Oh man, honesty. That’s a big word with big meaning for a lot of people. What does it mean to be honest? Is being honest good or bad? Are you always honest? And more importantly, are you honest WITH YOURSELF?
If you had asked me five years ago if I was honest with myself I wouldn’t have hesitated before saying yes. I’m an incredibly blunt and forward person. Shyness has never been a character trait of mine and I’m known for my directness and some-may-say rude behavior. This quick-thinking honesty got me into SO much trouble in the past – every boss I ever had complained about how I offended people – my very NY-y directness was not always appreciated. Friends have been insulted or hurt by things I’ve said. I never say anything in malice, I just call ’em like I see ’em. Today, I’ve honed the craft of honesty. I don’t opine unless specifically asked and I’m pretty good about being honest with myself. There are still areas to work on, as ever, but for the most part, I’m comfortable with my own truths.
Hindsight is 20-20 though, right? It’s so much easier to see a situation when you’re not directly in the center of it. In past relationships (romantic, family, friends) I would be frustrated, angry, sad and not say a word. I did what my ex-bf labeled “being a clam” and got really quiet, retreating into my own head. I felt ashamed when I had a strong negative reaction, so rather than owning it (Hey, I’m a sensitive baby! Hey, I’m jealous! Hey, I think I’m fat!) I would deny it to whomever I was with and even myself. It wasn’t until I sat my ass down in at my therapists when I was 34 that I started uncovering the truth.
How many of you do this? How many of you say it’s OK when it’s not? If someone forgets to show up, doesn’t say happy birthday, doesn’t help clean the house – and you say “That’s OK,” stop and ask yourself….is it? It’s time for you to start showing up in your own life. Don’t self-sabotage. You want the most HONEST version of yourself presented at all times. And here is why……the real big doozy of the day:
You MUST be honest with yourself so that others can decide if they want to be around you or not! (Not to mention you want to be honest so you can live a JOYFUL AUTHENTIC life.) What good is being someone you ‘think’ you should be in order to fulfill a role? (Hint: It’s won’t bode well for you in the long run.) You also want people around you who are honest so you can decide if you want to hang around them – it works both ways. We all know someone who reads as disingenuous or fake and GOD BLESS THEM because they are giving us a beautiful gift by showing a glaring example of what it feels like to be around someone who is not honest and authentic.
The trick is getting quiet and actually BEING honest. You must do away with what your parents/friends/society tell you to be feeling and move to a more centered place where you can discern what you ARE feeling. Do you need tips on how to do this? Hit me in the comments.
Here, a story to highlight a common lie that can self-sabotage……….
“I’m fine.” Last night my bf came home and was a real grump. I was so happy to see him he greeted me with a quick kiss and 2 back-to-back critiques on how I was cooking his dinner wrong. ‘Uh….ok, dude. Go on with your bad self,’ I thought. But I let him be and retreated into the kitchen until he cooled off. Later, after he ate, he came into the kitchen and hugged me from behind asking if everything was ok. On the tip of my tongue, I heard ‘I’m fine’ but I stopped myself immediately, recognizing the lie and simply calmly said “Totally…..I’m just hiding in here because you came home and jumped down my throat and it was unpleasant. I was waiting for the air to clear.” He insisted he didn’t jump at me, but he did and he knows he did and honestly, no big deal. We all have bad days/hiccups/grumpy time, I love this man and I knew it wasn’t anything I’d personally done.
But it could have gone the other way, right? I could have said I’m fine and he’d think….’GREAT – dodged that bullet’ and then feelings go unexpressed. This is how emotional scars start – with small little things that deepen over time. Best to get it out! It’s not big whoop! That said…….drum roll……you are SELDOM “fine”. Dig around a little. Be real. When we operate at a high level of honesty, we subtly demand that everyone around us behave the same way.
If you’re not honest with yourself, how can you expect people to be honest with you? You owe yourselves and your partner the most genuine person you can be, so that everyone can make an informed choice. Fly your freak flag! If your partner/parent/friend doesn’t like it, they can decide how to deal moving forward. That’s not your business and it shouldn’t be your concern. You don’t want to spend a lot of time and energy with people who don’t love you for you anyway! Don’t worry if people fall off – more will be called in. Make room for joy.
You should be concerned with YOU. What do you need emotionally in order to feel happy? There is a difference between saying “I want to have quality time at home with you at least 2 nights a week” (which makes a demand on another persons time and sounds like an ultimatum) versus “I want to feel that we are connecting intimately as a couple” (which simply states what you require as an individual). It’s always a feeling we are after, not an experience. When we feel good, we live good – the beauty comes in identifying and communicating what makes us feel good.
Articulate that freely. BE HONEST. You may just be surprised at the outcome – odds are, you’ll simply get what you want. A very satisfying and fulfilling thing to get!