Honestly, Honesty is a Good Thing
So, maybe we should stop gaslighting it.
As kids, we were masters of displaying emotions. We said and did exactly as we felt. We didn’t like something, we would let you know. When we were in a bad mood, it was on full display to the world. When we didn’t want to talk to someone, we simply did not.
Somewhere along the lines, we were trained on how to “appropriately” handle our emotions. We were taught how to behave “better” around our friends, families, and others. And often, this meant stamping down one of the most important traits that start off as the most natural to us — our Honest selves.
“Don’t tell Grandma you don’t like her cake. It’ll hurt her feelings.”
And then it began.
We learned to distrust our instincts and restrict our honest reactions to the people and world around us. No longer do we clearly proclaim our dislikes unless it is with a close-knit group of friends or within the safety of some social platform. And even then, we don’t do our Honest selves true justice.
And I don’t mean honesty used to mask malicious intent. Not at all — we can speak the truth without using it for mere cruelty and entertainment.
Instead, we end up constantly doing things we don’t like including sticking around people we don’t really care for, taking classes we secretly hate, applying for jobs we will abhor going to. All because being an adult apparently means disconnecting from your Honest self.
And over time, the gaslighting of our Honest selves increases. We sometimes discredit our honesty by relegating it to an untamed emotional relic from our childhood. We minimize her relevance in helping us make daily and often important decisions that shape our own world and happiness. We lie and tell her that we will listen by sharing her thoughts and concerns with the people who may actually need to hear them…but maybe next time.
What we actually need to do is eliminate the mindset that being a good person and responsible adult has to mean being less honest. We have to undo the damage that has created generations of people who are unable to tolerate the honest truth.
Hearts should not be broken to hear that Grandma’s cookies taste like mud or that dad’s chicken is a little burnt. Pink slips shouldn’t be considered for saying that a plan at work sounds like absolute crap. Friend cards should not automatically be revoked for admitting to disliking someone’s new love interest.
Most importantly, without a foundation based on honesty, we will continue to lose the ability to develop true and deep connections with others. And we will continue to live a shadow version of our own lives.
Maybe it’s time that we welcome our Honest selves with open arms, and allow her to shape a brighter, happier, clearer version of our own world.
Embrace Your Honest Self — Go Ahead and…
- Tell your sister that her hair color isn’t flattering.
- Tell that your friend that you see warning signs in their relationship.
- Tell your coworker that he needs to pull a bit more weight on your team’s project.
- Tell a loved one that when they do _________ it makes you feel ignored, unloved, unimportant, angry, or sad.
- Tell your partner that you’re overwhelmed and need a break.
Until we are in a society that is more appreciative and accepting of honesty, people will continue to be too sensitive to the truth in ways that continue to be detrimental. False niceties, fake smiles, and civil handshakes will continue to rule our interactions with the people around us.
We will continue to accept the lie that staying unhappy is part of life. We will continue allowing our lives to be shaped by others. And we will continue to expend countless energy navigating around our own feelings and emotions to accommodate the needs of those probably most undeserving.
Maybe it’s time we try breaking away from that, one honest moment at a time.