Truly authentic people radiate validity. When we are with them, we sense their authenticity. Honorable people are transparent. There is no subterfuge, no hidden agenda and no discomfort.
I want to know just where someone stands. Agreeing with each other is not essential; it is just a bonus. The real value in a relationship is knowing that what we see is what we get.
The people I admire most have this transparent trait in common. Knowing that I can absolutely trust my closest friends gives me a foundation I could not live without.
There was a time when I was Pollyanna. I trusted everyone. It was a happy state to live in, but a dangerous one. Not realizing that there are deceitful - even conniving - people puts us at risk. It was a painful lesson to learn and I did not learn it quickly.
Having a strong spiritual foundation, I have great value for forgiveness, both given and received. I do not have difficulty with forgiveness. What I have difficulty with is duplicity.
I remember Burt Reynolds in Smokey and the Bandit. Sally Field asked him what he did. "I show off," he said. We can laugh with someone who freely admits he is a show off. What is hard to take is any equivalent of a wolf in sheep's clothing.
Scoundrels who know they are scoundrels and admit they are scoundrels can be seen as characters who add some excitement to a gathering or even to a group of associates. But a scoundrel posing as a saint is intolerable.
The phrase "honor among thieves" gives a nod to the need for boundaries and a sense of knowing what to expect, even in criminal segments of society. The stability of knowing what is real, and what is not real, is sought throughout the civilized world.
The more distressed we are when we encounter duplicity, the more resolved we should become not to become a part of it. To remain authentic, we need to speak our truth. Duplicity only thrives in silence.
Jean Loxley-Barnard has been a writer all her life and studied both sociology and psychology at George Washington University where she earned a B.A. Her company, The Shopper, Inc., encompasses all the Loxley-Barnard family publications - The Shopper Magazines and Doctor to Doctor Magazine. She has been in the advertising, consulting and publishing business for 39 years.
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