June 25, 2019

A key to well-being: Transparency

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Do you let others see the real you? Do they know how you are really doing?

One of the constant comments I get after I talk about my journey of burnout is “thank you for your transparency.” Transparency is helpful because others can get help from what you have been through. Being real and authentic is powerful.
Was I always transparent? No, to the contrary. Little did I let it slip of how I was really doing. I was skilled at keeping my emotions even from myself. My standard phrase when people enquired as to how I am doing was “I’m doing ok, thanks”. I had little time for people who constantly focussed on the negative. Was that the reason I kept my guard up? No. Was it that as a people carer I could not be vulnerable?
Wisdom tells us there are times not to be transparent e.g. in parenting, our duty of care requires us to be circumspect with what we say. Children need to be protected and shielded. Conversely, there are times when we need to be transparent and we need people and places to be such.

What keeps you from being transparent?

Becoming transparent has been a journey. Several things contributed to my lack of transparency and my ingrained, closed behaviour. For those who like the short version, they were shame, lack of trust, fear of judgment and exposure.

I discovered that there is no shame in being emotionally sick. Being open with “I am burnt out” enabled people to give care and support me while I was sick. It took me three months to trust my psychologist. As the weekly sessions rolled by, little by little I began to let my guard down, sharing more about myself. I came to see that I closed myself off from others because I feared rejection, judgment, and exposure. Trust had been broken. Consequently, I had chosen to shut most others out. I chose to trust again, discovering that it was safe to do so.
Choosing to trust has a wonderful consequence. In trusting others you are naturally transparent. This openness brings others closer to you. Lack of trust causes detachment, but trust builds connection.

Who can help you build transparency?

Several years of being mentored in emotional well-being has greatly helped me build transparency. My mentor’s gentle probing questions “how are you doing?” have been so helpful. Over time I have discovered that it’s safe here to say it as it really is. A mentor is key to thriving. Our level of transparency determines the level of help we receive.

How transparent are you with your mentor on a scale of 0-10 ? 0 not at all & 10 nothing is hidden.

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