How many times have we become witnesses to relationships that have gone haywire because of lies and deceit? We have heard stories of people who have suffered from their partner’s dishonesty, and more often than not, they develop a sense of distrust in anyone because of the ordeal they have gone through. In a way, even though it’s not us who’s been lied to, we understand the pain it can bring, especially when we imagine someone we really love will. We know that when honesty is not valued, trust can never be established.
If you haven’t realized it yet, our expectation of honesty equals the trust we have in the other person. It’s hard to trust someone you know how to lie, and it’s even harder to rebuild them when betrayed. This is why it should be at the center of your relationships, whether it is shared with your family, friends or lovers. As much as we expect from others, it is also right that we exercise it in our words and actions. To summarize briefly, honesty is the value in which we express our commitments. Without it, the foundations of your relationships will crumble.
We might think that’s easy, with all the adages we’ve grown up on, like “Honesty is the best policy” or the equal cliché “The truth will set us free”. While these are great tips to follow, ironically they are difficult to follow. While I said this should be at the heart of any relationship, it also turns out we’re not very good at it. Researchers have found that people who date lie to each other about a third of the time. Married people apparently do the same, with one in ten interactions deceived. Bella DePaulo, a social psychologist, also found in her research that 64% of the “deep betrayals of trust” we make are made to those who are really close to us.
Surprised? Whether you are or not, it wouldn’t hurt to have a careful assessment of your honesty in your relationships. What truths have you hidden and which have you worked out? If you feel like your practice of telling the truth still has a way to go, here are some easy ways to be honest in a relationship:
1. Be patient.
Before you dive deep into the blur of honesty, you first need to develop a little patience – for yourself and your partner. Honesty can seem like a very good thing to practice, but it can also be very difficult. If you have difficulty communicating how you are feeling, it will be very easy to get frustrated. Finding the right words to say can be a challenge.
Your patience will take you through the tough days. Remember that honesty is not just a value. It is also a practice. You are building a new habit, so don’t be too hard on yourself.
2. Be honest in your reactions.
Most of the time, we minimize how we feel just because of our fears of hurting or losing the other person. You might think you’re saving the other person from your feelings, but you’re actually not doing your relationship any good when you do. No matter how sad or angry you think the other person will be, we can guarantee they’ll be even more upset when they find out that they’ve been lied to.
It’s hard to be in a relationship with someone you can’t be honest with. If the person offends you, say so. If you liked what they said, express your appreciation. Openness will also encourage the other person to become more expressive of what they are really feeling. Remember that there is a fine line between being honest and cruel. Choose your words correctly and you will be fine. There is nothing more beautiful than a couple who can freely say what they are feeling without fear of a fight.
3. Be sincere in your actions.
Similar to how we should only say the words we want to say, we also should only act based on what we really feel inside. Sincerity is not only practiced in speaking, but also in actions. If you find yourself doing things that don’t reflect how you really feel, take a break for a moment and ask yourself why. Only do things that turn you on. Doing things that you are not sincere about is just as good as pretending – it is not honesty.
4. Be gentle.
As mentioned earlier, there is a thin line between honesty and cruelty. Remember that we are building it to have better interactions with our partners. Of course, it’s right that we do it with love, empathy, and clarity. Telling the truth should always be your priority, despite your fears about how it will be received. Don’t forget to communicate it from a place of love. Over time, you will observe how much stronger your connection has become, thanks to the better dynamics that you have strengthened through honest communication.
People who are happy in their relationships will tell you that they are happy because of the openness they have established. They trust their partners enough to know that they will only hear the truths and see sincere actions from them. Always keep in mind that the truth has fun ways to find its way to anyone’s attention, so be honest. Admire your mistakes, your emotions and your actions. Love can be what starts a relationship, but honesty is what will sustain it. It is essential to keep your relationships healthy, free from the toxicity of deceit and lies. At the end of the day, there really is no such thing as a little lie or a white lie. Always choose to be honest.