The short answer to this is an emphatic, YES.
However, being honest, upfront and open can be dangerous. Not just for you, but for those around you. I don’t mean in the physical sense, although I can imagine it could be. But I mean dangerous for relationships and interactions. As a species we seem to cherish being kept in the dark, we appear to want the truth and we often say this is the case. However, when someone is open and honest people can often become uncomfortable.
Is there an antidote for this? Can you be honest and open without causing discomfort, for you and others? Probably not. What will happen though, is that you’ll quickly come to learn who is really interested in what you have to say. You might end up losing some existing relationships, and this may mean overall you have less friendships/ relationships. What you will have though, are meaningful, lasting and deep relationships. Ones that are built from openness and honesty. That all those in that relationship have the option to be and say what they need to.
It is amazingly refreshing to live like this. To not hold back, to not be guarded and only say what we think is “appropriate” or “palatable”. Even as a therapist it’s taken me some time to really embrace this way of being. It can feel really risky at times, will I offend? Will I embarrass? Will I be thought less of?
If we’re not open and honest though, what are we? are we liars? are we disingenuous? I am deliberately using strong and emotive language. Most of us think we’re pretty open, pretty fair and on occasion we spare someone’s feelings or try to avoid “conflict”. But if we do that, we end up carrying the pent up thoughts and feelings that we can’t express. This is clearly not a good way to be. For these unsaid things are what bring dissatisfaction, as we don’t get to lead the life we want to.
Try to imagine a life without regret, without unsaid thoughts and feelings. I can say from experience it’s a really good place to be. Everyone knows where they stand, there are no surprises and life can be lead in a way that works for all concerned. Because openess and honesty are the cornerstone of debate, discussion and discourse. If you can’t be open with those in your life, ask yourself why not. Then decide if you can start to share what you really think and if not, perhaps consider changing those in your life, so that you can always be true to yourself, and those around you can be true to themselves.
This is far from a recipe for disaster, but it is certain to lead to some feelings of unease, some heated or perhaps quiet discussion, but above all much deeper and lasting connections with people. Give it a go, see how it feels…surprise yourself and those around you.
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