Honesty & Relationships
We all know that honesty is a key ingredient to developing a good relationship and equally so, we all know what happens when we shy away from the truth. Either someone gets hurt or we end up living a lie. So if we know that the outcomes of being dishonest aren’t great, then why do we struggle to be honest with ourselves and our partners in the first place? Often when I talk to people about the concept of ‘getting honest’, the first thing that they jump to is the idea of needing to give someone ‘a piece their mind’. They recall all the annoyances, frustration or critical things that they’ve wanted to say but haven’t given themselves permission to, up until that moment. Essentially, they go off, they list everything that has ever upset them in the relationship, usually in a way that is irresponsible and blaming, leading to quite a hurtful and destructive situation. The problem with this approach is that the person expressing their mind seemingly feels better as they got to dump the weight of their irresponsibility onto another. However, the person on the receiving end can often be left in shock, feeling hurt, deceived and/or hoodwinked. It’s not an approach I recommend to develop a healthy relationship!
HONESTY ALLOW US TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY AND STOP BLAMING OTHERS FOR ALL THAT WE ARE EXPERIENCING.
WHEN IT COMES TO OUR RELATIONSHIPS, GETTING HONEST DOESN’T NEED TO BE A BIG DEAL.
What we need to understand is that this approach to ‘getting honest’ is in fact not getting honest at all. Honesty is not emotional nor does it simply focus on one particular point or moment. It’s more holistic, taking in the full picture. Honesty captures everything, all the beautiful things that are part of our lives and within who we are, as well as the not so great things or more accurately, the areas we need to work on. So if we’re not seeing everything all at once, then we need to admit that there is a part of us that is being dishonest. By the nature of being human, we see and feel everything. We know when people are lying, we know when people are upset and we know when we have disrespected ourselves and/or another but we simply choose to turn a blind eye. We brush things aside because we don’t want to know or we don’t want to face the truth because we think it’ll be too painful or difficult to deal with. We decide in that moment, it’s better to live a lie. The problem with this approach is that for every lie that we allow, every moment we do not acknowledge or express what is there, what we see or what we feel, it’s like planting a weed into a garden that we then feed and let grow. We complain that it’s there but do not take responsibly for the fact that we planted it there in the first place. And via this dishonesty and irresponsibly, we provide the perfect environment for it to flourish, allowing it to over shadow or take up space where other more beautiful, supportive and loving things could grow.
Honesty therefore offers us an opportunity to stop and take stock. It’s like looking out into our garden and allowing ourselves to see all that’s growing, the flowers, the trees and the weeds. It raises our awareness so that we can start to choose differently, to try new approaches and start to address the things that aren’t working whist still confirming and building all that does.
Getting honest simply brings awareness to what is already there and gives a voice to what is. Sure, if we have allowed too many weeds to grow then pulling out the garden might be the way to go. By the very nature that a weed could grow though it, proves that we have fertile soil and thus, a new garden can be planted afresh - this is the beauty that is on offer to us all.
So as a piece of homework, start practising to be honest, even if it’s only with yourself. Take a look out into your garden and see how it’s growing. Is it loving and bright or are their areas that need some work? If so, get working!
Honesty is but a movement that takes us towards the next step. If we make sure that those steps are truly loving, of ourselves and all those around us, then that’s what we will plant and nurture in our garden and ultimately, what we get to live in and come home to.
So how honest are your relationships and how honest are they growing?
Martin Gladman is a social worker, counsellor, life coach, teacher and complementary therapist working out of Melbourne. Victoria. Martin has had the pleasure of supporting people of all ages, backgrounds and genders to work through the many challenges which can prevent them from living truly joyful and vital lives. Martin can be contacted through his