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Why it is Important to be Honest and Share Your Truth in Relationships

Water lilyPHIL: In society, we hide our true selves. We put on our public face; we don’t say how rude that was or where to shove that job. Maybe these social graces are necessary for society to work, or maybe they are just the social norm, but we mostly follow them so we fit in. We were taught this from childhood on, and now it’s second nature.

But in a relationship, this doesn’t serve you well. To the extent that you keep a part of yourself private, you reduce trust and intimacy. To some extent, being open should be easy, because you want to express what you have held back in society; you want your whole self to shine forth. Of course, for this to be possible, your partner or friend or family must be accepting; that’s a whole other very important topic that is covered elsewhere. Even then, it may be hard to speak fully; social habits run deep. It can be hard to distinguish how you actually feel from how you should feel; there are layers within you that you do not want to see because they are socially unacceptable to own.

One reason you may not trust yourself to go deep is that you feel there is a selfishness within you that can harm other people. This is a strong theme in the Judeo-Christian culture. Yes, such a possibility exists, but at heart, humans are very much caring and cooperative, and if you live by the golden rule, your head can keep your heart from acting wrongly. Feelings don’t have to lead to actions.

Whether the other person is fully accepting or not, there can still be a fear of rejection or retribution that inhibits what you say. Be bold. There is strength to be found here. Honesty lets you feel good about yourself.

As to how you speak when it involves another person, you must be gentle as well as honest. Some people take the intimacy of a relationship as a safe place to dump all their feelings, act out, or blame the other person. Don’t do this. They are your feelings; find out where they come from. Even when they appear to be caused by someone else, that person probably has their own set of causes.

Every lie takes an effort. Every unspoken feeling takes its toll on the body. When you are honest and authentic in your relationships, life is freer and lighter.

MAUDE: It is of central importance to speak your truth and to share honestly in relationships if they are to be peaceful and harmonious. Practicing honesty allows you to feel good about yourself. It resonates deep within.

To speak your truth takes self-reflection and requires knowing what your feelings, wants and even needs are, examining where any confusion lies, and then looking at how that applies to your relationships. No matter how open and connected those relationships are, if you aren’t aware of your own inner truth, the other person will have little chance of knowing what that is or how you feel.

Fear of rejection, disapproval, or conflict often stops people from sharing honestly with loved ones. For this fear to be quieted, you have to feel safe in your relationships. Sharing the same core values and having relationships based on acceptance of your unique individuality promotes this sense of safety.

Even when these critical factors are present, the method of presentation is pivotal in creating a loving uncharged exchange.

When communicating about your feelings, recognize and state them as being yours, and make them about you. Do not blame or make the other responsible for them. The point of the communication is to share honestly what is happening with you. That in turn gives real information, and offers an opportunity for understanding and support, rather than one of defensiveness or reactive hostility. When you do this, you create a non-threatening environment. And often when you speak your truth, you get to hear it as well!

Don’t project or judge when you feel hurt or rejected. First look inside yourself. What is going on? If you can share that truth and own it, you will find the responses you get are caring and loving. Again, this presupposes relationships based on shared values and acceptance.

It is important to understand that you do not need to share every thought that goes through your mind. Much can be handled with private and personal reflection. Evaluate whether something is a truth that concerns both of you or whether it is solely a part of your own inner work.

It is helpful always to remember that you are on the same side in relationships. They are not adversarial by nature. A relationship filled with honesty creates a peaceful, relaxed feeling of connection and will allow you to go deeper with each other and with yourself.

Photo credit: Phil Mayes
Photo note: Water lily at Alice Keck Park Garden

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Successful Relationship Reading Corner

Books on shelfThis week, we discussed why it is important to be honest and share your truth in relationships. Here are some other viewpoints to that topic. 

Why Honesty In Relationships Is Non-Negotiable & 7 Rules To Follow "Honesty is the quality of always speaking the truth and being totally authentic, straightforward, and transparent in our words and actions. It involves a few key practices: never lying, never hiding the truth, and never purposefully omitting or misdirecting people from the truth."

Why Honesty is Important in a Relationship "When you build something, whether it’s something like a house, a business, or a piece of software, you want to start with a solid foundation. If you don’t, you may find yourself with problems down the line because what you created can’t withstand the stress of everyday use. The same goes with building relationships, be they business, family, neighborly, or romantic relationships. A key ingredient for a solid foundation for your relationships is honesty. "

Love and honesty: what we hide and why we lie "I want to talk about honesty and dishonesty and how it comes into play in relationships.... This is about emotional honesty – the habits and ways of being that seem small, but actually create who you are and how you form bonds with others. Because the simple act of being honest can change your life in awesome earth-shattering ways. What I’m talking about is kind of like emotional lying – it’s subtler and therefore insidious in how it hurts your life – and it’s tied a struggle with acceptance. What I hope to offer is insight into why either you are “shielding” others from the truth or why others are doing this to you. I’d also like to sell you on the amazing and powerful benefits of being honest and letting go of control. Because that practice has amazing benefits in your life. Without further ado – three parts: what why and how!"

Spreading peace one relationship at a time
Phil and Maude
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