Are others real and true with me?  All the time?  Or, just some of the time?  If I’m selective about it, is there an art to revealing my authentic self?

I’m not so sure that I’ve ever been 100% real, true, and genuine with anyone, 100% of the time.  It would mean that nearly every thought that entered my brain when interacting with someone would exit my mouth.  I never do that.  I always filter.  I’m constantly filtering. Most of the time I filter because I don’t want to hurt peoples’ feelings.  Or, I filter as a form of self-protection.  To keep up a wall.  To set a boundary. 

Also, being as chameleon-like as I am, I don’t show all sides of my personality to everyone I meet.  I’m never intentionally disingenuous, but if being authentic means always showing a complete and true, undisputed self…I fail the definition. 

I think it comes down to this….  The key is for YOU to know the authentic YOU.  Whether or not you chose to show your authenticity, and to who, and in what quantities…is a complete judgement call.  Not doing so doesn’t mean you lack authenticity.  So long as you’re being genuine, holding back just means you’re filtering.  And filtering isn’t always a bad thing. 

Lots of people let their different sides show, depending on the situation at hand.  Even Santa.  We all know his white beard and jolly HoHoHo, but what about…

When he goes to Ireland…

And the Ukraine…

And China…

He’s still Santa…right?  Or, a form of Santa.  But, he’s turned into someone that the people of other countries can relate to and understand.  Does that mean that Santa isn’t authentic?   I don’t think so. 

Do you think that being genuine and being authentic are the same, or different?  Do you filter, and if so, how much? 

I am flying off into Business Land tomorrow, so there will be no post this Wednesday.  I’ll be back with you on Friday.  Have a great week!

The People Pyramid

My favorite time of year is when the sun is warm but the air is crisp.  The leaves are starting to turn colors and it’s absolutely beautiful outside. Although there is still a little fog out there this morning, I can tell that it’s going to be one of those perfect weather days.  If you’re having nice weather where you are today, get out there and enjoy it!  Today won’t last forever ya know

I received a few e-mails about Friday’s post, The Name Game.  Many of you find it hard to remember names, too.  Someone asked if I ever thought about why I can’t easily remember people’s names when I first meet them. I have a theory on this, and it relates to my People Pyramid. 

My People Pyramid looks like this: 


Immediate Family


Associates, Advisors, Acquaintances



 The higher a person is on my Pyramid, the better I know them, the better they know me, and the more I expect of the relationship.  The lower a person is, the less I know about them, the less they know about me, and the greater chance there is that I won’t remember their name.  That’s why name association games work for some people – because you attach meaning to a name – even if it’s with an apple.

Until I establish a meaningful connection with someone and relate them to my life, I can almost guarantee that I won’t remember their name.  I have trouble remembering names of Hollywood celebrities for that same reason.

Unless you’re an immediate family member and were born into my Pyramid, climbing its steep sides is not always easy.  A lot of new people I meet stay at Level A for a long time before I will sincerely call them Friend.  I’ll explain the difference between Friend (who knows the real me) and Acquaintances, Advisors, and Associates (who only know small parts of me) in a later posts.   Just know that, the people in my life are there for very important reasons, and I always try to remember that.  I have a reminder of this along the walkway to my front door…

The most important point about the People Pyramid is that the higher someone is, the more honesty and loyalty I expect from them.  Also, the deeper I can be hurt by them and the more joy they can bring to my life…because they are hurting the real me and taking joy in the real me, not just a small part of me.  I expect a lot of honesty and loyalty from my true friends…and I try to give it back to them just the same. 

Do you have a lot of friends, or just a few?  Do you expect them to be honest and loyal all the time, or just some of the time?

Taking a Compliment

I’ll bet everyone out there knows someone who is not sincere.   I looooath people like that – people who are hypocritical (say one thing but think the opposite), or who embellish or exaggerate the truth.
Recently, I heard a guy compliment a lady’s accent.  “That’s a cool accent, where are you from?”  She answered honestly and sincerely, “It’s not an accent, I have a speech impediment.”  The guy responded, “Oh, well, I think it’s kind of SEXY.” Strange exchange, but true story – I couldn’t make something like that up.
She was sincere in her response.  Was he?  We’ll never know, but it did get me to ponder the topic of Compliments.  When I give a compliment, it’s usually very sincere and heartfelt.  This meal is wonderful.  Your new haircut looks great.  You look nice today.  I love your outfit.    

(c) Geraktv

Look at yourself right now.  No need for a mirror, just look down at yourself.   What would you say if, this very second, I sincerely said to you “You look really nice.”    

Possible Answers:    

  1.  No I don’t.  I look horrible.
  2. Why thank you, I’m flattered.
  3. Thanks, but I got this outfit on the clearance rack for $5.99 years ago.
  4. Who, me?  Nah, you’re the one who looks nice.
  5. Awe honey, you’re so sweet, so do you, where did you get that purse, it’s just divine!

When I give compliments to my girlfriends, most often, I get response #1- negative backlash.  Coming in a close second is response #3 – sucker punch.   Both of those make me feel really bad, and I wish I hadn’t given the compliment at all.  When the compliment is turned on me (like #4 or #5) – counter-compliment, it’s usually dripping in insincerity.    

As a compliment receiver, I usually do #3.  Darn!  As a compliment giver, what I want to hear is #2.  Hearing #2 doesn’t deny what I’ve said, it doesn’t poo-poo my thoughts, it doesn’t disrespect my kindness.    

I obviously need to change my ways as a receiver.  The next time I’m given a sincere compliment, this is what I plan to do:  

  • Let the words sink in
  • Mentally and emotionally believe the compliment is true.
  • Respond positively, not negatively.
  • If I’m caught off guard, know that a simple “thank you” is enough.
  • Don’t mindlessly and immediately counter-compliment, but remember to return the kindness later, when I really mean it.  


The next time kind words are said to you…believe them…think about your response…pass along the kindness.     

How do you respond to compliments?  When you give compliments, are you sincere?   


Happy Labor Day Weekend