Recent events have reminded me that openness, or the lack of, can be seen and used in many ways. Conclusions drawn, accusations hurled, and hurt recognized before questions are asked. Whatever your view might be, life reminds me that it is good to reflect on openness
Perception. My observation is that when someone thinks (perceives) that one is not being open, the natural conclusion is negative. The person or institution my not be hiding or trying to deceive. My natural instinct is negative. If there was nothing to hide, then why not be open? Life reminds me that I should never presume. Another’s attention and focus may simply be on something else. Another explanation is simply that one does not want to push awareness on someone else – it is either not appropriate or it could be an act of respect.
Abuse. Several painful instances still haunt me where another’s openness was used as a weapon. In one case, by rubbing the reality of a ongoing saga in my face, I found myself inundated. It was painful! In another, it was an attempt to exude power and manipulate my response. While I was not immune to the pain, I did find a way to absorb much of it in learnings.
Unintended consequences. If situations of too little or too much, I find myself guessing at how I could have handled the situation differently. I have yet to find a consistent lesson with this. In hindsight, I would have behaved differently. The “but” rests in awareness and knowing. In both, I am not sure how I could have seen more than I did.
My reflection leaves me with questions and answers. What is my approach when I discover a truth that others could have been more open with? How do I respond when others abuse openness, using it as a weapon? What about unintended consequences, where do they fit? Finally, how do I approach God with this? David’s comment rings true; “Look at him [God]; give him your warmest smile. Never hide your feelings from him.” (Psalm 34.5)