Photo by Pavel Danilyuk
While honest and open communication is essential, people might find it challenging to practice. After all, this often requires one’s openness toward vulnerability.
Can you confidently claim that you’ve been honest for all, if not most, of your life?
If you’re given two options, a partner who’s honest or one who can lie through one’s teeth and not feel an ounce of guilt about it, who would you pick? People would choose the former without hesitation. After all, society has persuaded them to believe that honesty is the best policy, perhaps, especially in relationships. It’s the cornerstone of every successful and healthy relationship, with it being the crystal-ball trait that tells someone’s character.
By definition, honesty means “not lying,” which is a crucial piece in the relationship puzzle. Groups who avoid lying to each other are undoubtedly observed to have a more lasting relationship. In fact, studies have shown that honesty goes beyond securing a good connection. It’s also linked to overall improved health.
However, honesty in relationships is far more than not lying.
What Is the Point of Honesty?
Above its contribution to relationship longevity and people’s well-being, honesty makes life easier than dishonesty. Lying entails more than making another situation or information up. It also requires people to delude and believe in the lie, creating a massive truth around it and digging a hypothetical ditch for protection. The façade doesn’t end the moment it’s been given out. People who tell fibs find themselves forced to remember them and make themselves appear honest.
In Jamie Pulos-Fry’s book, Servants Heart from the Voice of a Volunteer, the author narrates how honest and open communication with others fosters good and faithful servant relationships. The author uses Servants to describe God’s loyal followers in this context. Hence, the book states that honesty helps people nurture authentic relationships. It ties everyone to a great life filled with healthy connections and growth.
What Does Honesty Mean in Relationships?
A lot has been said about honesty in relationships. Usually, it’s made to emphasize that people shouldn’t be deceitful to the person they love, with truth commonly what’s easily associated with honesty. But how does one share their truth with someone without being defensive or nitpicking specific details they wish to conceal in fear of damaging the relationship?
Honesty is usually about telling everything and being open to another person. It puts one in a vulnerable state. This can highlight one’s strengths and put their mistakes and flaws out in the open, making honesty scary. But with open communication, people can tell their partners what part of their lives they’re uncomfortable sharing or what scares them about the relationship.
What Does It Take To Have Open Communication?
Honesty in relationships means being true around partners. But this shouldn’t cost one their boundaries unless they’re ready to let their partners in. Honesty is essential, but so is respect. People only need to remember to keep open communication to reassure their partners they aren’t hiding things that may potentially ruin the relationship.
Building trust can be tricky. But here are things one must keep in mind:
The True Motive
Someone’s why is as important as their what. Why they’re saying what they’re saying should also be considered. Is the motive behind the statement beneficial for all parties? Or is this said out of a selfish reason that can harm someone else?
Knowing and identifying if one’s motive is essential means upping one’s mindfulness and awareness – mindfulness about their words and awareness about people’s reactions. If they’re mindful, they will have the time and consciousness to pause and think things through carefully before speaking. Are these words necessary? Is there a better, perhaps, kinder way to say these?
Honest and open communication shouldn’t just be about bearing everything. It should also be thoughtful and compassionate – a safe space for everyone.
Honesty also entails people’s openness to listen to whatever others say. The same tender and compassionate motive should remain regardless of what others say. Open communication is a two-way street. It’s a give-and-take process. People should be willing to take as much honesty as they give. Thus, listening to feedback and the other’s equally honest reaction is essential without getting defensive.