Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Love Lounge: Let's talk honesty

I have a confession to make: I’m a confessor. A compulsive truth teller, if you will. Maybe you’re one too. Honesty, as I see it, has received a lot of stoic criticism over the years. We’re taught to bite our tongues, to keep our thoughts to ourselves and, as my mother used to say, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” I know it may be hard to believe now, but at one time, I was a rather shy girl, the kind who used to slink in the shadows and keep to herself, as if any utterance whatsoever would shake the mountains and churn the high seas. And yet now, as I get older, I can’t help but wonder: In keeping our lips sealed, are we doing a disservice to ourselves? When does honesty become, well, too honest. And, if we do find ourselves letting our inner thoughts escape our lips, will the consequences really be as earth-shatteringly catastrophic as we anticipate?

I suppose there are different types of honesty. There’s what I call inconsequential honesty, for example, when you tell someone “Maybe blue is more your color.” This sort of honesty probably won’t get you into too much hot water. Then there’s the sort of honesty I experienced first-hand a few years ago when I accidentally (well, more like subconsciously, as I’ve relived the scenario over and over in my head like one of those suspense movies with a shocking ending you never expected) let certain insights into my feelings -- feelings I’d worked so hard to hide for some 14 years -- about a certain someone come spilling out. I expected the apocalypse. I expected fury. I expected rage. And of course, I expected myself to regret my admission. Oddly, though, barely a tiny ripple cascaded through the metaphorical pond. And even more surprising? I didn’t want to take back what I’d said; for the first time, I didn’t regret saying something that, probably, should have been uttered years ago. It was as if a weight had been swiftly lifted off my shoulders. The air was cleared. I had finally been honest after years of hiding something that really wasn’t even worth hiding. I had built it up in my head to be this big, never-to-tell-another-living-soul secret. It wasn’t. I suspect it never was in the first place.
Sometimes I get to thinking that people don’t expect little old me, a little redhead in a wheelchair, to be such a red-hot firecracker. Maybe they expect me to be like one of those Disney princesses, waiting in the highest room of the castle for her Prince Charming to rescue her. They expect her to be soft-spoken, diminutive, that wallflower I used to be so long ago. So when people meet me and quickly realize that I am the exact opposite of a fair-haired Disney princess and instead outspoken, feisty and strong-willed, it might scare them a bit at first. Maybe they don’t expect me to be as honest as I am, but I’m slowly learning to love living in my new honesty skin. It’s not that I’m going around purposely insulting people under the guise of honesty; it’s more that I’ve grown comfortable in my skin and this new love of honesty is just an added bonus.

In the process, I’d figured out something else, too. There is a sort of deep-rooted, heart-pumping honesty you have with yourself. The kind of honesty -- an inner dialogue of sorts -- that should be your best friend. It helps you hold tight to who you are and has a built-in detector that lets you know when you begin to stray. Because, really, in not being honest, you’re hiding a part of yourself. Don’t regret what you say. Never deny your true nature. Be who you are. And above all, don’t sacrifice yourself for anything or anyone. Because in doing so, you’ll eventually run the risk of regretting who you are. It’s a slippery slope you don’t want to take. You’re invalidating a piece of your puzzle that makes you, well, you. And your puzzle deserves to be whole.

[Photos via Le Love]


  1. I gave very similar advice to a close girlfriend yesterday–I strongly believe that honesty breeds trust and the best kind of closeness!

  2. you're such a strong person i think!

  3. i've found that the elderly are the most honest, because they just don't care at that point! seriously, i've had some rude things said to me about my appearance and they were all from old people.

  4. I think many people are under the impression that those who face more challenges than others are more likely to be meek, and agreeable. I've found that the opposite is true. Those who face challenges are more apt to speak their mind, and have their voice be heard - it's the way they put themselves in the forefront {overshadowing disability or age}.


  5. Having gone through a relationship that was full of lies and distrust, I knew that the next time I loved someone that that relationship needed to be nothing but honest. Luckily I found someone who gets that and who is an open book to me. It's been slow work - being lied to day in and day out for over 6 years has a way of messing with you - but I think that I'm to the point where I've become a more trusting person again.

    Being honest is the only way to go if you want to be surrounded with good, caring people.

  6. Melissa, this is such a beautiful post! I certainly agree that we should truly be honest so that we can show ourselves. But we may not always realize why we hide parts of us. My husband has been honest with me from the day we met and has helped me become more honest with my own feelings and generally become more self aware. It is a beautiful thing to not only have honest relationships, but be honest to that person in the mirror too!

    Chic 'n Cheap Living


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