Are you really who you say you are?
As you introduce yourself at holiday parties this year, what will you say? What’s your one-liner, your elevator pitch, the way you express what your big, magical life is all about?
I’m asking because communication and the Christmas season are like yin and yang.
And all of the mixing and mingling makes this the primetime to rock our authenticity and genuinely connect with others.
Parties with friends, dinners with family, cocktails with coworkers – this month is full of opportunities to connect and celebrate with the people we love.
But be mindful when people ask you the inevitable, “sooo… how’ve you been?” Notice what you say.
Are you really authentic? Or do you hide behind your job title, your credentials, your education? Do you just say your usual “schpeeel” then launch into a conversation about the weather?
Or are you real? Do you tell the truth about yourself? Do you share your authenticity or hide behind a created persona?
At 25, I consider myself an extrovert. I’m easily energized by spending time with people. I love talking, listening and learning about the perspectives and lives of others. I live for asking questions. I love going deep. If I met you today, I’d really like to get to know YOU. And I mean that.
But… there have been times in my life where I’ve been crippled by social anxiety. My childhood insecurities evolved into a constricting self-consciousness that hung over me like a cloud for most of my teens and into my early twenties.
I remember going to parties and sorority mixers, meeting new people and having two conversations: one out loud with them, and one in my head with myself.
I was constantly wondering if I said the right thing, offended them, sounded bitchy, triggered something touchy, went too far, sounded stupid, used the wrong word, wore the right outfit, made them think I was strange, drank too much, totally blew it, if they even cared about what I was saying at all.
How do you think that voice inside my head made me feel?
Just like you probably felt reading the paragraph above: fucking exhausted.
It takes SO much energy trying to be someone we’re not. Yet we all still do it.
Some of us in big ways, some of us in little ways.
Some of us get lost in elaborate lies and stories because of our inability to be authentic. Others hide behind fancy schmancy labels and let ‘em define them. Some talk themselves up, others put themselves down.
We’re all ducking and hiding in some ways from fully and totally embracing who we are.
This holiday season let’s call our own bullshit.
Let’s commit to being our WHOLE selves. Let’s NOT hide behind what we do, what we’re studying or who we’re dating. Let’s break away from our traditional labels and share what’s fresh and true.
Let your authentic self out of the closet this Christmas and SHINE.
Here are few quick tips to help you do just that…
Live to LISTEN: One of my biggest pet peeves is when people cut me off, or when I’m in a conversation and someone cuts someone else off. It shows me that they’re not really listening to my truth, but rather listening only to respond. It’s about them saying what they want to say, the conversation isn’t really about connection. As your boozing and schmoozing this Christmas, make a point to really listen to what people say. Be the witness for someone else’s greatness, hold the space for them to shine. Be curious, open and receptive to what they’re sharing. It makes all the difference.
Eye contact is EVERYTHING: When someone is talking to you LOOK AT THEM. Body language speaks louder than words. And if you’re scanning the room, checking your phone or looking at the floor while someone’s talking, you’re pretty much saying you’re not interested. That sucks. BE interested. Everybody has a story that will blow your mind or a piece of advice that could totally change your life. Give people your FULL attention this holiday season. Let them know your listening and that you care.
Embrace vulnerability: The holidays can really send our egos into overdrive. We often feel the need to embellish, talk ourselves up or downplay some of the tough stuff we’ve been through. Resist this urge. Instead, tell the truth! Be real. It’s authenticity that sparks connection, not the generic “ Oh you know… I’ve been good.”
Ask questions. This is my favourite thing to do! I love meeting someone interesting and asking them questions. It shows you’re engaged, and it also allows you to follow your own curiosities. Meet someone really cool and you love what they do? Ask them how they go started, what their first job was, where their passion stems from? Everybody has a story. EVERYBODY. My inner journalist still lives for these. Looking for a good list of out-of-the-box questions. My girl, Alexandra Franzen’s got ya covered.
Happy holidays, beauties! Get out there and create connection. Find new friends to laugh with, freshen up your bond with old friends, make time for your family – it all matters, it really, really matters.
Sending you SO much love this holiday season!!