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Living with radical honesty

neverlieHave you ever tried being honest for a day, and just telling people around you what you think or feel about them or the situations you’re in? If you have, how has it worked out for you?

Radical honesty is what I’m talking about, and it’s a concept that I’ve written about in the past. I’ve always been interested in it. It’s essentially the fine art of going around telling the truth, of being honest instead of dishonest.

We’re often dishonest every single day, telling people ‘little white lies’ because we don’t want to upset people or we want to avoid conflict. Radical honesty is about being honest in the moment, and then being present with the people who you’re being honest with, working through whatever issues might have arisen as a result of the honesty, and getting past those issues to a deeper level of authenticity within the relationship. It’s a means of developing better relationships with the people around you, whether they’re your spouse or family, or workmates or a boss.

But most people are too afraid of the consequences of their honesty, so they avoid it and engage in dishonesty instead. It’s safer. By telling lies, you don’t have to deal with someone being upset at you or because of you.

You know what? I like the idea of upsetting people. I do it all the time. I share my honest thoughts, opinions or statements, sometimes knowing that what I say will upset the person I’m talking to. But I do it so that I can get past the issue that I know will be challenging for them, so that we can get to the other side and talk honestly, rather than avoid it altogether.

It’s a means of developing stronger, more intimate relationships with people.

As I mentioned above, most people are too afraid of the consequences, so they tell lies instead. I don’t like this because it feels like such a deceptive way of living life. You’re literally living a lie, all the time.

I share my thoughts witn people around me, whether they’re my wife or friends or work colleagues. I say things as I see them. I say what I think. It’s my style, and I enjoy it. I also enjoy the honest and deep relationships I develop with people as a result of sharing honestly with them.

Some people appreciate my honesty – they usually become very close to me, and we have some awesome relationships. Other people find my honesty too confronting for them, and they can’t deal with it. They might find me ‘daunting’ (as I learned one work colleague felt about me a couple years ago). They might decide it’s better for them to avoid me.

And I’m ok with that. I don’t need to make friends with everyone I meet, and I really don’t want to. I want to make friends with those who value and appreciate honest, authentic relationships, and who want to spend more time with me because of my honesty, rather than because of my dishonesty.

It’s probably why I also prefer to spend time with people that appreciate deep and meaningful conversations, because in those conversations lies authentic honesty. People that prefer shallow, meaningless conversations are people who make me feel like they’ve got something to hide. They want to talk about meaningless subjects like sport or the weather or reality TV because authentic honesty is something they’d rather avoid.

This might be because they don’t want to get hurt, or they’re aware that their repressed anger about things in their life could frame their honesty in ways that might be hurtful, so they feel it’s better to just avoid it altogether.

And while I understand their need for dishonesty in their relationships, even if it’s just ‘little white lies’, I prefer not to be around them if they want to be dishonest with me as well.

Life is too short, and I’d rather spend my life with people who share my values – and my honesty – than with people who don’t.

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