Honesty (AKA one of the hardest things ever)

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Want to know the one thing that will change your relationships forever?It’s called Hopefully Opening New Exciting Stimulating and Terrifying Yes-momentsAlso known as honesty. Not ‘hey you, you're ugly’ honesty but real honest honesty.Honesty is the key to good relationships.I’m not talking about the big things like lying, stealing and infidelity.This post is talking about talking. Talking to yourself and talking to others.The omission of information is still lying, and it’s the most common lie around.Many people operate even their closest personal relationships on a ‘need to know’ basis:‘She doesn’t need to know that’‘Why should I tell him about that? After all, it’s none of his business’These defences are great for protecting us from other people’s hurt and anger, and usually crop up when we think we’ve done something wrong. They are also a great barrier that prevents us from being ourselves and stops us appreciating other people for who they are.Honesty applies to feelings just as much as practical occurrences. In my experience, people are either at one end of the scale or the other. Some present a façade of perpetual happiness and avoid ‘negative’ emotions, while others complain constantly of being unhappy without actually taking any steps to rectify their situations.What would the world be like if everyone could just be?Don't get me wrong, honesty (i.e. vulnerability) with some people is a really bad idea. I'm talking about the relationships that really matter to us, the ones we want to flourish; not hiding things from people we care about and letting a little more of ourselves show.This doesn’t mean dumping our baggage on other people - our feelings are our responsibility. It just means coming out of our shells, being radically honest and really giving people the chance to see us for who we are and either accept us or not.Honesty is tough. I’ve lost people I truly cared about through being honest about my experiences and feelings. It’s frightening and, at times, very lonely.But the truth is the truth and we always have choices.We can also commit to hearing other people, no matter how difficult or uncomfortable it might be. This doesn’t mean taking responsibility for other people’s stuff, it means listening and accepting that this happened and they felt that way as a result. There is a difference between hearing what people have to say and empathising with their experience, and taking responsibility for it. A major part of becoming who you are is recognising this difference.Hiding ourselves will not help us be happy. I said earlier that we always have choices. We can make the choice to be who we are: fully, wholeheartedly and unashamedly ourselves.Honesty starts with yourself.What have you not been talking about recently?