How Habits of Honesty and Transparency Can Transform Your Life | Jennah Dohms | TEDxWhiteRock

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for years I was fueled by fear all I saw

when I looked in the mirror was

inadequacy all I saw was brokenness my

own and that of the world around me but

not anymore

today I want to share with you a

practice that helps me feel fully loved

and fully known something that isn't

always comfortable but I believe is

necessary it stems from the way that I

grew up I grew up in a small beautiful

town with loving parents and neighbors

who knew me by name my quaint town could

have been featured on a vintage postcard

but all that beauty was a veneer that

had brokenness much of the town was

actually adrift many of my friends and

even their parents sought grounding in

things like binge drinking and drugs

denying the realities around them so

much so that by the time I was 16 I

already had three close friends

threatened to take their own lives with

one succeeding these cycles continued

year after year in my small town and I

too felt adrift I secretly felt

worthless but felt compelled to pretend

like nothing was wrong so afraid of

being caught in the patterns of

destruction that I saw happening around

me I came up with a solution I self

diagnosed as the neighborhood anchor I

was the friend that people would call in

the middle of the night to cry to I was

the designated driver at every party and

I was the trustee volunteered every

community event

I grounded myself in busyness but it was

only my drug of choice i binge on

busyness and serving others like my

friends binge don cheap beer and it

wasn't until someone else my parents in

this case held up a mirror for me to

really examine myself did I not realize

how far from grounded I was and that I

was neglecting myself have you ever felt

adrift what's your drug of choice have

you ever wondered if people really knew


and if they did would they even care

I've wondered this often I've wondered

if potentially the answer could have

helped with all the silent suffering

that I saw and experienced and then I

found something I found something that

helps me with the answer it is this

accountability mutual accountability

with others I've learned that a mirror

constructed by our own perceptions does

not often portray an accurate image of

who we are it's clouded by pride or

insecurity fear inadequacy mutual

accountability means being transparent

and giving permission for others to see

the real you and for them to actually

tell you what they see years after I

left my small town I practiced this type

of accountability in a trio with two

women my age here are the rules

each week we ask each other ten

questions in a confidential environment

there is true transparency and honesty

with no judgment there's charity and

grace accompanied by strength I'll give

you an example of some of the questions

we ask and I encourage you to reflect

and think about how you would answer

some are more emotional

such as what bitterness or resentment

have you experienced and how are you

expressing a loving attitude or what

worries or concerns are you currently

facing others more practical like how

are you stewarding your spine ances and

some encouraging what is something to

celebrate what is something that you are

proud of my friend see me and I'm gonna

be honest sometimes I don't want to

enter the conversation with my trio it

can be brutal as I know that they may

have some hard truths for me to hear

that week and vice versa

but I think it's important to continue I

believe that in order to feel fully

loved we must feel fully known which

requires a certain level of honesty I do

not want to be simply known as a

picturesque postcard version of myself

but as the real and imperfect image of

me imagine if we all practice this what

would it look like for the spouse who's

tempted to have an affair with a

co-worker if they were being honest and

held accountable in this situation

imagine the business person who has the

option to cut corners and his work and

make an unethical choice imagine your

friends holding you accountable to your

own dream maybe it's becoming an artist

or going back to school and encouraging

you to take the next step my friends see

the real me they say what is hard to say

and often hard to hear but they have

also taught me that this can come from a

place of love and not of judgement and

there's an added bonus having these

questions in my head continually makes

me mindful through the week

I've learned I'm learning how to receive

criticism and not be so defensive about

my failures do you ever fear that you'll

wake up in ten years and not be proud of

what you see that you may be caught in

the very patterns that kept you from

achieving your dreams that fear is very

real for me but now when I wake up I

plant my feet firmly on the ground

putting one foot in front of the other

knowing that I will not be caught in the

habits that will keep me from moving

forward when I look back on myself in

that small town I wish I could tell her

that though those fears they may never

go away they will not leave her adrift

one day when she is older she will walk

in the company of others who challenge

her to be better but love her for who

she is and I'm not the only one who's

experienced this I've had mentors who

have practiced this type of

accountability for over 30 years as

they've walked through difficulty in

marriage job changes disease and even

death of loved ones so I challenge you

to reach out to two trusted peers with

whom you can practice mutual

accountability with no matter what age

or season of life having people love you

and challenge you and hold you

accountable can always be of benefit

even if it's not always comfortable

thank you