Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Reframing Honesty

What's the difference between dishonesty and full disclosure?

No, no. I'm really asking.

I had this conversation yesterday. It started out simply enough. I commented that I felt dishonest at times because I don't always share all my feelings. I keep certain things back, even from my husband. I present things carefully so as to keep from getting hurt. Or hurting the other person.

Is it dishonest not to share everything? Or is that just making a personal choice? 

I learned this lesson early on in my life. Limit what you share, because it can be used against you. For humiliation or for pain. So I am still reticent to share deepest thoughts and feelings. Trust takes a long time for me to establish, and is easily extinguished. I typically assume I am wrong -- the only one who feels this way or thinks these things. So it is best to keep these feelings and thoughts to myself.

Over time I have found I am not the only one. When I've found the strength to express things I haven't always been shut down. Sometimes there have been others who shared the same feelings and thoughts. Sometimes there have been others who appreciated my perspective as different from theirs yet still valid. 

By keeping so much to myself I allowed my perception to become skewed. I began to think of myself as dishonest in certain areas. I've joked for years about being pathologically honest. So how could I hold two such divergent views of myself simultaneously? I don't know, but I did.

So now I'm working (again) on reframing my view of myself. Honesty is a huge part of my moral make-up, but so is trust. For years I felt I had to choose between the two. Not so anymore, but it's still a hard lesson to embrace.

linking up with Just Write and Imperfect Prose


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