“I’m just being honest”
How many people do we know say that right before they say something pretty hurtful? I can think of a few. I’m pretty sure I’m a culprit of doing this myself.
While being honest is an excellent quality to have as part of your repertoire, we can’t neglect that it can sometimes stem from a desire to cause someone pain, thus cloaking its true nature under the intent of being truthful. Of course, the truth does hurt sometimes, and often times the truth needs to be heard. But we can control how that truth is packaged. Words can cut like knives and you can very easily bury your relationship with the verbal cuts of a “truthful” tongue.
So are you being honest or are you using it as a platform to gleefully throw knives at someone from behind the force-field of “honesty”? Here’s how to distinguish between the two: If you want to be
an asshole the wrong kind of honest, then go ahead and stomp on that person you’re trying to hurt while pretending you’re doing them a favor by being honest. But if you want to be the right kind of honest, then evaluate the situation and balance your desire to be direct with the other person’s right to be treated with respect.
There is no need for the truth to be delivered in an overly harsh manner and certainly not at the expense of someone’s feelings. Whether you are masking your own insecurity by putting someone else down or lashing out in anger, the way in which you choose to package and deliver your words in the heat of a storm says more about you than your claims of taking the moral high ground. Sure, it feels good to expunge your negative energy under the veil of honesty, but know that you’re not inherently trying to benefit the other person and that you may very well pay a terrible price for this temporary satisfaction.
Ask yourself the three things you must always ask yourself before you say anything:
1) “Does this need to be said?”
2) “Does this need to be said by me?”
3) “Does this need to be said by me now?”
Consider whether what you intend to say or do will be helpful and constructive to the other person and your relationship or not. If you’re speaking out of a place of anger, then you’re single-handedly tearing out the roots of that relationship. But if you’re speaking from the most vulnerable part of your emotional core that isn’t tainted by hurt, anger or sadness, then you’re turning conflict into connection, and fostering a relationship based on the right kind of honesty.
“Your conscience is the measure of the honesty of your selfishness. Listen to it carefully.”
— Richard Bach