An honest answer. What would you do?

lunarmama's picture

I've been coming to a point in my life where honesty is really paramount to me. I guess it always has been, liars have always made the top of my list of things I absolutely cannot tolerate. But now that I find myself in my 30s, and a housemama with two girls, who's health (in all ways) matters so very much to me, I find that more than anything I have to be my true self. It cannot matter how that disturbs or pleases other people, for the simple fact that I can only teach by example and I never want my kids to feel like some part of them is wrong just because other people don't get it. There is also the (more?) selfish reason that I want to attract the kind of people in my life that are cool with who I am, the way I am, rather than leading people to believe I'm something I'm not, thus creating friction between us.

In that vein I've come to accept that the truth sometimes hurts and that I can and will be hurt by it often (so if I'm asking for truth in my life I need to be prepared for this) and that I will hurt others with my truth (and that should not stop me from telling it). The pain that comes with truth shall not keep me from holding the truth up as the standard by which I live my life. That said, I don't want to be a bore or that lady that constantly talks about all her problems (though I know I probably seem like that here sometimes). I spent a LONG time isolated and alone in a foreign country without the ability to chat and make friends or share all the ups and downs of my life with real live people, face to face. Not to mention the fact that the Dutch have a very proper sense of decorum when it comes to revealing your true feelings, you just don't, it's not polite. So now, when I'm asked "how are you?" Or " How was your trip"? or some other such standard question, by people I'm aquainted with, I often reply "do you want to polite answer, or the real one"? I do this because I'm really done hiding who I am for the sake of decorum. If you ask, I'm going to tell you, if you don't want to hear it, it's up to you to say something, or not ask in the future. Now that I've been able to qualify this part of who I am I wonder, how many of you feel the same way? Am I alone in this? Because recently I'm coming up against a lot of people in my real life who just can't seem to handle the truth, no matter how benign, or even pleasant it is. They just don't want to hear it. They want a certain protocol (one I'm sadly unversed in) to be maintained and I'm feeling a little overwhelmed by the anger or distance that people seem to put between us when this comes up. So tell me mamas, when it comes to truth in your life, whether it's the way you're coping (or not) or how messy your house gets, how your vacation really was (the good and the bad)or how you are feeling today, how do you reveal it, or don't you?



PattyCakes's picture
Submitted by PattyCakes on

well that a slippery slope and there many facets to it. First and foremost and most importantly, it depends on who you are speaking with. I have never ripped anybody on hipmama a new one. But I have had my ass handed to me from time to time. You know what I am refrencing. My husband cannot handle the truth all the time. And people don't play fair.

Sometimes, it depends on what you are getting from the person too. if I had a kick ass friend that was tons of fun, but I had to censor my feelings about things, well then I guess I would let it slide.

It also depends on what the issues are. You know? Like you can't just confront your MIL all balls out and tell her that she did a crap job raising her son and thats why he is the moron he is today. Even if you said it with more tact.

But I am a very, very honest person. And a very lonely one too. Alot of people don't want to hear what I really feel, think, about the situation. They want their bellies rubbed and commiseration.

If your belifes generaly contradict the feelings of the masses, albeit the minutest thing in the world, super trivial most people will let you know that its inappropriate and try and correct your thinking as a favor for you.

Case in point, I can come on here and say in my opinion, its best for a child's parents to be married. I will instantly get all this blah blah blah blah blah blah blah piece of paper and ten zillion examples of how offensive what my opinion is. But if I come on here saying that I am some office victim by the old ladies in accounting that keep asking why I am not married and how much come off like some smug ass who is above it and its so oudated and unneccessary and archaic, then there will be no backlash.

Very rarely in your life will you encounter people u can be even 75% honest with

A HUGE lesson I have learned is that you never know who is opendminded and whos not. Theres alot of people who are just so adamant about what they think, feel and prefer that theres no talking to them even if they live in an all lesbian compound with pink hair and changed their name to Rainbow Bright. I used to think liberal= openminded. And even the term liberal can translate into liberal when it concerns them and what effects their lives only.

dynamom's picture
Submitted by dynamom on

because lately for a growing number of people I'll just say "fine" because I don't feel like getting into all the drama I've been going through with the state. I don't want to dominate the conversation with that talk--and it always ends up dominating as people have a million questions--whenever I go out. Or I'll answer more in depth but about some other part of my or my kids' lives.
Does that make sense?

mamakats's picture
Submitted by mamakats on

I'm with you about the honesty thing. Coming from my family - where truth was a very relative term - I find it incredibly important to be up-front, trustworthy, and genuine. However, if I find that if I am with people who do share my same values, I try to sidestep; for instance, if someone asks me how things are going and I know they really don't care, I just respond with, "don't ask," even if my response would have been a positive one I don't divulge. Living a life with integrity and earning respect from others is based in their trust for you - if you do not expect honesty from others and do not give truth in return, what kind of life are you really leading? Furthermore, pain (such as can accompany truth) is a passing experience and also an opportunity to learn and grow; why would I want to miss out on that?!

