Let’s Talk: The Art of Being Honest


I’ve been thinking about this post for months now, trying to decide whether or not to post. One little word that should allow us to be real 100% of the time can end up causing so much strife. Most of us are OK with little white lies here and there. “No, the skirt doesn’t make you look fat. Yes this is the best meatloaf/sugar cookie/brussel sprout side dish I’ve ever tasted.” There are those of us that want lies perpetuated. And there are those of us that are tired of indulging in the lies for the sake of ourselves and someone else, keeping us from being truly happy. It’s a vicious and exhausting cycle.

Growing up, I wasn’t taught true honesty – how to give it and more importantly how to take it. Of course I was taught never to lie, steal or cheat. But this isn’t the type of honesty I’m talking about. I’m talking about the rip open and pour salt into the wounds type of honesty that we as human beings never want to hear or deal with. I was taught to always be nice and to never say anything mean…ever. I was taught to tiptoe around everyone’s feelings (and everyone did the same to me). I was taught to keep things inside until I finally burst into an emotional tsunami, taking everyone down in my path.  I can’t even begin to tell you how this concept has hurt me along the way now as an adult, most often in the professional world and in my marriage. I was a doormat for so many years – staying late to do something that wasn’t my job to be nice, doing things I didn’t want to do so someone at work would like me, never saying No and ending up completely stressed out and beside myself, going along with whatever my husband wanted instead of standing up for what I wanted.  Looking back at those moments, I wasn’t being honest at all – not honest to the individuals around me and most importantly, not honest with myself. It’s an excruciating way to live, it really is.

And now at age 32, I cannot be anything but honest.  The minute my mouth opens and something completely against my new way of being comes out, my stomach ends up in knots.  I can’t do it. No, it’s not easy. It can actually be little bit lonely.  And yes, being honest can be hurtful to others. Most of the time, however, things aren’t said to be hurtful but helpful. If we really don’t ever want the truth, how can we  grow and become a better version of ourselves?  Why are we OK with others lying to us to keep us happy? Without the truth, we would just live in our little bubbles, never evolving, never taking risks, never improving ourselves. I most certainly want to be the best person I can be and to constantly evolve.  I want to know my faults, accept my faults and then get down and dirty on how to improve those faults. I want to be at peace with my shortcomings. I want to embrace my emotional, physical and spiritual “handicaps” instead of dwelling on them. I want honesty. I value honesty. And now days when someone is honest with me, I look at it as a gift.  And I get to choose what I do with that gift – to believe it, to accept it, to work on it or to discredit it.

One of my favorite bloggers, Grace from Stripes and Sequins, posted “The Invitation” by Oriah last week. If you’ve never read the poem, it’s a game changer….it really is. It inspired me to finally post and get this of my chest. My favorite line reads:

“It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself. If you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul. If you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.”

Can you disappoint another to be true to yourself? Can you say what is really in your heart to another and be prepared for what comes next? I’m in no way saying you should start running around and ripping the world apart and everyone in it. That’s not it at all. What I am saying is to take a hard look at yourself. Are you able to be honest with yourself? Do you accept honesty easily from others or do you cover your ears and start “La-La-Laing” to yourself to block out the sound?

Billy Joel said it best kids:

“I can always find someone
To say they sympathize
If I wear my heart out on my sleeve
But I don’t want some pretty face
To tell me pretty lies
All I want is someone to believe”

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