(First, a very quick apology for not writing recently. Todd and I are working hard on Life Nomadic and there will soon be an overabundance of stuff to read. If you haven't seen it yet, you can check out our first video here. Watch it in HD if possible.)
As you surely know, I live a very transparent life. I don't lie about anything, try to hide anything from anyone, and take it one step further and make it all as public as possible. The only exception is when other people ask me not to repeat things they tell me. You can't imagine how many posts that's quashed.
I know people who are at the other end of the spectrum. They have secrets, sometimes secret lives, and are constantly taking inventory of who knows what and enlist the help of those around them to control the information flow.
Some of these people have more credible reasons for doing this than others.
When I'm around them, I find it unbelievably draining and a bit stressful. I can only imagine how it affects them.
This is by no means the only category of people who live secretive lives, but a lot of pick up artists do this. Their families don't know that they're pick up artists, and often their girlfriends don't even know. Yikes.
Here's why I live a transparent life, and why you might consider doing so if you don't already:
You make much better choices
When you know that you're going to tell your friends, family, girlfriend, and possibly the general public about everything you do, you're a lot more likely to choose the morally correct option. When you give yourself the choice of keeping it a secret, you may not do the right thing.
My guiding principle is that you should be proud of everything you do. If you're about to do something you're not going to be proud of, pick another option. People hide things they aren't proud of. Take away that option and you'll find that you'll only do things you're proud of.
That doesn't mean that you'll make everyone happy. Far from it. But it does mean that you'll do things that you feel right about and can explain to others.
It's a whole lot easier in the end
Sometimes you might be tempted to take the easy road and lie to someone or withhold information. This is a poor investment. That one confrontation will be easier, but it will only bring you stress in the future. Will they find out? Will you accidentally slip?
If you only tell the truth, even when it's hard, you never have to worry about this. Anyone can know anything about you, and your world won't come crashing down.
People know you for who you are
When you put on a front and try to hide parts of yourself or your life, people don't get a chance to really know you.
I want people to judge me with as much information as possible. If they know about me and don't like me, I don't care. If they know about me and do like me, I assume it's for the right reasons. I make no effort to make myself seem any "better" than I am.
If you try to act like someone you're not, you'll never really trust that people like you for the right reasons.
Live transparently and you might be surprised how eagerly people accept you, warts and all.
It Eliminates Incongruity
I'm sure we all know someone who is desperately trying to be someone he's not, and it makes him almost painful to be around. There are varying degrees to that, and they're all caused by trying to project an inaccurate or incomplete image of yourself.
Act with full honesty and transparency and you will, by definition, be totally congruent.
Nothing's perfect. My mother has read way more about me than she cared to. A girlfriend's parents might read something that makes them uncomfortable. Since most people hide parts of themselves, there can be a "if he shares all THIS, what else is there?" worry.
But these are minor issues, and in my experience, they often bring up conversations that probably should have happened anyway.
It's easy to get caught up in the, "but what will ____ think?". First of all, it doesn't really matter. If you're proud of what you do, then other people's opinions don't matter. When you're unsure, you defer to other people, trying to get approval to validate what you did. That's a nasty habit.
Plus, you might be surprised. Most people are real people and can handle a lot more than you think.
This is the best post ever. I live my life consumed by thinking "what will ___ think" in everything I do. I cant turn people down, get walked all over, I usually dont end up doing things I like with my time or have to find excuses and tell lies to make time for my simple pleasures. Its hard for some people to understand this, but your post hit home hard for me. Starting today I am going to work to change this. Leaving this reply is step 1. Thank you Tynan.
Yeah, I got a friend who's been in jail and he never tries to hide it and folks accept it after they get to know him.
I agree... for the most part!
There are often things that happened in our past that are incongruent with the person we are now, so why should anyone have to know about this irrelevant dirty laundry? Especially if you are fairly certain this knowledge would make them think less of you and possibly end the friendship. Sure, you could counter with, "you wouldn't want someone so closed-minded as a friend anyway", but hey, not everyone needs to be your best friend forever and so why risk losing the opportunity for a possibly rewarding acquaintanceship, just because you feel compelled to never lie?
I've been living like this for over a year now.
What I really have a problem with is discretion.
Just because I'm honest doesn't mean I shouldn't be discreet.
I also have a problem keeping other people's secrets. I try to limit the secrets I know and I make people aware that they have to be explicit with me if they don't want me to tell anyone. But I still find it difficult. I find it hard to keep track for one thing. I really need to work on this.
Wonderful post, Tynan. I have always valued the fact that I can trust you more than anyone I know. However, the number one reason I broke up with you was because you wouldn't tell your family you were dating me-- even when we went to go stay with them in New Jersey... It definitely made me feel like you were not proud of being with me. =\
Anyway, I love you and miss you and can't wait for you and Todd to come visit me after I move! (in June, woo! So soon...) <3
There are a couple people (Annie and Todd) who I am 100% honest with, because both have a track record of taking it constructively.
The rest I am brutally honest with if they request it, but I won't necessarily offer commentary unless they tell me they wanted. So I wouldn't say, "Hey, stop eating cake. You're fat.", but if they asked if I thought they were fat, I'd say yes.
Thanks for sharing Tynan, well said.
I've been working on this for a while now and your post has tipped me over the edge to keep pushing with it until I am completely honest. Almost there.
One thing you really didn't mention was being honest about your thoughts of people. Where do you stand on this?
If someones behavior is not to your liking do you tell them? If Todd is bugging you during LN, do you tell him or do you hold your tongue?
Likewise if friends ask for your opinion are you brutally honest, or do you sugar coat it or lie entirely?
The bulk of my lying now is not so much to protect my ego/image but to protect others.
I used to lie a lot when I was a kid. I wasn't intent on deceiving people, but for some reason I would just tell made up stories. They weren't even fantastic stories, they were just things that hadn't happened. I really have no idea why I did it.
One day I was hanging out with my friend Ryan and his family. We had just gone to a movie and were driving back to his house. Right as we were driving down his street I told a story to everyone in the car. I don't remember the story, but I remember it had something to do with cabinets. Hey, it was a long time ago.
Ryan's mother innocently asked a question that began with, "Wait... if you did that, then how could you have..."
I said that to my brother the other day and he said it sounded like one of those awesome quotes that people put in slideshows all the time.
I agree, it sounds pretty quoteworthy.
Anyway, what it means is that life is way too short to not have fun.
People who take things really seriously... you know, the type to walk around with a bundle of sticks up their ass... people who criticize and complain... people who keep their lawn looking immaculate out of fear for what the neighbors might think... people who are bitter... people who leave moronic comments on youtube... people who think childlike behavior is immature and unprofessional (while they're the ones standing in the corner with a dour look on their face, while the "immature" person gives zero shits and is having a lot of fun doing it)...
These people say they're serious people, and are proud for it, and sneer at people they consider childish and immature.