27 August 2008

Honesty

Brutal honesty is one of the keys to satisfaction in life. But not the kind of honesty where you tell everyone what you think, no holds barred. No, true honesty is the honesty you have with yourself, your ability to take responsibility for your own feelings, thoughts, and reactions. And without that, honesty in relationships with others is almost impossible.

Often, we are very afraid to be honest with ourselves; it feels as if the sky will come falling down if we admit that we know in our heart of hearts that we really did mean what we said at dinner the other night. The difference in responsible honesty is that we are able to admit that yes, we meant what we said, but also, that we were saying it out of hurt feelings or anger or ...?

This kind of honesty can only happen in a safe environment. Couples often come to counseling in order to find that environment, to work on "communication and trust". These two things are completely intertwined, and cannot exist without the other. But we are talking about communication from the heart, realness. Not about what you're going to do, but about how you feel.

Sometimes we don't communicate how we're truly feeling to our partner because we are, in fact, being responsible. We realize that our partner does not deserve to hear or experience the wrath that we feel inside, that it has nothing to do with them. But we must reach beyond that type of holding in, if what we want is intimacy and connection. We must admit our own difficult emotions, but in a responsible way.

"You're right, I was being sarcastic. I guess it's because everytime you talk to him, I feel like you don't want me around, and that hurts my feelings."

Honesty requires trust, trust requires honesty. It is the circle of life, and we have to be willing to take some risks if we want to find that reward, that safe place of love that we long for.
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