~ Carly Simon
Being emotionally honest can be tough because, first and foremost, it calls upon us to be true to ourselves and, secondly, it can upset those on the receiving end. Speaking our truth is actually a two-part process that asks us to garner our strength for making an honest statementand for tolerating the other's--sometimes unfavorable--response. But being emotionally honest frees us from emotional distress and bodily stress, making it an act of self-care and giving us a sense of liberation and pride. Claiming these feelings is one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves, yet most of us were programmed to keep our feelings and opinions to ourselves, so doing the opposite feels scary. We've been warned not to "hurt other people's feelings" or were taught to circle around the truth and even to manipulate others to get our needs met.
One of the perils of emotional honesty is the risk that we'll have to soothe ourselves if another gets wounded, hurt, angry, or rejecting. Confrontation is understandably anxiety-producing, but its dangers are inherent in human relations, which can be messy. Truth-telling comes with a price that sometimes we, and those around us, don't like. There's no easy street in life, just emotional obstacle courses designed to make us and our principles stronger. Consider that telling people you're angry at them or that you love them are both confrontations requiring you to screw up your courage and brace for their response--understanding, anger, adoration, shame, or a myriad of other emotions that you can't control.
Intentionally taking your own shape, not the shape you shifted in and out of as a child to accommodate adults, is your goal. Not everyone will like that shape, but at least, they'll respect you. More important, you'll respect yourself.
DAILY HEALTHY ACTS
- Think about a situation in the past when you took the easy way out by not speaking your truth. Afterwards, did you feel short-changed or that you had failed yourself?
- Today, look for small opportunities to speak your deeper truth and do so. Notice the reactions from the people around you. How do they tolerate it? How do you tolerate their reactions? Notice how you feel in response to their reactions.