Stop Trying and Just Be
This blog post was featured in the Huffington Post on February 02, 2017.
Have you ever seen someone try to dance ballet who is not a ballet dancer, or heard someone trying to sing opera without any training? It would make you laugh, no?
Have you ever experienced an uncomfortable discussion with someone who is trying very hard to be nice? You can tell that this person is working hard to be polite but you can tell that it is not genuine. It is as if the person has a mask on their face and is hiding their true nature.
It is similarly awkward when a person you are speaking with tries to impress you with how important he is. You feel doubtful and wonder if they are trying to sell you something that may not be true. Are they merely exaggerating, or are they lying to you?
These examples came to my mind as I noticed someone trying to be loving to me. It made me feel tense rather than being loved: Did this person have a hidden agenda? Where did this “love” come from and what for?
What is going on?
“Trying to be” means you are working on doing something that does not come naturally to you. It is not you.
Please do not try. If you are angry, be angry. Do not try to be angry. If you are depressed, let yourself be depressed. Do not try to look depressed to get attention. Just be, whatever it is.
When I find people who are genuine, I cannot be offended by them. They are what they are, and I find it refreshing to be with someone who does not try to be but is.
You know where you stand with this kind of person. What you see is what you get. You do not have to have multiple thoughts in your mind as you interact with a genuine person. One of the most difficult parts of interacting with someone who seems disingenuous is that one part of your mind is listening to what they say while another part of your mind is screening the information because you do not trust what you hear or see. It is exhausting if it is prolonged.
I suspect that what helped Donald Trump win the presidency is that he did not try to be nice. He was genuine — foul language, aggressiveness and all. Those who voted for him, I suggest, trusted him because of his personality, although his facts were often way off the mark. Clinton, on the other hand, had her information well vetted but appeared to be trying very hard to be nice. People did not trust her a bit.
It is not always easy to be genuine. In certain situations, it is easier to cover our faces and souls with a mask and pretend to be what we are not.
To be genuine means to have no fear. To be confident enough in one’s own identity to withstand criticism. Not easy.
Ichak Kalderon Adizes