There is no persuasiveness more effectual

than the transparency of a single heart, of a sincere life.

~ Joseph Barber Lightfoot

I used to think that the word transparency, when associated with a human being, was such a negative connotation. I connected the word with a particular type of character, you probably know the one I’m taking about – the one dimensional person, seemingly devoid of any emotional depth or intellect, the guy or girl who you find yourself engaging in conversation with at a party, whilst concurrently thinking of ways to excuse yourself from the vapid dialogue. Yet recently, I’ve grown to realise that transparency of character isn’t always such a negative trait to possess, and that the definition of transparency, “light passing through with clarity”, rings so very true to me, for it’s something that, in the past year, I’ve started to embrace from the warmth of my soul.

Transparency of character can be a fine line, it’s easy to over-step boundaries and expose yourself to others in a way which leaves you feeling vulnerable and robbed of self worth, or the opposite, you can choose to contain yourself, to offer little or nothing to others, and live a life free of emotional fervour and emotional dexterity. I, for one, used to be the master of both methods; I would bounce, like a ping-pong ball in an empty room, between giving everything and giving nothing. I had no rule to this approach, and I guess this was because, as I’ve discussed in previous posts, I had no sense of self and I constantly searched for acceptance from others, completely unaware that I should have been looking for it within myself.

I recently finished a counselling course, a profession I hope to follow in the future, and on the course I learned that one of the most important attributes of humanistic counselling is congruence – a genuineness of character, free from a façade. Unlike other therapists, who often remain a “blank screen” and reveal little of their own personality to their client, a humanistic counsellor is present and transparent, therefore creating an environment where trust, openness, honesty and authenticity is highly prevalent within the relationship. I’ve learnt so much from this concept, more than I ever thought I would, and I continually endeavour to embody the foundation of this theory in my everyday life. My relationships, with my partner, family, friends and even strangers, have improved dramatically; I now greet people with an open heart and mind, free from judgement and excessive-caution. I’m still learning, of course, and I’m certainly not perfect at it, but I’ve become much more proficient in the art of compassion and acceptance, and I believe that this has become possible because I have allowed myself to be transparent and to let people in, to see the real me, even in the moments when I feel at my most ugly and unlovable – and I’ve found that no matter what they see, the light always passes through with clarity.