The Truth About Honesty

BAD! Kitty Art Studio
Perhaps you can relate – you tell someone the way you feel in a very matter-a-fact way and then you sum it up with, “I am simply being honest.” You believe that the word ‘honesty’ is sacrosanct and that by uttering it, you’re off the hook. You believe it should prevent the other person from getting hurt. But to your surprise, oftentimes it doesn’t.

While it’s wonderful to be truthful, it can come back around and bonk you in the head. Here are some things to remember about honesty:

Honor Your Privacy
I used to feel somewhat guilty or disloyal for not divulging all. I felt compelled to spill all the beans. But now, I realize that there’s a difference between honesty and openness. Sometimes the truth doesn’t serve the greater good. Consider this scenario: your new beau suggests you dine at a certain sushi restaurant. The eatery reminds you of your ex. The one you’re still not completely over. You used to go there all the time. Your new guy is the jealous type. Which response do you chose?

a) You’re brutally honest and tell him how you and Sammy used to feed each other spicy tuna rolls in the back booth. (That would be both open and honest!)

b) Lie a little even though your partner has noticed a difference in your demeanor. (That would be both closed and dishonest)

c) Admit that you’re experiencing some residual feelings about your past but that it has nothing to do with him and you’re not ready to share them. (Closed but honest).

Option C allows you to set necessary boundaries. It’s healthy to keep things to yourself and doing so should not be confused with dishonesty. It’s called privacy.

Examine Your Motives
Do you share your feelings as a weapon all under the guise of being honest? There must be at least one instance where you’ve used the truth to hurt or manipulate another. Months after my boyfriend and I broke up, I told him I was going out on a date. “I’m just being honest,” I told him. But to be honest, I just wanted to see if he still cared by gauging whether the truth hurt him. Maybe look at your own anger or your desire to punish? Why are you really telling someone the truth?

Exercise Tact and Consideration
A good word to remember in conjunction with honesty is “tact.” Tact implies that you’re thinking of the other before you open your trap. While it’s great to be free and impulsive sometimes, it’s mature to realize that words have energy and impact. It’s wise to think about how you’re going to say things. And it’s also wise to think of the consequences that might ensue. Telling my ex boyfriend that I had a date only pushed him further away when what I wanted was the opposite. Exercise discretion. And ask yourself, “will the information I want to share hurt the other for no good reason?” If you’re intentions are pure and you can deliver them in a respectful way, then go for it. With tact, we exercise more choices. We don’t let our unconscious lead us to impulsive action while we rationalize it as being honest. Be honest without giving it all away.

Take it with a Grain of Salt
If you are the recipient of brutal honesty, it’s wise to take the information with a grain of salt. Perhaps the person is being malicious or perhaps the person doesn’t know the meaning of tact. Use your intuition and try not to take the truth in an ultra personal way. Maybe they don’t know any better. Perhaps you can even ask them point blank, what their motives are for bearing it all.

By exercising restraint, tact and mutual understanding all things can be worked out.
Telling the truth is hard to sometimes do, sometimes it’s even harder to NOT do as well. I have learned and am still learning the whole set of rules around this issue and yes it’s caused some grief and stress in my life. Being raised in the south, and learning manners as a child…I thought that I could not get angry…it just wasn’t right for females to do. Then as an adult and having years of not expressing myself honestly with people, I became what they call brutally honest. During that phase of my life I learned how to moderate my emotions, to be civil, to not always say exactly what was on mind…all the time. Recently I had to revisit this lesson in my life and to be ‘honest’ it really stressed me out to the extreme. I need to talk about my feelings, I also have to continue to learn moderation and self control at times…I am only human. To become the very best me I can become I have learned that when you act in a wrong way, it’s damned uncomfortable but still necessary to be honest about it and fess up, say you are sorry and mean it. Forgiveness is not something we get from other people, or that we give away…it’s a gift we give to ourselves. So, recently I had to think long and hard about my actions, and then be willing to admit where I was wrong, and then give myself a break and forgive myself for my stupid actions. That does not mean I got off easy, because I will have to in the future remember this lesson when faced with the situations that arise in life…and I have to remember my embarrassment at having acted out in a way that is against my own nature. While researching the nature of honesty and trying to discover why I acted the way I did…I put these things together…I am human, not perfect and not trying to be. We all make mistakes, and sometimes it’s in telling too much truth.
I hope you all have a happy Sunday,
BAD! Kitty says…think before you speak! 🙂
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