Transparency is the foundation of communication. Without it, you won’t get far in relaying or creating a message that resonates with your audience.
Whether you’re creating a dissertation for your Ph.D. program, writing a press release for an organization that feeds the homeless, or talking to your friends at the local watering hole, it’s vital to be transparent. Now, the significance and potential repercussions of your efforts to remain transparent may be less severe during the latter. Still, it’s quite essential to bring a level of transparency regardless of the medium. Because being transparent is vital to the truth, the truth shall set you free, and generally speaking, it’s a positive way to lead your life.
For as long as you’ve lived, can you think of one thing you always want but never give enough appreciation? I can; it’s honesty. When I think about transparency, it’s one of the two words that come into my head, along with candor.
“Transparency requires your intentions to be evident.”
If, in any matter, your objective isn’t clear, then you lack transparency. It’s not to say there are never any gray areas in life because there will inevitably be some. Instead, those areas become gray either by nature or a sheer lack of clarity. Typically, when you have a conversation with your best friend, you can tell if they are upfront. Why is this?
Simply put, it’s because you’ve learned their ways through years of experience being around them. You know their tendencies when they’re sad, mad, happy, etc. However, at the beginning of your friendship, it wasn’t always this easy, and the reason your bond grew is because of the trust you gave them. As a result, they became more and more transparent with you.
As with most facets of communication, transparency isn’t built overnight. It’s a long, complex process because what does transparency involve? Being vulnerable, and what does being vulnerable involve? Trust. It’s difficult enough to be vulnerable even for a split second, especially if your emotions have been neglected in any way. Now imagine having a relationship where you are vulnerable nearly every second of the day? Scary, right?
Yet, it’s these types of relationships we value the most. How come? Well, because we can be our true, unadulterated selves without any fear of judgment or condemnation. You see, the reason we grow so close to our loved ones is that we’re transparent around them with no hesitation due to the trust and rapport we’ve built over time.
If you don’t trust your colleague in the office, there’s little to no chance you’ll ever be transparent with them, which isn’t ideal because this lack of trust can often bleed into your work. Let’s say you begin to build a bond with a colleague. Both of you share common interests, are married, and have children. You begin to see the sparks of a new friendship, start to envision play dates with your children and date nights with your husband, as you both watch either other’s kids every other weekend to help each other out. You start to care about each other because being open and unguarded, which are byproducts of trust, provide an environment conducive to a better life.
Until you walk into work on a Monday and your supervisor has a meeting with you, stating your colleague, and now good friend, has submitted a productivity report, and you rank near the bottom of it. In this scenario, was your friend wrong for her actions? If she didn’t inform you in any way of this report, then yes. Because friends and colleagues, for that matter, should look out for each other. If she warned you on five different occasions that she would turn in this report and suggested you perform better beforehand, she was transparent, and if you chose not to heed her advice anyway, you have to deal with the consequences. The last thing you ever want to do is take someone’s transparent, honest ways for granted.
Transparency involves a mutual understanding between two parties. When I think of transparency, the most suitable analogy I can give is to put everything on the table, meaning to be honest and let everything be known. You should place every thought, emotion, and point of view on the table. Secrecy has no place in relationships, friendships, and the like, and why would you want that anyway? More specifically, if we’re talking about your significant other, as they are supposed to be the one person you don’t have to hide anything from and can be your true self around.
Perhaps the most successful way to remain transparent with yourself and those around you is to talk about everything and over-communicate. It reminds me of two sayings, it’s always better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it, and I’d always rather know than not know. As long as you’re remaining open and honest with yourself through every medium and establishing trust with those you care about, you’re encapsulating what it means to have transparency in your life and why it is vital for a fruitful one.