Genuineness in Relationships
Genuineness is a rare commodity these days. But of all wondrous things I’ve experienced in my years doing therapy, nothing compares to engaging with a person soul-to-soul. Something amazingly powerful and transforming happens when people “get real” with one another. The spirit of love truly flows. And when it does, power and healing naturally follow.
Sometimes, it takes every bit of effort a person can muster to remain genuine during an intimate encounter. Staying out of your head and outside of the confines of your ego tests a person’s mindfulness. But genuineness is worth its price. And its rewards are very predictable. Problems resolve. Life improves. Deep connections are made. The meaning and purpose of life become clearer.
But genuineness also brings risk. When you’re genuine, you open yourself up. You make yourself vulnerable, which means you can be hurt. Even your faith can be shaken. But falsehood invites a far worse fate. Its price is a prison of false security and separation. The boundaries we impose on ourselves keep us from really living – loving- connecting! We consign ourselves to the ultimate hell: emptiness and aloneness.
Living and Loving’s Biggest Challenge
It’s challenging to be civil and generous. That’s especially when we don’t feel like it. But it’s even more challenging to be sincere and genuine in all our encounters. Our culture is replete with superficiality. We’re bombarded with so-called “reality” shows that are carefully scripted – utterly fake. And they showcase audacious personae possessing about as much substance as air.
Phoniness surrounds us. Some of the superficial personae we encounter became that way unconsciously to avoid emotional pain (as with “neurotic” personalities). But others knowingly and deliberately present a false self to deceive, manipulate, and exploit (as with disturbed and disordered characters). The result, however, is the same: we rarely know who the people we deal with really are. Still, each of us can make a difference in this regard. We have the power to be genuine in our encounters. And it’s only within such encounter that two people can find their true value.
Love in Action
We’re “commanded” to love. It’s the great “co-mission” (an inherently participatory endeavor!). And we’re urged to do this without reservation – free of the worldly “attachments” that so often hold us back. As a famous rabbi once said: “God is a verb.” You have to put yourself into the world and in your own inimitable way to even begin to know that greater reality. And to experience Love’s fullness, you must knowingly and freely give yourself away.
My full interview with HBO Vice News Tonight was cut from the program that aired on February 1. But Folks who have the HBO app can see parts of the interview. Find a recording of the interview at this link.
Character Matters will air live this Sunday, February 26, 2017 at 7 pm Eastern (4 pm Pacific). Call in at (718) 717-8296 to join the conversation.
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