I had always thought myself to be a fairly honest person, and by society's standards I was. But what society considers honest and what true honesty really is, are two separate things. We've been systematically taught in our culture to make lying a part of our lives. We do it so often that we don't even notice it anymore.
Honesty is telling “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” Society's definition of the truth telling is to tell the truth ONLY if it doesn't make anyone uncomfortable, doesn't cause a conflict, and it makes you look good.
I'm not talking about the big lies, but more about the consistent, persistent "lies of omission" and "white lies" we tell people almost everyday. For me, I didn't even consider these small untruths to be lies until I experienced the exact opposite. The whole truth.
It hadn't realized exactly how dishonest I was and how much of myself I was holding back. This dishonesty caused me to feel disconnected from others and created small walls between me and my partner. When I withheld my whole truth, I withheld others from seeing all of me. This may be fine in most relationships but not in my primary relationship with my spouse, I wanted all of me to be loved, even those parts I judged as bad or wrong.
If I wanted to create true intimacy and closeness, I was going to have to let my partner see ALL of me. This was very scary for me because what if he got angry, or hurt, or decided "all of me" was not what he wanted and left the relationship? But then, what kind of relationship would I have if he only knew part of me?
· “Honesty can be tough but it's necessary if you want a close intimate relationship.”
Below are two excerpts from books I feel do a good job of explaining how honesty affects relationships. The first one is from the book "The Unimaginable Life - Lessons Learned on the Path of Love" by Julia and Kenny Loggins.
· Truth is the expression of love and is therefore always the necessary healing and loving action.
Mother always said, "The truth hurts." To this homily we would now add, "The truth heals." Love has taught us to be extremists for the truth. It is the surest path out of the old relationship-sabotaging belief systems. Many of us were taught that telling the truth is sometimes not being kind or loving, that it can separate us from what we want most, but telling the truth only separates us from our lies and our confused, limited self-images. Sure, the truth may hurt sometimes, but it never wounds the way a lie or half-truth can.
Most of us were taught to avoid pain at all costs, so it is a challenge to stand in our truth, knowing that it may seem to hurt a friend or lover or a member of our family. But when we don't tell the truth, it drives an invisible wedge between us and our lovers. If the goal is to stay within the awareness of love, the truth must be practiced continuously. Our greatest fear is that the truth will be abhorrent to our lover and we will end up alone. The reality is that the longer we are together, the more we practice the truth, the more trust develops and the easier the truth becomes. When we hide nothing, we can give everything.
In the book called "A Child of Eternity," there's a section that says what I've been trying to say for years regarding honesty in relationships. This is quite a nugget. Enjoy.
"Adri stresses the importance of living in truth, not as an esoteric principle but as a discipline. I really didn't understand what she meant by this until she created a lesson to teach me.
My brother, Jamie, Michael, and I were sitting together with Adri in August 1991, about to begin a meeting. Adri decided that we were not operating in a state of truth and she challenged us to recognize that and to do something about it before we started in.
Once she pointed this out to us, I knew it was true. I sensed in us all, not lies but states of incomplete truth. Still I hadn't intended to do anything about it. Why?
Because the state of half-truth is a normal one for most of us. The three of us weren't harboring dark secrets or lies that threatened to destroy our relationship or our work. We were simply suppressing all the little untruths - trying to avoid any troublesome confrontations.
Jamie went first, and confronted Michael about feelings he felt Michael was denying. Then I followed suit, questioning both Jamie's and Michael's commitment to this work. Lastly, Michael talked about how hard the whole process was for him.
Even though these weren't particularly significant concerns, still the difference in the room and between us after they were aired and cleared was amazing. I found myself in tears, first because I was certain, on a very deep level, that if I told all my truth, I would be abandoned - and secondly, because of course that didn't happen. That's the healing power of truth.
As Adri told us, "LOVING IS NOTHING WITHOUT TRUTH."
Although our issues and responses were different, what we learned had an enormous impact for each of us. I think we really understood, for the first time, how different our lives - and the world - would be if we could all operate out of a state of truth and love.
Within a loving context it becomes safe to reveal one's own truth. In retrospect we could see that suppressing truth limited our ability to love one another. And when we limit our love, we truly limit our lives.
As we experienced what it was really like to be in truth, love, and alignment, we became painfully aware of just how rare such moments are. Yet it was incredibly energizing to realize that we all have the potential to live in such a state. It is within our power, each moment, to choose truth over lies and love over fear."