They say that honesty is the best policy. While that may be true in an idealistic world in which people are more logical than emotional, and everyone lives with no sense of fear, that's not as true for most of us. No one ever talks about how hard it can be to be honest or the fact that sometimes honesty can have some pretty destructive and wild consequences, or that sometimes we get so mixed up in our own thoughts and feelings that we can’t even be honest because we don’t know what's wrong. We don’t even really know where the thoughts or feelings are coming from either, let alone the meaning of them.
Besides this, honesty is the key to our relationships with ourselves as well as our relationships with others. And sometimes that cold honest with the people most important to us and ourselves is the hardest kind to factor in.
So here are the 6 tasks to do in order to become more honest with yourself and others.
1. Acknowledge your feelings and thoughts
One of the easiest ways to be more honest with yourself and others is having the ability to acknowledge your feelings. This means that you are not allowed to bury your emotions in a sea of feelings or hide beneath everything else that is going on in life. It means seeing them for what they are. Knowing where they come from, why you are experiencing them, as well as correctly identifying them. Acknowledgement of your feelings has to be a pure process with no judgement. Judgement may cause a burying or hiding effect and lets be real here, if we are spending all of our time judging our feelings for what they are, that means we are at the same time preventing honesty with ourselves and with others. There can be no communication without personal acknowledgement of thoughts and feelings first.
2. Honor your feelings and thoughts
Once you can acknowledge your feelings for what they are, you must be able to honor them. By honoring them you have to be able to look them in the eye in all of their goodness and all of their badness without judging them or placing blame or value on them. They are what they are. Being able to honor them makes being honest easier. Honoring them, makes it easier to communicate, especially with others because then instead of wanting to hide or sugar coat your true feelings you will be able to release them.
3. Process them authentically
Once you can acknowledge and honor your feelings, you must be able to process them authentically. Processing them authentically means looking at the root of where they come from, and why do you still feel that way or don’t feel that way. Sometimes the first thought or emotions we experience is what we are socialized to think or feel and is not how we really truly feel or think about the situation. Processing them authentically will help you to know this.
4. Know not only what needs to be said, but when to say it.
On the flip side of things, another thing that goes into being more honest with yourself and others, is knowing what needs to be said and how to say it. For example, you may go through all of the steps to honor, process, and acknowledge your feelings, and come to the conclusion that your best friend’s boyfriend sucks. You may decide that because of the way this is making you feel you want to tell her about it. But coming out of nowhere and telling her this will only cause a fight, and waiting for them to be in a fight will only cause her to be angry at you. So you wait until a neutral time and say your peace. That is knowing when to say it, but the other side of that is what needs to be said. She may not need to hear you call the guy horrible names, but may need to hear, I don't like the way he treats you. There is an art to knowing what needs to be said and what doesn't and when to say it. Giving yourself time to sort through these things is key here.
5.Know how to say things (to yourself and others)
Along the same lines of knowing when to say something and knowing what needs to be said, there is the added piece of knowing how to say things. Knowing how to say things is such an important part and including how to say things to yourself as well as others is essential. Knowing how to say things, includes no negative self talk, you wouldn't necessarily go up to a stranger and insult them, so why would you spend time insulting yourself? Also, knowing how to word things in a way that is non-confrontational when you are trying to be honest with someone else is important. Knowing how to use the word “I” verus the word “you” as well as thinking and talking to and of yourself as the wonderful creature you are, and not the scum of the earth or something like that.
6.Be willing to face the consequences
That last step to being more honest with yourself and others, is to be willing to face the consequences. Once you have taken your thoughts and feelings through the ringer of these steps, you have to be willing to face the consequences of that. Let's go back to our previous example of wanting to tell your best friend that her boyfriend sucks, you have to be willing that no matter how nice you word things, how perfect the moment is, and how hard you worked on crafting your thoughts and feelings, that she may not accept them. Not only may she not accept them but saying those words can mean the end of your friendship. As well as, knowing that if you choose not to say anything, that your feelings about the matter can continue to eat you up and bother you inside, to the point where seeing her name on the phone makes you grimace instead of excited. You have to be willing to face the consequences and whatever they may bring. Willingness to face the consequences, is the key to opening the door of honesty. Once that fear of the consequences is gone, you will be able to be more honest with not only others, but most importantly with yourself.
Gaining the ability to be more honest with yourself and others is no easy task, and is not a task for the weak. Only when we are feeling the most brave, can we take the time to acknowledge and process through our thoughts and feelings in order to be more honest.
These tasks, will help you on your journey to be more honest and live in a more honest way, if you can not only accept them but incorporate them into your life. All of these will help build you into a more honest person.