HONESTY MONTH: DAY 28: “Don’t spoil me with your lies, love me with your truth.” ― T.F. Hodge
I think my distaste for dishonesty began when I was a little kid. I hated that I knew my parents lied all the time. I HATED it.
When I got older and realized the extent of their lies, it gave me a fierce determination to love the truth. Recovery has softened my need to give out my honesty like I once did. That was always in the form of opinions, mostly unasked for. I gave them freely to a lot of people.
None of us wants that. No one wants to know what others think of them or their lives or their behavior or their choices.
It is popular in dysfunctional family structures for members to freely give opinions about other members, often behind their backs. This is very damaging as well. Honesty has nothing to do with opinions. They are not the same thing.
I developed a way of explaining this in groups many years ago. There was a popular theme being used in the military at the time of “Don’t ask, Don’t tell.” They used it around the issues of sexuality at the time. I began to use the phrase differently.
It applies to opinions. If I don’t ask someone and they insist on telling me what they think anyway, I let them know I did not ask. Then I tell them that I will practice “Don’t ask, don’t tell” with them and expect the same in return. After I say it 2 or 3 times, they either leave me the hell alone or learn to keep their opinions in their mouth.
Giving others an opinion without being asked is telling them that you have superior knowledge about something. If that is the case, it may be received well when asked for. If not, keep it in your mouth. It is a way of demeaning and for someone to feel superior over another.
We get a lot of opinions in recovery, whether we ask for them or not. The bottom line is this: NO ONE knows our journey. No one! And that means that they are basing their opinion on what they THINK, which can be terrifying. We all have our own truth inside us. Quiet and waiting for the Screaming Purple Monkeys to shut up so we can hear the voice of our own inner wisdom.
So your truth and your opinions and very different things. As are mine. It is important that we know the difference and practice keeping them quiet until they need to be expressed.