I really value honesty. I realise that I value it more than I should at times or that it trumps other values I have when maybe it shouldn’t.
This isn’t easy to write about, obviously, because I keep going back and holding down the delete key. What am I trying to say? How do I make my thoughts clear?
A long while back I wrote a post about friendships, particularly ones that seem to be “high maintenance”, but never published it. I felt uneasy that it would be taken the wrong way. That my honest thoughts about how I was feeling would be taken as personal criticism instead of me just talking about how much work it seemed I was doing to make the friendship work and it still wasn’t feeling rewarding. Of course labelling the friendships that take a lot of work in this particular way, “high maintenance” doesn’t help if I don’t want offence taken. I’ve never been good at sugar coating my thoughts, even though my intentions are often coming from a “good” place. I refuse to lie and I really don’t want to come off as inauthentic. This fact leads me to say less than I could, even though I know that at other times I’m prodigiously wordy- or at least my husband would say so. I digress (again).
Where was I? Honesty. Right. I value this a great deal. I get so frustrated when family and friends are “nice” instead of saying something uncomfortable, hint instead of speaking their mind or put something off because they didn’t really want to do it the first place instead of saying so outright. When this happens, I feel disappointed because I’d like honesty and mutuality between us.
Lately there was been a lot of talk, on and offline, about how hard it is to grow up in a society and culture that makes it difficult to not only act honestly but even more to the point, where we have long ago lost track of how we honestly feel. We don’t recognise our own feelings because we were conditioned to suppress the hard (angry, upset, hurt) ones. Our loved ones didn’t know how to and/or didn’t want to deal with how we felt. We would then fear repercussions to our honest hard feelings. Will people still want to be around us? Will they hear what we’re saying about ourselves or only hear criticism towards themselves, even though it has nothing to do with them? Will we be told to get over it, move on, try and “think on the positive side” or otherwise sweep these valid feelings under the rug?
I’ve said more times than I can count, “if you can’t/don’t want to/this is a bad time/won’t work for you… please tell me. It’s not a big deal.” I really value honesty. I am willing to hear something I may not want to hear! I’m willing to listen to the real feelings going on for my loved one, even the hard ones, without taking offence! I would love to be told that you can’t or don’t want to do something instead of being lead to believe the opposite!
I’d like to make a better effort at doing the same instead of staying silent for fear of how my loved one will take it. When I’ve noticed that I’ve been told what someone thinks I want to hear rather than the truth, I’ve lost a little trust that they’re willing to hear the truth from me. I want to build trust with my loved ones so we can be honest with each other. I want each of us to be willing to look deeper into what is said and not just jump to conclusions or take offence where none is given. I want us to find the intention behind each other’s words and/or to help explore what needs are being met or not met resulting in the feelings expressed.