Last week I wrote a blog post that detailed a very painful part of my life (R.I.P. Doormat Diana). My decision to write it was to help me be authentic to myself and hopefully help just one other person who was going through a similar situation.
In the post I used very harsh language which reflected how I felt at the time. The responses I got from people via email and comments on various social platforms was encouraging, supportive and understanding despite the strong language. But it offended some people. How do I know this? Not by comments or complaints but by the deafening silence from some other people.
I lost a client this week because of that blog post. And it was a big client with a really great project. All my emails have been ignored and they have literally vanished without a word.
I asked a dear friend of mine in Johannesburg to read it. His comment to me afterwards was “Are you going to leave it there?” When I probed further his response was that he understood the need for authenticity and telling the truth, but from a professional perspective it would damage my business because of the language. He also said that as a Christian I was not being true to my beliefs by using language like that.
My counter argument was that I had to be true to myself and at the time of writing that, the language and tone reflected the person I was at the time. I could not whitewash the effect that incident had on me away and pretend it never happened.
After a few days of thinking about it, I went back and changed the original language to something that still expressed the sentiment and emotion at the time, but was more appropriate to the person I am now. That blog post will probably still offend people because of its very nature but I am not going to take it down just because of that.
My realisation this week is that I have to be authentic to myself. Losing that client cost me a lot of money but if I deleted the post because of them, what does that say about me? I have to stand behind my words otherwise I cannot trust myself. And if I can’t trust myself, who else can?
If I try and please everyone, I will shatter into a million pieces because there is always someone who will not approve of what I say or do, no matter how hard I try. I have to accept that. There are people in my life who think the worst of me and nothing will ever change that.
What I can do however is to respect and honour their opinion. They are entitled to it by the virtue of their own value system. Everyone of us has to be true to ourselves. Life is a journey and we are constantly making mistakes and learning from them. None of us are perfect and all of us are just trying to make sense of a mostly senseless world. Who you are today is not the same person you will be tomorrow.
So my advice is be honest and authentic about who you are now. You will pay a price for being true to yourself but you are the only one who has to live with yourself on a permanent basis. When you go to sleep at night the question you should ask is did you live your life today being true to you?
Have a great week.