Thursday Chatter by amri

Good Morning Flamelings!

Let’s talk about your relationship with honesty.

I have difficult relationship with it.  I am brutally honest, almost to the point of being mean.  I don’t do it to be mean but I have a very firm belief that if I’m going to say something, I’m going to be honest.  I simply do not have the memory to spin a tale of lies that I will need to keep up with.  I think I expect people to want to know the truth about whatever it is we’re talking about whether the new restaurant in town is overpriced or some gossip that occasionally comes my way.  I also take this approach in every relationship I have: coworkers, family, friends, lovers.  Honesty is one of my strong core values that shapes my day, my week, my life.

A few months ago I confided in a friend something that I felt he should know about me.  I had just broken up with my long term relationship days before my friend had texted me and was already feeling rather vulnerable.   I had done it to try to protect myself.  We have a very honest relationship and have talked about things that I have never told anyone else before in my life.  I trust him.

This week that honesty from a few months ago ended my friendship with him.  A 10 year long one.  I feel betrayed and hurt and a little mad at both of us that I felt safe in our understanding and it turns out that it wasn’t a safe environment.

It made me think about honesty and the way I approach it.  I’ve hurt feelings accidentally, probably shared WAY too much information on numerous times, and now a friendship has ended.  It’s shaken me enough to wonder if I’m really on the right path.

What’s your relationship like with honesty?  Do you think there’s a time and place for it such as saying little white lies?    Have you ever had your heart broken for being too honest?

Reminders:

Voting deadline for Utopia: Unity is Thursday, January 22nd 11:45pm EST (tonight).  Show some love to the Flamelings that got inspired.

Submission deadline for Utopia: Tradition & Ritual  is Sunday, January 25th 11:45pm EST.

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5 Responses to Thursday Chatter by amri

  1. Jess says:

    I could write a book on this if you let me go on and on. I wrote a lot, I apologize if you don’t like seeing a huge chunk of text here. Thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts on this.

    Honesty is really hard for me to think about, not because I’m a fan of lying or anything; I really love this post because it illustrates my ideal way of being in relation to honesty. I want to be that person who is “brutally” honest, I look up to people who are. I don’t like making other people feel bad but I also feel that I wouldn’t be a good person if I didn’t share my feelings/express my concerns. Despite this I find it really hard to share my true feelings. 1) I’m an introvert and it’s hard for me to talk about serious things with everyone, my family, my fiancee, friends, everyone. 2) I’ve done the little white lie thing for so long it’s hard to break the habit. 3) A lot of times I don’t feel brave enough to say how I feel because either no one is going to listen to me or they’re going to twist what I said and make me look like the bad guy.

    I’ve recently made a commitment to Buddhism, I spent the last decade refusing to participate in any kind of spiritual path because who needs it? Life is too messed up, seriously, I thought this. But one of the practices I’ve picked up through Buddhism is that everyone is allowed to share how they feel, including me.

    I’ve kept what I consider a big secret from my entire family for also about 10 years, every time someone came close to the subject of the secret I would lie, make up completely fake stories to get them off the trail. It was really hard to do and last year I couldn’t lie or keep the secret anymore and I told my mom. Once I did I felt that being honest, loving myself and others enough to speak honestly wasn’t unattainable. But I do still have trouble. I’m torn between tracking everyone down who I have ever lied to and telling them everything and leaving the past in the past and “from now on” be brutally honest. Now, would you really want someone who you haven’t spoken to in 7 years to come up to you and say: “Hi! 15 years ago I told you that you should go out with that guy when I really thought he was a jerk but you looked so happy when you thought about him that I wanted you to be happy but it’s all okay now because y’all split and you’re free now and I know you still aren’t over him but you really need to try (even thought I shouldn’t assume that she hasn’t been trying to get over him because she probably has and soul crushing things are seriously hard to get over) and if you open up you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for.” Do you think that would make your day any better?

    I don’t think I’ve had my heart broken by being honest in this chatter’s context but I have had my heart broken by lying. Looking back on my last relationship I realize I lied to myself a lot because I wanted the relationship to work. Last year I got a divorce because things got so bad that no matter how well I lied to myself, I couldn’t cover up the bad things. So when I found the inspiration to be brutally honest with myself and my ex, I vastly improved my quality of life.

