Why Do I Like Honesty? | Steve's Quest: The Animated Musical Web Series

Why Do I Like Honesty?

Over the years (and it has now been years) this blog has been around, the focus of my writing has shifted from making recommendations about what you should do in order to be happy, to honestly sharing about my experience.

I don’t think I’ve ever explored with you all why my writing has evolved this way, and it’s an issue I think is worth exploring.

After all, it can be scary to share honestly, and it certainly isn’t a surefire strategy for getting blog traffic.  When I talk about my own “uncomfortable stuff,” it has a tendency to bring up others’ “stuff” too.  People who read blogs to get a break from their stuff, rather than see it plastered across their monitor, might not be cool with that.

I Don’t Tell The Truth Because It’s “Right”

Here’s another interesting fact I’ve noticed in my self-exploration:  my honesty doesn’t come from a desire to be “right” or “moral” either.  What morality demands when it comes to honesty is a tricky issue — some people would say it’s wrong to be “too honest” because it might “hurt somebody’s feelings,” while others would say honesty is required at any cost because “lying is always wrong.”

No, I don’t share vulnerably because it’s “the right thing to do” — I do it for the sake of my own growth.  If others grow along with me because they read my writing, that’s wonderful.  (And from my mystical, Northern California point of view, we all grow together whenever one of us does.)  But if I told you I share solely out of a selfless desire to improve your life, I’d be lying.

Honesty Is Like A Massage

Why does authentically talking about myself improve my life?  For me, it’s pretty simple — my body releases tension and relaxes when I’m genuine about what I’m feeling and thinking.

Whenever I’m pretending I have feelings, wants or thoughts other than the ones actually arising in me, my body tightens up.  The easiest example of this is a fake smile — forcing my lips to curl upward, when it’s not what my body would naturally and unconsciously do, creates tension in my face.

I have the same experience when it comes to everyday “small talk.”  If someone asks me “how are you?” and I respond “fine” even though that isn’t how I’m feeling, I feel a tightness and sourness in my stomach.  By contrast, when I tell someone what’s actually going on for me, even if it isn’t all sweetness and light, the sensation can be almost like getting a massage.

I used to be more willing to compromise — to tell people I felt “fine,” laugh at jokes I didn’t find funny, and so on — thinking the tension that built up in my body when I acted inauthentically was a small price to pay for keeping people happy.

What I eventually realized, from talking to a number of people about what it felt like to be with me, was that, when I compromised and held back what was really going on, their bodies tensed up as well.  Every time I withheld the truth, or at least “my” truth, I was bringing more uptightness into the world.

My hope is that my writing can function kind of like a good shoulder rub to help me — and others — release the tension that builds up from living in a world where we too often silence how we feel and what we want.

6 thoughts on
Why Do I Like Honesty?

  1. Patricia

    Lovely post – I read it 3 times and found I was smiling and relaxed. Thank you

    As a child I rarely spoke up when I was away from home, I talked all the time at home to form a barrier against absorbing my families feelings and doing them for them. When I did speak up in public I was often finding that my words bothered other people.

    I talked all the time in college and graduate school to create space, and ward off absorbing others emotions. I learned I also problem-solved by talking and listening to myself (outloud) and a good teacher taught me how to journal my need to hear myself.

    I have learned over the years that I am a kind person and that is my basic premise into life.

    I have learned that I enjoy being at home and quiet most of the time now….I read to travel and explore the questions of life and with the blog only need to write a post to share what is on my mind. I do not write fast quick posts…they take me about 4 hours so I say what I want to say.

    I have spent most of my life dealing with illness….and this has made very honest and my honesty makes others often uncomfortable not relaxed.

    I have a place to say what I want to say with the blogs. My greatest weakness is making a living. I am a gifted listener…hopefully Wise Ears will help me in both expressing my self and making a living?

  2. Pj Zafra

    Hey Chris,

    Great post here. Honesty is definitely very important. It’s what keeps families, friends, companies, etc. stay strong together. It’s what can strengthen or collapse something. Great to see that your main goal is to stay as honest as you can. I really practice honesty a lot. It’s very important. Thanks for sharing this! keep it up! :D

  3. Sara

    Chris — I’ve a feeling you don’t any idea how many people you touch with your honest posts. We all need to know someone is also working on themselves — it’s a shared “fix-fest” and I mean “fix” in a “gentle, becoming more aware of who we really are” sense.

    There are so many preachers out there who promise the answers, but they can’t give them to us! They might offer suggestions, but it’s not until we look ‘honestly’ inside ourselves that change will really happen.

    So, I say keep at this. I know I appreciate you sharing your path to growth. Countless times, you’ve given me a hand, helping me move a bit further on my own growth path:~)

    BTW Thanks for your kinds words about my dog.

  4. Robin Easton

    Dear Chris, this is SUCH a beautiful post. I LOVE it. It is one I am going to share with my husband as we just recently had this same discussion, and found just the discussion empowering. I could not agree with you more on this. And I have always loved that part of you the strives for honesty. It is what I meant when I once said, you go to a deeper more grounded level. I really feel that being honest isn’t an moral issue as much as an something that keeps us SANE, grounded, whole and fragmented. Sometimes as kids we are forced to lie repeatedly to protect ourselves from abusive teachers, parents, priests, etc. We are taught to lie when we learn that it is NOT safe to honest. Beautiful, beautiful post my dear friend. So proud of you. Huge hugs to you. Rob :)

    PS: Thank you SO MUCH for the honest encouragement that you offer me and others here. I need it in my life, now more than ever. Bless you dear soul.

  5. Jannie Funster

    What a rare and special gift you are, Chris!

    A women I am becoming good friends with asked me on the phone the other day how things were, and I said well… financially, pretty touch and go these days, and I expounded on it a bit to her.

    When she called me yesterday she told me she’d had a fight with her 14-year-old daughter that morning.

    And we both felt better for being able to share what was truly on our minds and in our hearts.

    I think it makes us go easier on ourselves to know that others have concerns too. Maybe?? At least, I feel like that now having read your calming post.

    And thank you for the gift of reinforcing what I’ve been feeling lately — when I am not honest about my feelings, I am hurting myself. At least — that’s what your post inspires me to take away here today.

    Thank you very much for this Awesomeness from mystical NoCo. Can we call it that? As we call SoHo? :)

    xoxo

  6. Sara

    Chris,

    Guess what? You’ve received an award:~) Stop by my site and pick it up when you can. This blogging award is a bit different than the usual “mememe” awards. I found it very challenging.

    I miss seeing a post up here, but hope this means you are busy. I liked what Jannie said above and agree with it wholeheartedly “What a rare and special gift you are, Chris!

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