Is Speaking Your Truth Good For You

If you avoid conflicts to keep the peace you start a war inside yourself.  - Unknown   The other day I was catching up with a friend and her boyfriend. We were talking about dating. I was sharing with them my dating escapades and how I feel anxious about feeling undesirable soon.  Hitting 40 in a couple of years makes me anxious.

I tell them sometimes I feel like I have to lie about my age so guys will actually want to get to know me first, and not stereotype me as ‘old’.  But then sometimes I can care less – (and yes it’s usually when I’m not as interested in the guy).

 

The funny thing is when someone likes you, it really doesn’t matter. They like you for who you are not because of your age. Well, most of the time... unless you are Leonardo Dicaprio who has a reputation to date girls under 25 because that seems to be his ‘preference’.

 

With that, my friend was trying to console me and say things like no, that’s not true. It’s about your personality, you have so much to offer. Not all guys are like that.

 

Yes. Not ALL guys are like that.  But if a man who is single in his mid-30s to 40s had a choice to date someone younger, most would probably choose younger. And yes there are examples of older women dating younger men, but it is not as common.

 

She then turns to her boyfriend and said, what do you think? If we weren’t dating, would you choose to date someone older than you or date a 21 year-old?

 

He responds 21.

 

My friend’s eyes widened in disbelief, What? Are you serious 21?! That’s a little young isn’t it?

 

He replies, yea.. but if the opportunity presented itself and I was lonely and looking for someone, why not?  I’m just being honest.

 

She continues, I can’t believe you.

 

And he replies, well, fine 21 may be a bit young... maybe 25 but it really depends on the circumstance. I’m just being honest and saying I wouldn’t rule it out, and my preference would be younger.

 

My friend seemed upset by his response. As tension began to fill the air, I tried to change the topic.

 

The next day she called and said they got into a fight. I asked what about? And it was about the conversation last night.

 

She felt disrespected by what he said. She said, deep down she knows his personality. He’s not like that. If it was just a conversation between the two of them, he’d be honest and say 21 is too young and that he would rather date someone closer to his age. But whenever they were out in a group, he always seems to feel like he has to act differently and say things that are out of character for him because he wants people to like him.

 

As I listened, I felt she was overreacting but at the same time I can understand where she is coming from. She wishes her boyfriend can be the same person when he is around her and when they are out with other people.

 

But in my mind, he was just being like a typical guy. I was not offended by what he said and had no expectations of the way he should be. I felt he was just being sincerely honest. Maybe because I haven’t spent enough time with him to get to know the other sides of him. Or maybe my standards are too low and need to raise my bar of self-respect?

The Truth

I thought it was a good thing he was being honest, and that my friend should appreciate his honesty more instead of being upset by the whole thing. In my opinion, he was just indicating his preference.

 

Why?

 

Because my preference is for people to be honest (even though sometimes I may not like or agree with what I hear).

 

The only caveat is someone is not disrespecting the basic rights of another human being. Like how it was recently leaked that Trump said:

 

And when you are a star, they’ll let you do it. You can do whatever you want. Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.

 

As offended as I am with what was said, can you really be shocked by him anymore?  He has done it and those who have witnessed his behavior have let him get away with it.  And we all know Trump is not the only one who has abused their power. How many times have you heard about countless stars, politicians and professional athletes using their status disrespectfully treating others on and off-set who are fronting like they are some saint when the camera is on. People are afraid to speak up to those of power because of the repercussions.

 

I’ll admit I have lacked courage always calling people out on their disrespectful antics on the spot when I see it first-hand. Sometimes I’m just plain scared of the ramifications. Sometimes it is better to stay silent and strategize how best to expose and reveal the truth vs reacting to something head on without thinking things through.

 

It’s kind of ironic how people (myself included) can’t handle the consequences and uncomfortableness of disclosing the truth but can handle hiding behind the bullshit non? When the Truth is - the bullshit that needs to be nipped in the butt and dealt with before it festers out of control, wreaking havoc in our mind.

 

My apologies, I digress. 

 

At the end of the day, you can’t please everyone. Like everything in life, being honest can be good and it can be bad. My preference has always been to be on the side of being brutally honest. Until I came across this one-minute video with a simple story that provided some food for thought.

 

It made me stop and appreciate more of what my friend was voicing and feeling. And it made me realize there is an art to learning to speak your truth in a less hurtful and harmful way.

 

Part of being in a relationship is to work through and find the balance that helps us understand each other and expand our perspectives outside of our defaulted frameworks, instead of choosing to see and hear only the things we want and drown out the things we don’t want to believe in.

 

Taking into consideration, the context, people, the time and place, what's at stake and how to express and deliver your honesty, it’s your call to do what you believe is right and what feels the truest to you in the moment.  Let people take responsibility and care for their own feelings.

 

At the end of the Snowden movie, the real Snowden makes a cameo and said something that really resonates with me:

 

I think the greatest freedom that I've gained is the fact that I no longer have to worry about what happens tomorrow, because I'm happy with what I've done today.

 

In the spirit of humanity, my hope is for us to be more self-aware of our values, in how we choose to speak and respond to our truth respectfully with the intention to bring more peace into our life and light into our very existence.

 

Photo by: Todd Quackenbush


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Categories: Blog and Personal Growth.

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