And though I’d like to be able to give you the “top 5 tips for expressing yourself honestly,” I don’t think that’s an accurate or helpful portrayal of the reality of expressing of honesty when life is difficult.
But over the last couple of years, I’ve learned some things about what it means to show up honestly in my life, accept where I am, and ask for help from others. I haven’t done it perfectly. I’ve definitely hurt others along the way, and my inner demons are still there, albeit quieter now.
But through all the trial and error of learning to be more honest with myself and others, there are some things I know to be true for me about honesty:
- It can be difficult to be upfront and honest, even - maybe especially? - with the people you are closest to. This is especially true if you’re from the midwest…oh passive aggressiveness...
- We’re constantly fed messages that encourage us to sugar coat things, and stifle our own honest reality for the convenience and feelings of others. Oh hi social media. Oh hi unreasonably high expectations. Oh hi societal norms and life milestones.
- When you are able to find others who can be trusted to hear your story, you’ll discover more compassion and empathy than you expected. But you don’t owe anyone any part of your story, especially when they’ve shown themselves unworthy to be trusted with your heart.
- Showing up honestly in your life gives you, and others, the permission to be flawed. All you achievers and perfectionists out there, this will feel weird at first, but it’s also really freeing.
I’m still learning how to be honest in my everyday life. Just last week, I was having a really tough week with a lot of internal and external stressors. Was I honest with myself about how much that was affecting me? Was I compassionate with myself? Was I considerate of how my stress and frustration were affecting those around me? Was I clear in my communication with others? Was I taking time to address my needs?