“The most important ingredient we put into any relationship is not what we say or what we do, but what we are.” Stephen R Covey
And Covey went on to say that when what we portray is the result of our compliance with the Personality Ethic, where compliance with fads, trends and fashions is more important to us than being our best as individuals, then our relationships will suffer.
If I was to say I have a deep distaste for men who are ‘camp’ to the degree that they are showy, overly expressive, flamboyantly dressed and so on – what would be your immediate response, even accusation? I won’t say it out loud, but I’d be willing to put a small bet on it.
What if, having allowed you the time to decide what you think I just said, I then went on to say I also have a deep distaste for overly loud, drunken, self-obsessed iron-pumping men who are overly-masculine just as much as I hate the aforementioned extreme?
The point I am trying to make is this – how can I trust someone who is so extreme on any continuum of showiness? If they are loud, brash, flamboyant and so on – what are they overcompensating for? What is the ‘big show’ about? Who is hiding behind all that showing off?
One caveat – once you are convinced that what you see IS what they are, then the potential for trust re-emerges. But until then, you can’t help wondering whether they are ‘like that’ all the time, and if not – what might they be like when you need to rely on them? Is the flamboyantly camp man going to turn up in a sober suit when you want him to be entertaining? Is the macho guy going to run away screaming when you need help in a crisis? (Remember that scene in the film Quadrophenia when the uber-Mod hero played by Sting turned out to be a fawning bell-boy?)
One of the things I learned reading personal development literature is about character, and how people can hide behind screens. How people can even take a negative situation like disability, depression, injury and disappointment and turn it into a badge of significance. How people will do anything to feel ‘special’, even to the point of self-destruction. For me, that kind of behaviour is the essence of ‘trendy’, ‘fashionable’ and ‘celebrity’. It’s very much about pretence, compliance with something outside of the self (whether it be groups or stereotypes) rather than creation of a genuine, substantial, individual and unshakeable character.
(That’s why I rant about:
- People waving their arms about when they talk because they do it on the telly – which came first? The arm-waving people or the BBC course on how to be an arm-waver?
- Use of the word ‘cool’ by people far too old to be ‘in with the kids’. Specifically 30.
- Guests on BBC News wearing a suit but no tie – WHY?
- Fads – remember loom bands? Gone ALREADY!
- One Direction – name one of their songs. Blowed if I can.
- Reality TV – because it isn’t.
- Rant over.)
My own objective, and one in respect of which I frequently fall short, is to wholly be a person of integrity and good character and entirely trustworthy. I want people to know I am a person of worth by actually becoming a person of worth. Not by pretending to be someone I am not, or by hiding.
As I said, I frequently fall short. But I will never stop trying.