Honestly, are we ever Really Honest?

How many people have I unintentionally hurt by lying to protect them? When I am sparing someone’s feelings, am I actually saying they cannot handle the truth? This month’s theme at church is honesty, and the implications of this in my own life are huge.

honesty-pinnocchio-195x3001

I am a huge feelings-saver, saying “I cant wait to see you!” when I really mean “please cancel, I am tired and cranky and my jeans are too tight tonight but I don’t have anything else clean unless I pretend I am coming straight from work.” I say “I admire how steadfast you are” when I really mean “why cant you just give an inch this one time?”  Lies of this sort protect the immediate moment, but who really wins when I go out for an evening despite desperately needing sleep? The restaurant server making a $2 tip, otherwise no one.

I have always thought it was selfish to be honest, that it was better to suffer through a long afternoon with someone I don’t particularly care for then it would be to tell them I didn’t feel we were really connected. Hell, I can remember at least four romantic relationships that lasted months longer than they should have because I didn’t want to hurt my significant other’s feelings. I just added up the months from those relationships (I am sure there are more) and it adds up to 1.75 years. I spent 1.75 years of my life sparing people’s feelings, sleeping with the wrong person, pretending I was in it for the long haul. What a waste.

Today’s service crawled inside my skin, spread into my heart and took up residence in my psyche. This post feels half done, though. The resolution part, the piece where I do the work to become a more authentic person, is still percolating below the surface. So I guess this post is my first to be continued… Perhaps next week’s service will give some answers to the questions today’s service surfaced.

About TT&NB

Wife, Mother, grant writer, professional do-gooder and friend
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3 Responses to Honestly, are we ever Really Honest?

  1. Jan says:

    This was a great read…HONESTY ~ who knew it would provoke so much thought & introspection???

  2. Camille says:

    I used to be like you, and then I realized that being true to myself was the most important thing. I stopped seing friends I didn’t appreciate that much (I used to and it was totally wasting my time) and when they asked me why, as I didn’t want to get into endless lies, I told them the truth trying to say it “softly”. For so long I have been the nice person who did things just not to hurt someone’s feelings, now I prefer being true to myself (first, and then to them) and I have to say I appreciate my life much more now.

  3. Louise says:

    I think as I’ve gotten older I’ve gotten better at being honest where it’s most important – and also in not spending time/investing in relationships that I don’t really want to invest in because I feel I need to be “nice”. I’ve learnt investing in a few key relationships is better – and honestly – there are only so many hours in the day so I want to spend them with those I care most for (or, blogging, apparently).

    But as for honesty always? That depends. I think there’s a time and place for some of the more brutal honesties of life – and while yes, sometimes you need a good friend to be brutally honest with you, sometimes it isn’t the right time, because people sometimes already know – or are in the process of figuring it out themselves – and don’t need you to tell them that they, say, look fat in those jeans, or that their current romantic relationship probably isn’t going to work out for whatever reason. A bit of “glossing over” of life’s less shiny bits every now and again is polite kindness.

    Great post – let me know if you come to any new realizations on this!

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