Let’s spend a few minutes today looking at what it means to speak honestly. When asked, most of us would say, “Yeah. I’m honest.” And my guess is, if you are at all like me, there are times when we are not completely honest. This “dis-honesty” often arises, not in outright lies, but in withholding how we truly feel or what we really want to say. Have you ever gotten in your car and started talking to the air and saying everything you wished you’d had the guts to say earlier in the day? Or gotten on the phone with a friend and told them all the things you should have said? I have.
When we don’t express our true feelings we repress ourselves and we deny the other person the opportunity to really know us.
I know it feels scary or impossible sometimes when we think of what we really want to say… We think, “I can’t say that I’ll get fired.” or “If I say that he/she will leave.” A friend of mine said almost these exact words to me the morning when we were talking about speaking honestly and authentically! We push those words back down our throats where they came from in an attempt to keep our lives safe and secure, comfortable and known.
Yet, every one of those suppressed words creates separation
…separation between ourselves and the person we didn’t speak them to. When we push words and emotions down repeatedly they start to pile up and resentment, anger, and hurt can fester. Those painful emotions further separate us from the love, security, and peace so many of us long to feel. There’s a way in which the more we push down, the more separation we need to create between us and another, because if we get too close or reveal too much, it might trigger all the buried words to come rushing out! Can you remember a time when you had one of those “straw that broke the camels back” moments and a seemingly small or insignificant event sent you into an outrage or a breakdown? Those “insignificant” events are often as small and light as a single piece of straw and yet we just couldn’t take it any more.
If we spoke honestly in the moment, we would not have these breakdown moments.
I invite you to start noticing all the times you bite your tongue or change your sentence mid-stream to make it sound nicer or more appropriate. When you catch yourself, ask yourself, what am I afraid will happen if I speak honestly right now? It’s almost always some form of fear. Then ask yourself, is this a realistic fear, or is it something my mind has made out to be much worse than it really is? (Our minds have a habit of doing just that!)
If it’s a pretty unrealistic fear, then I challenge you to go ahead and speak honestly. If you feel it is a realistic fear, then ask yourself, is it worth it for me to continue sabotaging and probably betraying myself so that I do not have to risk my fear coming true. For example, we might continuingly stop ourselves from saying what we actually want or need in relationship because we think our partner might judge us as being needy or that they might get angry with us and leave. I can tell you I’ve betrayed myself by not expressing my true needs and desires on many occasions and in the end it was never worth it.
So I ask you, what haven’t you said that you want or need to say?
*At Ecstatic Intimacy, an all-inclusive website for singles and couples, we welcome all sexual orientation(s), gender(s) and relationship expressions. In this article we utilize the pronouns he/she/him/her.