HONESTY MONTH: DAY 13: “You don’t always have to chop with the sword of truth. You can point with it too.” ― Anne Lamott
The phrase “brutal honesty” applies here. It is not necessary to practice this trait. As the saying goes, it is usually done by those who wish to be more brutal than honest. Telling the truth is something that only needs to be done: a) when we are asked to say something, b) when we are responding to someone’s query about something to do with us personally, or c) when we are asked to give an opinion. So there is no necessary time for brutality. If we feel we need to cut through someone’s denial, that is only if we are the person being asked to do so. Not a big fan of confrontations and other forms of interventions; because I do not see them as being particularly effective. That being said, there is always the possibility of making ourselves heard to someone who is interfering with our personal freedoms or infringing on us by violating our boundaries. That is a whole different conversation. However, when we are talking to someone and need to tell them how their behaviors are affecting us personally, we need to remember that we are talking about our FEELINGS, not our opinions. And if you are not sure which is which, silence is the best way to go. Being honest does not mean we have to lambaste someone or something we do not like. We can be honest by saying that we do not resonate with something. There is really never a need to hate it or go on and on about something being offensive to us. That is just being overly critical and abusive. There are folks who commit murder with their words and are quite nasty about things that they really don’t need to speak about at all. This is not honesty, just abuse. We have all had people tell us things that we do not grow from. I am happy to listen to someone who approaches me with a request for a different behavior or way of doing something because they have been offended or hurt by my way of saying it. I always listen. I seldom change what I do or say to accommodate others’ sensibilities, but I can listen to them. I believe that we all owe it to the world around us to listen politely if someone is expressing themselves politely. However, I will not listen to someone yelling at me or being nasty. There is nothing to be gained in that conversation. If they are upset, I ask them to talk to me after they have calmed down. And I remove myself from the room. If they do it again, I remove myself completely. There is nothing I can hear when someone is yelling. I appreciate feedback, especially from those who are trusted enough for me to ask it from them. We learn to navigate these waters in bits and pieces. For those who have trauma histories, it is more difficult to not react to the yellers of the world. Let’s all please be gentle and kind, for we are all here to grow and learn at our own pace. There is nothing so inherently wrong that it cannot be pointed to rather than having it chopped off. Peace.