Being honest is one of the most beautiful acts of kindness you can give to your fellow human beings.
And building a support system is all about giving as much as it is about receiving. Some of the many benefits include…
- Gaining relationships that actually matter. If you have been following my story at all, you know that I believe more than anything that we attract what we put out into the world. When we are genuine with our words, we attract friends and family who resonate with our truth. This means we will be around like-minded people who also speak truthfully and genuinely.
- Bonus: We learn to stop caring about others’ unhelpful or judgmental opinions. When we tell our truth over and over again, we start to see that those who agree with us gravitate towards us, and those who judge us fade away.
- Additionally, being honest with others sends messages, such as, “I trust you with my truth. I know that you understand me, because I understand you, and you are also safe to be honest with me. I will not judge you.” Isn’t this a wonderful way to interact with the people we love the most?
- Raising vibrational frequency. When we speak in a way that is dishonest, it always comes from a place of fear. Fear lowers our vibrations and puts us in a state where more fear is likely to occur. We must resist the fear that comes with being honest, and trust that honesty is indeed the better path, even if less traveled.
- Living more healthily + authentically. When we aren’t honest in every way, we have to remember which lie we’ve told and to whom we’ve told it. We have to make sure we don’t contradict ourselves. This is true even for the lies that we’ve only told ourselves, and it’s simply exhausting. Being honest reduces the stress and increases energy, because we no longer have to keep track of all the inconsistencies.
By being honest in every situation, we build support beams everywhere we are, and we develop a strong, supportive community for ourselves. This community is one we can trust, because we know it has been built in honesty.
The consequences of being honest doesn’t always feel too great. Our truth might cause arguments, hurt feelings, or discomfort, and most of us are trying to avoid negative experiences like this.
The key to being honest without causing harm or conflict is to always listen before speaking. There are a few simple but very important concepts that must be understood here.
How to be better listener + tell your truth more authentically.
- Don’t interrupt others.
- We often interrupt others so we don’t forget what we want to say. The reality is, sometimes it’s ok to forget our thoughts. Sometimes we change our minds after remaining silent for a moment or two. Allowing others to speak first helps you get clearer on your own thoughts, so you don’t get stuck saying things you didn’t really mean.
- Make statements when you are certain.
- If you’re feeling unsure about your thoughts, don’t voice them as a fact, or maybe don’t voice them at all (use your best judgment in each situation). When we say things as if they’re factual when really they're just an opinion, an opinion you’re not really sure about anyway, we make others uneasy. When we only make 100% true statements, we earn the respect of others by increasing our credibility, which further adds to our support system.
- State your intention upfront.
- Starting sentences with, “I just want to tell you this, because it’s been bothering me, and talking about it out loud with you will help me feel better. Is that ok?” will immediately make the other person more receptive to what you have to say. You’ve explained that you aren’t trying to attack them, and you’ve asked them their permission before continuing on. This might feel awkward at first, but I promise you will soon start to reap the rewards of this new way of speaking.
- Understand the context of the situation by...
- Asking open-ended questions. Open-ended questions are ones that cannot be answered by “yes” or “no.” They require the other person to give a longer, more thoughtful answer, and often start off with "what, where, who, when, how," and never start a question with, "why."
- Asking yourself if your honest opinion will help the situation. Think about all the ways this can occur. For example, will it be helpful to tell your best friend that you no longer want her to buy you gifts? At first, you might think “No! That would hurt her feelings, how would that be helpful?” Well, if you’re trying to live a minimal life, this might help her understand that material gifts aren’t your favorite type of affection. She may then start getting you experience gifts, which would benefit your relationship in the long run in so many ways. Remember to state your intention before saying potentially hurtful statements.
- Asking if right now is the best time to state your truth? Would it be best to speak your truth exactly in this moment, or should you wait for a better time? Be honest with yourself, and don’t let fear be a determining factor.
Each concept that I’ve written about here could have it’s own chapter, and you may have had questions pop up in your mind as you were reading. There’s so much to say about each point, and one blog can’t possibly cover it all.