I think it is important to be honest. Honesty starts with myself. If I am not honest with myself, I can’t be honest with anyone else.
It helps me uncover what I need, what makes me really happy, and what I want.
And I want to be honest with you. I feel it is really important for me to have an honest relationship with you. My writing is really important to me, and I think if I can’t be honest in my writing with my audience then why do it?
And I firmly believe if I can show up and be honest, it gives other people permission to do the same. And that’s what I ask from everyone in my life (you, too, dear readers!). Show up. Be honest.
I try to be conscious of this so I can create safe space. I try to make sure that I am in a place where I can be open and listen. If I make it a safe space for the other person, they won’t feel attacked or judged and have the space so that they can fill it with whatever they need. Honesty can take up a lot of space sometimes.
This is not something that I could just suddenly do one day. It took some time to realize what other people need.
I used to get really frustrated with some of my friends when I would try to share something that was really difficult for me and they would bulldoze over it with their own experiences, or advice or ways to try to make it smaller. Many times our friends just want to make our pain smaller, they want to make it go away so that we can feel better.
Here’s the thing about pain. There is nothing that anyone can say that makes pain go away. Pain goes away over time. Not because someone has a perfect one-liner (doesn’t that make you feel better? Like the pressure to be a perfect friend just got lifted?).
So I realized that what I wanted when I was sharing something that was painful was the ability to be honest without being judged and it was because I wanted space.
Giving someone space is really hard. Especially when they are saying something directed towards you, those hard and honest conversations are really hard to hear.
It takes courage, patience and a lot of deep breathing.
I had to practice a lot. I remember a lot of early morning conversations with my former roommate. She worked an overnight shift and I am an early riser. So she would come home and we would sit in the kitchen while she was winding down and we would catch up. And we talked about everything. So I practiced listening.
I sat, and kept my mouth shut. It was the perfect assignment because she and I approached life very differently. I would make completely different choices from her (read: I had to practice not judging her choices because they were different from mine), plus she was also a really good listener to me so I had a good role model.
So I practiced listening, I practiced asking questions, I practiced trying to give her what she needed.
I try to do this when I have these difficult conversations with the guy that I am dating. We are very honest with each other, and we have a lot of stuff from the past that we want to address. And a lot of stuff that we’re working through.
I know that someone is less likely to bring their honest self if they don’t feel safe.
I’m not saying that this makes the conversations any easier. It just allows them to happen. And honestly, I think that helps get people closer together, it strengthens relationships. And who doesn’t want a honest relationship?