I used to be one of the people who never say what they mean. If I want something, I say I don’t want it; when I don’t want to do something, I say “okay”; when people ask me a question, I say what I know they want to hear. One day I just decided that not being honest to myself is simply too tiring to waste my life on. I don’t want to do this shit anymore. I don’t want to willingly be bound by someone else’s leash anymore. I’m DONE. The saying is true: stubborn people only acknowledge their crisis when they reach their lowest, when they can no longer make up any excuses to justify their behavior. I made it my mission to—either in a pretty or frank way—express my honest thoughts, and because it was a mission instead of an obligation, I didn’t care if people criticize or disagree with me. Because it’s only natural that there will be people who will oppose me, but it’s a mission, so I can’t abort my mission to fulfill some … nagging human, can I? Mind you, I’m still open to suggestions and advice, which are completely different from imposing values on others.
As I changed, I became frustrated with people who talk in circles. I slowly grow to not be able to relate to a lot of people. Not a lot of people are honest, and not a lot of people mean it when they say they like honest people.
People say something in your face, and act differently behind your back when you don’t “uncover” the double meaning behind their words. What? You expect me to understand what you’re saying when you don’t even verbalize it? You expect me to scrutinize your body language and get the hint that you never dropped? It’s okay to not say what you mean, but know that it’s exhausting, because it’s not a surefire strategy to get what you want, and it takes a lot of energy to be something you’re not. And please please please, when your words don’t end up being dissected and understood, don’t blame anyone but yourself.
To the dishonest people ...
One can’t be bothered wasting one’s time figuring out the double meaning behind another’s words. If you tell me NO when I invite you to a hangout, I won’t ask twice! I don’t care if you made an appointment with someone else (fake), or if you didn’t feel like going (truth). You don’t have to explain yourself to me. All your reasons are valid, and I won’t blame you for rejecting me for any reason at all! It’s your choice, and I won’t judge you for it. I know there are people out there who'd prefer a pretty lie, and that's why they live in their own fantasy world. There are friends who will hate on you if you reject their invitations. There will be people who hate you for your honesty. But you can't make them like you at the expense of yourself! How wasteful that is, to spend your life on someone else.
What I don’t recommend you do is to … say “yes” when you want to say “no”, or come up with some fake excuse to make the rejection … prettier. And then there’s another reason people say “no”, and that is: they secretly want you to coax them into saying “yes”. If you leave them be and accept the first “no”, they’ll get angry and frustrated. I know, because I have been through all these stages before!
Next time, know that you don’t have to justify your lack of enthusiasm with some false excuse. You are perfectly capable of making choices for yourself.
If you want to continue masking your words with honey, I’d understand. It’s hard to change so quickly. I would know. It is not wrong in any way, to choose to be dishonest with yourself and the people around you. It’s simply a preference of life. It’s simply a choice that dictates how your life will be for you. Will it be free? Will it be suffocating? Will it even be your life?
To the honest people ...
If you know someone who indulges in dishonesty and people-pleasing, don’t blame them. Consider their upbringing, past, and fears. I know a teacher who changes his decisions few times per hour. He adds “I’m joking” behind his sentences almost instinctively, but he isn’t joking, at all. He would bring the topic or idea up another day, and completely forget about the fact that he was just “kidding”. From then onwards, I take all his “jokes” seriously, because I know he’s not just “joking”. But considering that he grew up in a strict Asian family, and that he possesses a traditional outlook of life himself, I can understand why he’s unconfident in his own ideas.
People want to be honest but they are scared. Some are scared of rejection. Some don’t even know they’re scared because they never spend time listening to themselves. A habit stemmed from fear might have looped in their daily lives so often they don’t even recognize it, so they don’t like to admit that they are somehow plagued by it. They become dishonest to themselves. And again, it’s not their fault! Easy for us honest people to say “just be honest with yourself!” AND in reality, it’s just as easy as that, but remember, fear overcomplicates everything, and these people are boiling with fear all over! It’s hard for them to execute your advice. We have to be considerate towards them. How awesome (not) can it possibly be to live in an illusion—a comfortable essentially-utopian zone?
Flexible honesty, not rigid rudeness
As always, it’s a thin line between honesty and arrogance. If you’re in certain careers or positions that require you to communicate with different people, being extremely honest may only result in satisfying your ego.
This “consideration for others while being honest” thing has been a revelation for me but it doesn’t mean I can successfully execute my own advice every single time. I am in the early stages of this transformation, and I still get frustrated (even though I said it’s unfair to blame them) when I hear of people saying “no, it’s okay” and then ironically proceeding to backstab you. There’s just some people who forget what they said, and all they remember is you didn’t insist to reveal the real meaning behind their … “tactical” lie.
Share your own experiences! :-)
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