Baring your soul: The kind of honesty that’s hard

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I’ve been reading a fair amount of philosophy and when you pair it with religious texts there is one thing that keeps coming up: Honesty.

We read that and we’re like, of course, honesty is important. It’s important to be honest to others and it’s important that we’re honest to ourselves. I’ve already written a blog post on white lies and why they’re harmful. It’s not a hard concept to swallow, but moving on from the simple lies we tell everyday we’re faced with a different type of honesty. A type of honesty that requires us to spill our guts, that makes us confess what is bothering us when it bothers us, in airing our feelings so that they can be addressed both by us and by those we interact with.

That kind of honesty is more tricky. That kind of honesty can hurt. That kind of honesty is necessary too.

It’s especially important in long term relationships, whether they be romantic or platonic. When we ignore things they don’t go away, they only get buried. Things grow underground, then they surface as monster problems, problems that threaten our integrity and our relationships.

There are two real struggles when it comes to honesty.

  1. Admitting our truth; being vulnerable and/or difficult
  2. Not holding other people’s honesty against them

When you give honesty you tend to receive it in return, and it’s hard to stomach sometimes, but in the end you’ll all end up stronger from the process. Airing out the dirty laundry of our souls is frowned upon by some. They don’t think you should show your mess to others, but that mess needs fresh air, or the stink will never go away. You don’t have to parade around your truth, but you need to tell it to the people who need to hear it. Because when you’re honest you end up sorting out all your problems, you end up with real solutions, you end up with stronger relationships.

It also leads to intimacy, and I don’t mean the romantic kind, I mean your friends or loved ones knowing you, truly knowing you, not the presentation you put on. That presentation will seem less and less needed the more honest you are.

There is a lot of freedom in that.

The cloak is off. The mask is gone. You are just you, simply, honestly, there is no hiding or lying. There is just you. Is that a scary concept? Yes. Is it hard to work through all the things you need to fix about you and your relationships? Yes. But take it slow and do the dirty work, because the prize at the end of it all is worth it. Authenticity. Honesty. You.

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