    In summary, I feel like there are some people with whom being brutally honest works, if you don’t make all involved parties feel better by it you at least make yourself feel better. But there are also people who, I feel, being brutally honest won’t do any good because they are so wrapped up in whatever is going on that they 1) don’t want to change 2) will call you out as the bad guy for disagreeing with them or attacking them or 3) you’ve spent so much time around their drama that you just don’t want to deal anymore.

    So I’d like to finish with another question: How do you deal with those people who you want to tell how you really feel but you don’t think it would do any good?

    In Buddhism I practice Deep Listening, which is listening to someone and not offering any advice but understanding and being there for them. Then, by understanding where they come from, you can show them compassion and tell them how you feel.

    Why do you think there are people you can do that for and people you can’t?

    Thanks!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. amricatt says:

    Thanks Jess for your input. I didn’t find it a wall of text at all! It’s a tricky subject and I debated whether to post it or not.

    I, too, am very introverted and therefore private so I tend to be on the side of things where I don’t talk. But as my post details, when I do talk, I am blunt and have a hard time sugar coating anything if anyone asks for my opinion.

    I don’t have any answers to a lot of the points you brought up. My relationship that just ended taught me that I need to express my feelings when something is bothering me. I can’t be there for everyone else and not give anyone a chance to be there for me. I started opening up more to significant people in my life, including my ex, in my typical blunt way. I would reherse and lay it like I was arguing in some debate, giving reasons what I thought I was feeling that way. It seems ridiculous to say it that way but it helps me. It also gives me a sense of being selfish which is also hard to get over.

    I think you should express how you’re feeling, thinking, experiencing to those you feel safe doing so, whether they will take it to heart or not. There are a lot of people whose drama does get in the way but you could be surprised.

    Now I’ve written a wall of text. I’ll leave the comment with this. I have a very extroverted friend who is very dramatic in everything she does. It’s exhausting to even just have lunch with her but I love her and she does provide me with some contrast in life. It took me years to start expressing my opinions and feelings but once I did, our friendship deepened. Our time together is spent with her drama but it’s now also spent with my opinions and thoughts and sometimes feelings, as harsh as they can be at times too.

    Like

    • Jess says:

      One of the hardest things I’ve had to do is allow myself to express my feelings to other people. I think it’s a very important thing and I feel like only bad things come from bottling up feelings and emotions.

      I’m glad you and your extroverted friend have a good relationship and that positivity came out of your sharing your opinion 🙂

      Thanks for sharing 🙂

      Like

  3. It’s a shame that your friend couldn’t handle honesty.

    I struggled all through my youth with this problem… and got whacked across the mouth by my grandmother once or twice for speaking the truth out loud. She thought I was just being intentionally rude, and rudeness would not be put up with. In an effort to be “polite” I developed the habit of lying to myself as much as being gentle with other people.

    Real wisdom on the subject only came with age, unfortunately, but only after a serious fracture in my marriage. And with that infusion of wisdom I get a sensation of utter yuckiness when I lie for the sake of someone’s feelings. Even for my own.

    Yuckiness is to be avoided.

    What I realized is that most of the time I wasn’t honestly speaking the honest truth for the sake of clarity or progress. Instead, I was making certain that everyone just heard what I had to say. My opinion was very important, and it was important that everyone be clear on that.

    I find it necessary to do an almost daily reevaluation of my behavior, and a daily recalculation of the value of my words. Sometimes it’s just best for me to nod and smile, because the truth is, my opinion is not always going to help elevate a situation. I nod and smile quite a bit around my boss and several blood relatives. This does not cause the intense burning pain I once feared silence might.

    As Jess said, my heart has never been broken by honesty. And I’m fairly certain I haven’t broken anyone’s heart by silently withholding my opinion until the right words are well formulated, and the right time arises for them to be spoken.

    Best wishes to you.

    Like

    • Jess says:

      I really like the idea of a daily re-evaluation type thing. And you made a very good point about withholding opinions until you have the right words. That’s a great thing to do. I sometimes rush and hurt someone’s feelings because I don’t wait to get all my thoughts together and I want to solve the problem now.

      I have to do the smile and nod thing a lot too because there are family and community members who have different beliefs and get very defensive when people share different opinions, like the liberal vs. conservative stuff, I’ve found there’s not a lot I can do either way to minimize distress to myself except not say anything (unless there’s something outrageous like a fight going on) and the kind of honest dialogue that I want won’t be appreciated by those people so I keep quiet and leave as soon as possible lol.

      Thanks for sharing 🙂

      Like

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