Brutal honesty

There are people that will never honestly tell you what they think. There are people that will say nice words to your face and hurtful ones behind your back. And there are people that say they are “just honest”, even if brutally. People who will say what they think, even if their words cut and crush you, and do it in the name of “truth”.

I don’t believe in that kind of honesty.

I don’t believe in lies. I don’t believe it’s good to deceive others. I especially do not believe it’s ok to say one thing to a person when you think the opposite (and then even say that when that person is not around). But I believe in being nice more than in being brutally honest.

It’s a thin line between lying and just not being hurtfully honest. When does omitting something become deceiving? I do not know. But if the opposite is hurting someone, then at least I have to consider if saying it all, the truth, whole truth and nothing but truth, does anyone any good. I have to consider others more than my need to say what I think is true. (Yes, what I think is true. Not what is true. Because my truth may not the the other’s truth.)

And when being honest, I have to consider one other thing. Am I so honest about myself?

Sometimes it’s hard to be honest even TO yourself. There are parts of us we don’t really want to see. Acknowledge. Accept. Admit. Own. Some things are embarrassing. Some make us look bad. Some we are ashamed of. Some make us vulnerable or make us look weak. Can you honestly say to yourself that there are no things that you don’t want to admit even to you? I cannot. Yes, eventually I have to face it all. But some thoughts I avoid and look away and pretend they are not there. In the end, I have no other option but to be honest to myself. But it is not easy, no. Sometimes it hurts like hell.

It’s even harder to be honest ABOUT yourself to others. How much of myself do I reveal? How much do I tell? Share? Do I show my ugly side? My insecurities? Oh no, modesty has nothing to do with that. Modesty is not honesty. Downplaying has nothing to do with it either. Talking ill of myself neither (oh, yes, we know the game: we say something bad about ourselves and hope, even expect, that others will tell us how wonderful we really are). None of that is being honest. The true honesty is not that simple, not that plain, not shallow, not easy.

Only when I can honestly say I’m honest to and about myself have I any right to consider being “brutally honest” to others, about others. And then I have to say the truth with my heart, not my mind – kindly, gently and lovingly. Only when brutal honesty looses brutality.

Love is the only truth. Anything else is an opinion.

Alenka H., 2022

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