Give Off the Whiff of Authenticity

smell goodI rolled up at the Genius Bar today for a fortuitously timed appointment. I set up the reservation last week because I had cracked my screen. Then yesterday morning, I dropped the phone in the toilet.

When my genius, Dan, asked me what I needed help with, I copped to my poor phone caretaking. There was no hiding anyway—my screen looked like a spider web and the phone wouldn’t even turn on.

But Dan was trying to give me an out. My kids must have dropped it, right? Nope. Were you having a crazy day? Not especially.

The fact is, I’m crap with phones. I don’t love this about myself, I don’t consider it a badge of honor. (At least I have learned to purchase Apple Care!) But my clumsiness is my stuff. There’s no point in denying it, or trying to pawn the blame off on someone else.

And honestly, there’s no reason to. As strongly as your ego may clamor to pretend like you can do no wrong, it doesn’t do you any good to act like you’re more together, or smarter, or what have you, than you are.

In fact it keeps you distant from other people. Because they can sense that there’s something off about you. Allow me to let Mary Karr, the whiz memoirist who wrote The Liar’s Club, Cherry and my all-time fave, Lit, say it in her inimitably salty way. (This is an excerpt from her new book, The Art of Memoir.)

“You need both sides of yourself—the beautiful and the beastly, to hold a reader’s attention. Sadly, without a writer’s dark side on view—the pettiness and vanity and schemes—pages give off the whiff of bullshit.”

And you don’t really want to give off the whiff of bullshit, do you?

Yeah, me neither.

Today I challenge you to own up to one of your shortcomings. “Sorry, I wasn’t listening.” “Whoops, that just completely slipped my mind.” “I can be spacey sometimes.” Notice how it feels. And how the person you’re talking to reacts. I guarantee it will change the energy.

And if you feel like the person is judging you for it, take that as a sign to spend less time with that person! Seriously. You don’t want to hang out with people who prefer the whiff of bullshit, do you?

Yeah, I didn’t think so.

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