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Monarda's picture
Submitted by Monarda on

and I am increasingly trying to be authentic, recognizing that to be authentic does not mean that I have to provide alot of detail. This is difficult for me because I am the type to be "strong" and say everything is fine, but without sharing the real stuff of life, I find myself very lonely. So, for example, I think you know I have a chronic pain condition. People used to ask me about it and I used to give them every detail and kind of go on about it, and I got really sick of myself. I didn't want to lie, but I was also tired of people offering solutions and trying to somehow fix it. So now when people ask, I say, "I'm having a pretty good day," or, "I'm having a little bit of a flare so I'm taking it easy". I don't have to give them more or less than that, I tell the truth, and I claim my reality.

I guess the question to me is how much I share with whom, rather than whether or not I share the truth/am honest. I try to speak my truth with everyone, it's just that the degree of detail or vulnerability I offer might differ from person to person. This is as much for me as for them; some people in my life are not safe for me to share alot with, because they can hurt me with it. KWIM?

earthgarden's picture

Communication is very important to me and something I continually work on. In my experience, I have found that it's not so much what you say but rather how you say it. You can be totally honest about your life, your feelings, whatever, without putting most people off most of the time. The key is to express your feelings/opinion without making your listener feel personally attacked and/or to bring down their mood.

Unless they are mired in misery, I really think most people like to feel good when they talk to other people, don't you? Dwelling on the bad things, even if it's honest, generally does not make other people feel good. We all have problems and experience hard times, but at the end of the day, talking about your problems is like talking about shit. Most people would rather you talk about what you eat, rather than the waste that comes out later. Crappy analogy LOL! but you feel me?

The method that worked best for me in changing how I communicate with people was to emulate the people that I liked to be around, and examine why I liked being around them. I found that I like being around people who exude happiness and self-contentment, people who have interesting thoughts and ideas, people who make nice comments about others and look for the good in others rather than the bad, and people who are optimistic and look for the best in hard situations in their own life. These are the people I looked forward to seeing and being around. I don't like being around negative, angry people, or people who continually whine and complain and seem to stay stuck in crisis mode. I run from people like this because they are a huge energy drain.

I also try to focus on kindness when talking to people, which sometimes means I hold off on honesty at that time. Sometimes 'my truth' is much less important than hurting someone's feelings. Sometimes people are really raw and open with their pain, and I honor that by not causing them more pain if I can help it all. it's taken me a long, long time to learn that. Sometimes my truth is less important than just bringing someone else down by whining and complaining about some minor issue in my life.

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weirdmama's picture
Submitted by weirdmama on

but the funny thing is that when i have 'big' stuff going on that i politely exclude from casual conversation, people always end up later being like "why didn't you talk to me about it?!? i can't believe i didn't even know what was going on!" so i think that most people, as long as they're actually a big part of your life, would *never* feel like you were dominating the conversation with what's on your mind. if i were you, i'd dominate away-- anyone who doesn't want to listen should just eff off and not ask you again what's going on in your life! and, like mercury said, i think *how* you say things can be alot more important that what you're actually talking about.

or maybe i missed the point of what you were saying-- do you avoid going into details because it just opens the door up to a bunch of questions that hurt for you to answer? i'm not trying to be nosy, i just responded automatically to what you wrote and then was like "oh, wait, maybe i misunderstood?"

dahlia's picture
Submitted by dahlia on

Cashier at the store; I'm great, how are you??? (big smile)
DH; Honesty
A good friend whom I know has my back whatever; honesty
Casual friend; mostly honest but I'm gonna clean it up some "Such and such has been kinda stressful/painful/hectic, but it will pass. I'm thinking positively! How is your (specific issue I have previous knowledge of) going?"

It really depends on why it was asked too. Some people just want to hear that things are going well or you have it handled. Like a boss. Some people really want to know, or just want to have a conversation about how things are really going. Some people want to hear all the fabulous things going on in your life but don't feel comfortable saying something like "I am superficially interested in you and your life! Tell me something good because I want an opportunity to tell you something good about me!!! I'm not comfortable enough with you to see you as a multifaceted person with pain and personal issues, so let's just keep this chipper, shall we? I asked you first so as to appear interested and not too braggy."

bearsmama's picture
Submitted by bearsmama on

I am usually a super cleaner-upper, and I hate it. In casual conversation, I'm always "good" even when I want to scream and tear out my hair, or about as deep as I get is "i'm...okay...'. I usually feel like I need to come across a certain way...unflustered, maybe?

But I'm currently working on the whole honesty thing to set a good example for my little boy (hell, a little honesty would have gotten me out of soooo much of my current trouble, insted of just doing and saying what I thought other people wanted me to, at the sake of my sanity...) so I could probably work on this, as well. I often just feel like people don't need to hear about everything in my life...but they asked, right?

~Seriousness is a sickness; your sense of humor makes you more human, more humble.~

~Seriousness is a sickness; your sense of humor makes you more human, more humble.~

dynamom's picture
Submitted by dynamom on

Especially now that school's started again I see millions of moms all the time and I just don't feel like getting into all the details with them.
With real friends I definitely keep them in the loop of what's going on. But sometimes even with casual friends I guess I get tired of talking about it, plus in this scenario people do a lot of judging of Z's bio parents and I don't want to hear it, etc, etc.

weirdmama's picture
Submitted by weirdmama on

that makes sense, i hope i wan't being pushy by asking. :)