Greg and I were driving down the road the other day and we were discussing something and all of a sudden he blurted out, “This would make an excellent topic for your blog – a poll on what our society values – Authenticity Or Tact!”
To be honest – I value Authenticity. No longer one who “stuffs” things and hides behind a smiling veneer – I want things to be told just how they are. The old “Tell It Like It Is” – rings true to me and burns through my heart and soul. But I also realize that with ‘telling it like it is’ – there is a personal cost. And I also realize that Authenticity is subjective at best.
We are a society that is fast becoming desensitized to any and all forms of good manners, chivalry, being the bigger person, kindness, scruples and yes, tact. I read about it online – through blog posts, facebook and twitter updates and I see and experience it in person – those who will not look me in the eye and say, “good morning” – or “how are you today” – or anything at all.
A few months ago I was in a Starbucks with my husband and was getting cream for my coffee and there was a man in his late twenties or early thirties standing at the bar. I spoke a greeting to him – I’m very friendly and outgoing and usually always speak first – that was no surprise that I had to do so with him. What surprised and even shocked me was this: there was no response from him at all. None. Nada. He did not even look at me. Bad manners you say? Poor breeding? No tact? Yes. Sadly – all of these. Was he being real? Authentic? True to himself? Probably. What I saw – is probably who he really is. And no – he was not hard of hearing – he was able to talk and listen on his phone just fine.
Since I am a member of this society – and even belong to a generation that values manners and tact – to me that is rude and unacceptable.
But I am also torn. I love to hear about people – how they really are. No fluff – no pretense – no hiding behind a smile. “How are you? GREAT just GREAT!” Doesn’t cut it anymore. Now I know you can’t just ‘spill your guts’ to everyone and there’s a time and place for everything – but sometimes it makes me want to scream when people act like everything is okay – and their world is falling apart.
We have known people over the years – friends in fact, who seemed to have it all together and then one day – their household and relationship blew up! No one knew about it – until after it was too late.
What does this say about us as a society? As a Christian community? As individuals? It tells me this: We do not give permission for people to be really real with us. We hold them at an arm’s length to protect ourselves. We think, ‘I have too much on my own plate – to deal with their junk’ – and it is felt and understood by those people that we push away. What does “bearing each others burdens” really mean? It means: Listening. It means: Praying. It means: Getting involved.
Authenticity comes with a price tag.
Tact requires censoring yourself.
Authenticity says: I will share my information with you even if it hurts.
Tact says: I will not hurt you.
What do you value? What do you think our society values? How do we have the best of both worlds? How can I stay true to myself and still love and value you – even if we disagree?
Something to thing about.