Blogger | Teacher
One of the first lessons you learn as a kid is that it’s important to be honest. The adults around you tell you that you need to tell the truth, it’s bad to lie, that you’re misbehaving if you’re telling a fib. Children know all about how important honesty is.
Even so, there comes a point as you grow older where the line between “lies are bad” and “the truth is good” begins to blur. Sometimes it’s necessary to lie – maybe you are trying to preserve someone’s feelings, or maybe the information is too personal to be honest about. We tell ourselves that a little white lie is okay now and then because no one really gets hurt.
Most often, it seems, we are willing to lie if it means we don’t have to potentially hurt someone else or cause a fuss. We lie to protect others, but we also avoid the truth because we feel that our own truths aren’t important enough to create a confrontation. But our feelings, our needs, and our boundaries are just as important as anyone else’s, and it’s okay to be honest about those things in order to promote your own comfort and well-being.
It’s Okay to Set Boundaries
One reason people often avoid being honest is because they are afraid to impose on others. If someone is making you uncomfortable or causing you undue stress over something they’ve said or done, you may feel that bringing up your feelings is unnecessary. You may even feel that by telling them they are upsetting you, you are somehow imposing on them and being a burden.
If you avoid being open about your personal boundaries, you are essentially saying that your needs are less important than someone else’s, which really isn’t true. More often than not, people don’t realize they are being hurtful, and it’s up to you to tell them how they’ve upset you if you want things to change.
There is nothing wrong with putting your needs first and creating boundaries with the people around you. Having expectations and needs for how you are treated is completely understandable and should be encouraged, not hidden behind white lies intended to make sure you’re not considered “a burden.”
It’s Okay to Talk About Things You Don’t Like
For me, I have the hardest time being honest when it comes to my friendships. I find it easier to be truthful with casual acquaintances or colleagues and let them know about any needs or concerns I may have. But being genuine with my friends about things they may do that hurt or frustrate me? Now, that’s a challenge.
However, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized just how important it is to be open with the people who are closest to me. Friendships and relationships grow and evolve the best when everyone feels safe and comfortable. In order for you to feel like you can grow into your best self in the relationship, you have to be willing to have the hard conversations.
Telling people about ways they hurt or frustrate you isn’t a bad thing. Not to mention, it’s much better to have those conversations early on, before the small things build up and inadvertently come from a place of anger rather than a place of growth and honesty.
You can’t expect people to change if they don’t want to, but you can be open about the ways you wish your relationship and interactions were different, and ask to work on those things with them. Friendships are a two-way street, and communication and honesty are the best ways to turn a casual acquaintance into a lifelong friend.
It’s Okay to Be “Aggressive”
Another reason people may avoid being honest is because they feel as though honesty comes off as being “aggressive,” especially in the workplace. I think many people experience this struggle between being honest and being amicable, and it can be hard to feel as though their needs and voices are important in the grand scheme of things.
But it’s 2022, and it’s time to stop worrying about your honesty coming off as aggression. If there is something you don’t like, don’t bury it away and hope it changes on its own! Step forward and discuss the things you wish could be different, whether it seems like a minor issue to you. Maybe someone else has had the same thoughts and concerns about schedules, dress code policies, or workplace drama – your courageous honesty could be the catalyst for creating change.
It’s Okay to Put Your Needs First
Another reason people may choose telling a white lie over being honest? They’re afraid of putting their own needs first. Don’t get me wrong, caring about other people’s feelings and needs is incredibly important, and empathy shows amazing character and a kind heart. But you can’t be so willing to put other people before yourself that you forget to take care of your own needs.
While there are going to be many people who love and care for you during your lifetime, you are the only person who can truly know what you need. You have to put yourself first sometimes and take care of those needs, or else you’ll never have the energy or motivation necessary to take care of others.
It’s alright to cancel plans if your mental health needs a day to yourself. It’s okay to ask others to take on some extra responsibilities in order to give your mind and body time to rest. And it’s perfectly understandable if you can’t function at 100% all of the time. You are a human being with your own wants and needs, and those wants and needs are just as valid and important as anyone else’s. Be honest about them.
It’s Okay to Be Vulnerable
Finally, being honest often comes from a place of truth and vulnerability, and being vulnerable can feel incredibly scary. More often than not, we lie about how we’re feeling or things that affect us negatively because it can feel too personal to be open and truthful about those things.
One thing to remember is that you never owe anyone an explanation. If being honest about why you’re feeling bad is too much then you can simply say how you’re feeling and leave the explanation out of it. No one should ever try to force you to talk about more than you’re comfortable with, and we as a society need to learn to be okay with a simple, “I can’t do this because I feel anxious/sad/overwhelmed/etc.”
But also, it’s okay to be truthful and vulnerable if you want to be. Your truths are yours, and if you want to share them then that is something you are allowed to do. Being vulnerable isn’t being weak or making excuses – it’s living your most honest, open self.
Never hide behind small lies because you are afraid your truths will burden others. Your needs, wants, and feelings are just as valid as anyone else’s.
I hope today you put yourself first and choose to live as your most open and honest self!
About Draven Jackson
Draven is an avid writer and reader who enjoys sharing her opinions on movies, books, and music with the rest of the world. She will soon be working as a teacher in Japan and hopes to use her experience to connect with other teachers and students around the globe. Draven spends most of her time at home with her family, her dogs, and her ferret.
To see more, view all posts by Draven Jackson here.