The Power and Benefits of Authentic Behavior

two gardenersThis past weekend, Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia passed away of a heart attack. Known as a learned and sometimes outspoken conservative voice, his passing has now set off a big debate on naming a replacement.

I’m not going to get into the politics of this issue, but one thing that’s been very interesting as tributes to Scalia are paid was the way he forged a lasting and deep friendship with liberal justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. On the surface, it would appear that these two wouldn’t have two civil words to say to each other but they built an enduring relationship that transcended their jobs as justices. Each had a persona and role to play, but they also had an authentic place they could retreat to and just be their natural and normal selves. It was here that the relationship was formed.

We are well into this political season. The debates are growing more contentious on both sides. I have a very small Facebook presence for only family and close friends and already I see the posting and meme arrows flying (it was for this reason and a few others that I bailed on Facebook in 2012) and the tension growing. It won’t be long before you’ll experience the tension. Rather than take the bait and get yourself involved (and possibly unfriended), why not consider the following:

  1. Never discuss or post on religion, politics, or social opinions. Yeah I know you have freedom of speech and all that, but if you do this, you’re subtly inviting conflict. Why do you need this in your life? And it won’t make you a bad Christian, Muslim, Jew, liberal, conservative, or whatever if you simply keep your opinions to yourself. There are better places than social media to opine and proselytize.
  1. Identify your authentic self. The real you. The one who has no overt opinions that need to be pushed at all times. Base your friendships and relationships on this. Once you establish the deeper connection, you may (if you HAVE to) be able to discuss hot topics. This again was the basis of Scalia and Ginsburg’s relationship.
  1. Consider some housecleaning in your relationships. If you have folks who, no matter how hard you try, you can’t seem to have a healthy connection to, why not sever ties to them? You’ll be happier and I’m sure they will too.

Life is too short and too busy and too hectic to be bogged down with extra baggage. Why not consider a different approach? It doesn’t mean that you outwardly change your work persona. Antonin Scalia certainly didn’t. It does mean that you just have an authentic place your can be your TRUE self it.

I’m going to try it this week. Maybe you can join me.


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