“The truth is, red is not your color. No, of course I’m not trying to hurt your feelings. You want me to be honest don’t you?”
When you are recipient of this kind of honesty you have to ask some questions: Is this person having a bad day? Is this just an instance of poor social skills or low self-esteem?
Several emotions and behaviors come disguised as honesty: Anger, revenge, justification, judgment, and low self-esteem. When someone justifies his or her honesty there is probably some conflicting intention behind it. Here are some of the red flag phrases.
Well, to be honest…
The “Well, to be honest” phrase appears every day in business and is the nemesis of all salespeople. On a follow up call you hear; “Well to be honest…” (The writing is on the wall when a prospect begins a sentence with that phrase.) Decision makers pretend they are interested in a product or service that they have no intention of buying, yet instead of speaking the truth up front, they pass out false hope and waste the time of the persistent sales person.
“Well to be honest,” translated means this: “I have pretended to be interested in your product or service, and even though I am the decision maker, I didn’t have the backbone to say bug-off. It seemed easier to lead you on, than to admit that I wasn’t interested. I thought that my procrastination would wear you down, however your persistence forced me to be honest.” Persistence facilitates truth telling. The same can be said for personal relationships.
I just HAVE to be honest…
“I just HAVE to be honest,” is a red flag phrase that you have just been deceived. It happens in personal relationships when the intentions are contradictory. For example, “I just have to be honest, I never really cared for opera in the first place.” In the ears of the recipient, the translation is: “I have lied to you, led you on and pretended to enjoy opera in order to please you and win your approval, but now that you are hooked, I’m ready to get real.”
Until we are aware of these conflicting intentions we create patterns of discord. Gary Zukov, author of Seat of the Soul says that we are unable choose our intentions consciously until we are conscious of each of the different aspects of ourselves. “If you are not conscious of each part of yourself you will have the experience of wanting to say, or to intend, one thing, and find yourself saying or intending something else. You will desire to release a painful pattern from your experience, and see it reappear yet again.”
Few people are self aware enough to be honest. Honesty is uncomfortable. It means honoring feelings and examining intentions. Anger is often cloaked in honesty with the hidden intention of revenge, which ends in the justification “Well it’s the truth.”
Well it’s the truth!
“I don’t enjoy going to the opera with you anyway. You don’t know how to dress, your manners are boorish, and it’s obvious you are outclassed. Well…it’s the truth!”
Have you ever noticed that “well, it’s the truth,” is always said after delivering a slam?
Anger disguised as honesty reveals hidden judgments or resentments or the unconscious need for revenge, i.e. you have hurt my feelings and now I want to hurt yours. No wonder we all believe the old adage, “the truth hurts.”
Neil Donald Walsh, in his book Conversations With God, says, “Feelings are neither negative nor destructive. They are simply truths. How you express your truth is what matters.”
Harriet Learner, in her book The Dance of Deception, says, “Much of what we call telling the truth, involves an unproductive effort to change, convince or convert another person rather than an attempt to clarify our own selves.” This tells me that truth is about representing ourselves and not placing demands and judgments on others.
If you have come to the conclusion that honesty is not only a heart breaker but also a time-waster, the only way to see through the deception is to become more honest yourself.
If you want your communication to be more competent and more conscious, ow is the moment to ask some life-changing questions:
- “Do I lead people on because it’s easier than being honest?
- “Do I use honesty as an excuse to express anger?
- “Do I understand my intentions when I express my honesty?
- “What other truths are unspoken in my honesty?
Depok Chopra says, “pain isn’t the truth, it’s what mortals go through to find the truth.
If we honor our feelings and examine our intentions before expressing our truth, our honesty will be softer, kinder and will be the kind of truth that sets us free.
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