MAUDE: If you truly desire to have a peaceful loving relationship, we advocate total honesty.
You ask how this can be accomplished? There is that age old joke where the woman asks “Am I fat?” and the husband responds “Am I stupid?”
This is not, as you will see, what we are referring to!
Let’s back up a bit and look at what is the basis of total honesty? The answer? Total acceptance! This requires a shared core value to truly accept each other as you are, to respect and treasure the unique nature of your partner, and to support and nurture each other’s growth. At the same time, you know and show each other that you are on the same side and looking for mutuality in decisions and solutions.
That is quite a mouthful to be sure, and we have written much on the setting of these values and goals, as well as ways and means to achieve them. So, let’s take this necessary foundation as existing. If it doesn’t, then do work on these aspects in your relationship.
At the same time, looking at an examination of total honesty can also help you to use similar methods to work on total acceptance. Yes, its one of those interesting circles that may seem like a paradox, or a chicken and egg situation.
One aspect is clear. In order to practice total honesty in your relationship, you need to feel safe and secure. What are we referring to when we refer to total honesty?
Let’s first clear up some of the things it is NOT. It is not spewing forth the total contents of your mind at your partner. It is not an accusation fest, where you settle blame for what you are feeling on your partner. It’s not sharing a long list of what your partner should do and can change to make you happy in the relationship.
Total honesty arises from working on yourself. You have to know yourself in order to share that with your mate. It starts by recognizing that what you’re feeling is about you and should not to be projected on the other person. You must come to understand that resolving conflicts is not about changing the other person, but rather looking at what the resistance on your side is about. The more information you glean about yourself, and what you are feeling and why, the closer you will come to being able to communicate with total honesty.
If you are going to share your needs and feelings with total honesty, you have to know what they are. You have to own them as yours. Look at what is at play when you don’t share what is happening with you. Are you afraid, and if so, of what?
Someone wrote us recently complaining bitterly that her partner ignored her and didn’t speak to her about really important things. She felt his behavior was abuse in that it did not take her wants and needs into consideration. He seemed to go about his business without including her in his decisions and actions.
The first question we asked her was whether or not she had looked inside and asked herself the questions about what she truly wants and how that relates to her partner? Has she really spent the time and self-reflection to get those answers? The companion question is have you communicated this to him? And equally important, have you communicated this in terms of what you are feeling and want or need, without relaying it as if it is about him, what he is or isn’t doing, or is to blame for?
In reality, this is a spiritual question, and an area that provides a wonderful opportunity for both partners to nurture each other. Our responses to others can lead us to the deepest understandings of ourselves and what areas we want to work on within ourselves.
When you approach total honesty as the sharing of your heart’s desires, and you then share those understandings with your partner, you give them a great gift. They do not have to guess or read your mind to know where you are coming from. They can rest easy in the knowledge that you will speak to them of yourself and give them the opportunity to offer you their love.
Total honesty brings a deep sense of peace and well-being with it. Be brave. Trust your partner. Venture into the world of open, honest sharing. You will grow closer and grow further than you can imagine!
Resolving conflicts isn’t about changing the other person but looking at the resistance on your side Click To TweetPHIL: One of the difficulties in writing about relationships is that everything is connected to everything else, so in writing about a topic, the choice is to either ignore those connections, leaving the subject floating without context, or to haul in the kitchen sink.
Today, we’re writing about total honesty: why it is good, why it is difficult, and what is needed for it to be possible.
Lies, big or small, even white lies, destroy trust in a relationship. If what you hear might be wrong, shaded or incomplete, you start filling in the parts you think are missing and reacting accordingly.
Easy to say, but not so easy to do. One hurdle is embarrassment at appearing weak or stupid. Maybe we fear being seen as unfriendly or vicious or any of a hundred other undesirable lights. Then there is the fear that one of the consequences of honesty might be reprisal.
There are grounds that help total honesty grow and thrive. One is total acceptance, about which we have written elsewhere. When you are totally accepted, what reason is there to lie? To instead tell the truth as it is for you in the moment is to show yourself, to be present, to offer yourself completely to your partner. This is a great gift to grant them.
Another important ground is commitment. In a committed relationship, lies serve no purpose; on the contrary, they weaken and destroy it. A committed relationship itself grows out of knowing and trusting another person, mixed in with joy, admiration and Netflix choices.
So now we have come full circle. It takes honesty to create trust to create commitment to create the space where honesty can thrive.