Last night I had dinner with two new friends, we will refer to them as the "A's." Anyways, we were talking about our current lives and how people in them are going through personal journey's, ourselves included. Two words were repeatedly mentioned: honesty and trust. Today, I'm going to discuss honesty.
Lately, in my life, the word "honest" has been tossed out more than Trump tweets but with the same negativity. It's allowed me to reflect on what it actually means to be honest. After some internal reflection and discussion with friends, I've come to the conclusion that there are two types of honesty.
There is the weapon version and the healing version.
In it's truest form, honesty is supposed to be a way to heal and to grow. But, this growth is all dependent on how it is delivered to you AND how you internalize it. For me personally, the remarks directed toward me recently such as: "I'm just being honest," "Isn't it nice to be honest?" "Wouldn't you rather me be honest?" have all been used as weapons, maliciously. They have been delivered to me with the intent of hurting me, shoving me away, or proving a point out of selfishness.
I'll be truthful, each remark gave to me followed by the phrase "I'm just being honest," was just another grenade thrown at the wall of defense over my heart. It hurt like hell, the wall is down and I'm trying to heal. So far, it's not working.
Normally, what I would have done would be to retaliate with anger and spite. To try to hurt the other person just as bad as they hurt me. But, I didn't and I won't. Instead, I thought about why people decide to be brutally honest. Here is what I've come up with so far.
7 Reasons why people use "honest" as a weapon from the minds of society, my friends and me:
They are emotionally hurting and overwhelmed and it's causing them pain. People who are in pain tend to act like animals backed into a corner. Instead of trying to figure out why/what they are truly feeling, they lash out defensively. It's much easier to be defensive than it is to take a step back and see things objectively.
People who use honesty as a weapon are filled with shame about themselves and guilt for their past actions. They use the phrase, "I'm just being honest with you," because they refuse to be honest with themselves. There was a time in my life where I used to do this. Be "brutally honest" because I swore the other person was the problem when in reality, I was. I was holding onto so much anger and resentment toward myself that I projected it outward. It's taken me a long time to overcome this obstacle but now that I have, when I'm honest, it's strictly for the growth of others. It's not easy/wasn't easy but oh so worth it to overcome.
3. Lack Empathy
Empathy is one of those tricky things where you either have it or you don't. However, it can be taught and learned. Still, it's up to the person. People who use honesty as a weapon lack empathy. It's always the other person is doing this wrong because it's not how I would do it. Or they think, "I need to be brutally honest with this person because they aren't getting what I'm saying." Well, from personal experience, it's not that the person isn't understanding you, it's that you aren't understanding yourself and this is causing the disconnect.
There are underlying issues that subconsciously make them act this way and they can't see it. Something traumatic happened in their life previously to cause their brain to make brutal honesty a coping mechanism. It's easy to say what someone did but when you start to delve into the why that's where the true answer lies.
5. Inability to Forgive
Being angry and blaming someone else for how you're feeling is the simplest path. I've been there and thrown all my negative energy onto another. But I've learned to forgive. Forgiveness is as easy as breathing but as hard as a rock. It takes everything that someone has to truly forgive and when you don't have the energy you have to fuel yourself with something, so why not with brutal honesty?
6. Lack of Respect
This applies to both parties. The person giving the brutal honesty and the one receiving it. The giver lacks respect for both themselves and the receiver because to accept responsibility would mean changing and change has always been feared by people.
7. Fear of Conflict
Conflict is a trait that can be seen in every aspect of life. And when you refuse to learn to deal with it, that's where the real problem arises. Because at its core, conflict isn't your enemy, it's a tool provided to us to learn and to grow. To develop into kind people that can handle and react to any/all situations. So when someone fears and pushes away conflict, they are really pushing away growth and they resort to the weapon of honesty to hide away.
So, with all of that being said, take a minute and think back to the most recent time you were honest. Were you honest out of frustration and anger? Were you honest to prove a point? Were you honest out of defense? Or, were you honest because you were trying to foster growth? Trying to be kind to another?
Because you see, you should never be honest with someone out of spite, anger, or pain. If you do decide to be honest with someone it should be after a full evaluation of the situation. It's nearly impossible to be truly honest with another if you're not honest with yourself first. I know how easy it is to convince yourself that being honest no matter the costs is the answer but this isn't the case. We have a choice as to how we want to be honest. So, the next time you have the choice of being honest, make sure it's out of kindness and not pain. Make sure it's to foster growth and not harbor insecurity. Let's change the way we treat one another, together.