Clean and Elegant

Clean and Elegant

Monday, 6 June 2016

Why I Am Like Oprah: A Response to Adam Grant's "(...) 'Be Yourself' is Terrible Advice"

A successful writer from the New York Times says, “Unless you’re Oprah, ‘be yourself’ is terrible advice.” In a moment of deep authenticity, author Adam Grant claims that “Nobody wants to see your true self. We all have thoughts and feelings that we believe are fundamental to our lives, but that are better left unspoken."

I would tend to disagree. Also, since when is Oprah the epitome of authenticity?” My sense is she is somewhat performative. The benefits of being yourself depend on how charming and delightful you are.
Oprah Lives Her Best Life. These days, we have similar hair.
According to Grant, “Authenticity means erasing the gap between what you firmly believe inside and what you reveal to the outside world.” For me the gap is tiny, and possibly non-existent. I take pride in this gaplessness, even if my life has not been as lucrative or famous as Oprah’s. Eventually, life pays off. After four years, my highly authentic self-help book, “I Let Go” earned 100 bucks in royalties. I used the money to buy a delightful pink and purple polka dot duvet cover which, along with its enveloped duvet, I do my best to hump regularly, despite Prozac’s adverse sexual side effects.
Duvet Dreams
Why I am like Margaret Atwood and what I don't gain from humping duvets.
These days, perhaps due to my excessive and reprehensible authenticity, I don’t tend to work all that much. Unlike the rest of this manic planet, I am not particularly busy. As a result, I possess something that almost nobody else has. Not Oprah, not Adam Grant, not even Margaret Atwood. It’s called time.

One of my favourite things to do with my time is to talk to my friends and loved ones about their lives. Although I may seem like a chronic and narcissistic verbal machine gun, in fact, I happen to have both listening skills, and friends. As fate would have it (a phrase that frequently emerges in my most authentic word choices), many of these friends like to tell me about their problems.

From what I can tell, some of the most painful situations emerge from certain friends’ inability to be transparent and honest about their personal lives. Having to conceal what’s really going on looks like an exhausting and impossible burden.

Deceit may make the world go round, but it also causes people to die inside, one to one billion cells at a time.

That’s why I canned things with the Married Man. I felt it was causing other people’s cells to die.

According to Adam Grant, “No one wants to hear everything that’s in your head. They just want you to live up to what comes out of your mouth.” According to me, these two things do not have to be mutually exclusive. (“Mutually exclusive” is another one of my higher authentic self’s most genuine expressions.) More importantly, I would be delighted to hear everything that’s in your head. It would be a privilege. If your head needs hearing, I am here to listen, any day of the week. Hit me up and we can meet for doughnuts. Or performative grilled cheese. Or a nice long people walk.

“Be yourself” is not terrible advice. If our authentic selves cause various structures to collapse, perhaps they were already due for the crumbling. A world without radical honesty feels tragic to me. For this reason, I resolve to be myself for the rest of my life. Lucrative, prestigious, intellectual, coherent, full sentences, or not. Feel free to join me and Oprah.
The End.

Unless You're Oprah, "Be Yourself" is Terrible Advice, by Adam Grant
Brené Brown's response to "Unless You're Oprah, 'Be Yourself' is Terrible Advice."
Also, there is Butt Club tomorrow at Parc Laurier. 6 PM, north of the pool.

Exuberant Bodhisattva on Facebook
Twitter: @mypelvicfloor

I Let Go by Erica J. Schmidt

Performative Crying in Alleys
Performative Text Messages
The Performative Love Letters
Still Me
Why I Am Like Jane Fonda

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