People always eventually release what they are filled up with. It doesn't matter how shiny their packaging, how well-dressed, well-versed or well-rehearsed, eventually whatever is underneath the veil is sure to be revealed. We are wildly contagious to one another. Spend a great deal of time with a person and they will infect you with something - it may be joy, motivation or inspiration, it may be a big, bitter bite of humble pie that makes you choke for a moment or it may be something worse than a mouth full of cavities. It may even be a bittersweet glimpse of your own reflection, but, regardless, there will either be a blessing or an infection.
Time peels back the layers of the onion, revealing its root, and we often forget how deeply we affect those we interact with. We have a responsibility to positively impact another person; not merely dance around the truth with them.
"You're So Mean For Seeing Through My Phoniness!"
The truth often sounds like hatred to those who are not ready to face it. It doesn't matter if you deliver your message in the most delicate and loving manner or if you say it with a scowl and a pointing finger, it is going to be perceived as "mean" to someone who resides in the refusal to face reality. Oftentimes, the truth hurts at first. And, you know what? We should do our best to be patient in knowing that. It isn't easy for anyone of us to face our flaws. Just because a person resists initially doesn't mean you are not planting worthwhile seeds.
I recall my mom confronting me several years ago about a certain self-destructive behavior I was engaging in. She told me that my choice to remain in a bad relationship was like being an "emotional cutter". She compared me to people my pride resented, and therefore resisted, being compared to. She didn't buy my fake smile for a second, and it made me uncomfortable. How dare she say such a scathing thing to me, I thought. I initially resisted the dose of reality that I desperately needed. It hurt at first, but it planted a seed which eventually contributed to setting me free. She saw straight through my dysfunction, and she called me out on it because she loved me. She was not going to enable my self-deception and, while my pride perceived it as meanness at the time, it was an absolute gift. The sting only lasted for a moment, but the harvest is sure tasting sweet.
There Is No Character Badge For Being Publicly Polite & "Put Together"
Public personas are oftentimes inaccurate. You are who you are when no one else is around. You are how you treat those you are most comfortable with. It doesn't matter how publicly "sweet", how many motivational quotes you have shared, or how often you serve up a platter of flattery for another, it doesn't pardon one from being a venomous snake in the grass when the gates are tightly closed. Avoiding conflict and flashing a friendly smile does not excuse one from gossiping viscously, insulting others or being manipulative and calculating in secret. No one deserves a character badge for being polite to someone's face. Anyone can do that. It takes courage and strength to be truthful, sincere and authentic, and to wish others well regardless of what kind of threat they may perceivably pose to you.
We are either the ability to keep our word when asked, or the total disregard for those who have trusted us. We are either the choice to control ourselves, or to think first of our own desires. We are either the commitment to sincerity, or the unapologetic phoniness underneath our masks. We are either the knee-jerk reaction to retaliate and spread poison about someone who has disappointed us, or the choice to honor them instead.
The quality of a man can be determined simply: It is what occurs when the light is dim, when the curtain is closed, when the mic is turned down and there is no wifi connection.
Flattery Is Fleeting and Often Deceiving...
A genuine smile can light up a heart in an instant, but conniving behavior can destroy a thousand in private. We all desire trust, respect and true connection. We want meaning and substance. We want to know someone has our back when we're not around. We want to be genuinely loved. So, why then, are we oftentimes so addicted to syrupy bites of flattery, but resistant to the fruit of sincerity?
The reality is, oftentimes chronic people-pleasing and flattery is mere manipulation. The heart motive behind the words spoken is everything. For example, if someone is befriending you or perhaps professing their appreciation for you over social media merely because they have something to gain by doing so, it is worthless. The delivery may be packaged beautifully, but it is nothing more than a pile of useless dirt.
If you're always just telling people what they want to hear, your relationships aren't even real. Insincere, opportunistic flattery is like a spoonful of high fructose corn syrup. It's fake food. If you continue ingesting it, if you keep on swallowing it down, if you look for it to sustain you without ever consuming actual fruit, you'll end up horribly malnourished. It's addictive, it creates for you a rush, but give it some time and you'll end up with nothing from it to show but high blood pressure and a miserable, ever-expanding gut.
Sweetness on the surface is fleeting, for people always eventually release what they are filled up with. I'd rather a person say, "Hey, that angered me," as opposed to flooding my phone with an assortment of smiley face emojis and pretending all is well, all the while calling other friends to vent their disappointment with me when the light is dim and the curtain is closed.
So, Sink Your Teeth Into Some Fertile Soil...
Flattery only lasts for a moment. It offers no depth and no substance. It is like a lovely arrangement of flowers guaranteed to die within a few days. They are nice to have and lovely to marvel at, but the actual flowers won't get you very far. Sincerity, trustworthiness and authenticity, on the other hand, are like rich, fertile soil which will produce crops capable of feeding a family for seasons to come.
I'm just being honest.
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