Armitage’s guardian walked into the living room and stopped. She saw the wet puddle on the floor. Armitage peered by the corner of the room. He knew he had to wee and could not hold it in anymore, hence the puddle. His guardian pointed to Shanks, his brother from another mother, and said, “Did you do this?” Shanks, who did not know better, was just jumping up and down, happy for the attention given to him. He then proceeded to paw the door, indicating he needed to go out, presumably to relieve himself. His guardian looked at him, a bit bemused and confused, thinking that is not a typical reaction from a dog that had just urinated at home.
Armitage slunk out from the corner, with his tail between his legs, to the puddle and rolled over, almost indicating that it was he, not Shanks who did it. He could not let Shanks take the blame for his doing. His guardian looked at him and said, “Sorry! My bad! I did not take you out in time! Poor puppy!” She then proceeded to rub his tummy and gave him some fuss before taking both dogs out. Armitage immediately felt better, got up and trotted off happily with her.
The ability to be honest is a crucial one. Many know it is correct to be honest with others and in our daily dealings. In personal relationships, the degree of honesty reflects the degree of authenticity of self. The more honest you are, the less they need to hide behind a façade or a mask. Only then, with the right intention, can the relationship grow, flourish and deepened to the next level. Even if that honesty meant the relationship was no longer to be, at the most basic, that is still a relationship, albeit short, that was built on the truth. Some would prefer a relationship built on lies, dishonesty, and misdirection just to keep it. These relationships tend to stagnate and disintegrate over time. All relationships including friendship, professional and family are similarly affected by these principles.
Any start to a relationship will never be perfect and it is only with honesty that the possibility of change can occur. The honesty to identify the issue, together with the resolution to rectify it for a brighter future are crucial for the positive growth of the relationship. If things are hidden, no matter how well the intention is, over time, it will be exposed. The longer the duration of hiding, the harder it is to reveal. Sometimes, the effect of telling the truth is much less dramatic than what is expected. Many revel in extreme relief after confession. The truth can sometimes be quite debilitating to hold in. Many hold back the truth because of fear.
The fear of exposure, the fear of what others would think, the fear of not being enough which leads to the deeper fear of not being loved. Ironically, you know that to receive deeper love, to carve a much deeper relationship, you need to be honest. Scary stuff, that is why many do not do it. They prefer to live in a superficial relationship where perceived truths to harm the relationship are carefully hidden away, unmentioned. After all, what they do not know will not hurt them, right? Well, you know and that is enough to hurt the relationship and hinder its growth. Over time, it will eventually wear down and break it. At most, you may hold on to the relationship but it will remain in its superficiality.
When someone is being honest with you, you may discover something that you did not know or confirmed a suspicion that you had. It may make you feel angry, sad, horrible or induce feelings that may elicit an undesirable response. If they are presenting the truth with good intention, regardless of whether they seemed relieved, remorseful, happy or sad, remember to honour their courage and applaud their integrity in doing so. It is really not easy to speak uncomfortable truths, especially if you are not used to it. You would want the same for yourself as well.
Another important relationship to consider is the one with yourself. How honest are you with yourself? Only with honesty is there the ability to change. It is certainly not easy to admit your flaws, much less embrace and honour them for they are part of you. Without brutal honesty looking inward, it is harder to identify, much less rectify issues that may be hindering your personal growth. With courage and the desire to improve, you may be able to identify what is holding you back. Sometimes, you may seek counsel from mentors or your trusted friends. The reality is usually, you know. If you do not, it is also likely that you have covered it up with stories, reasons (really they are excuses), and/or the sense of helplessness (victimhood). You may call these ‘experiences’ or ‘life’. Until you are honest with yourself, it is not easy to be honest with others. Likewise, when you are being more and more authentic with yourself, your level of honesty with others will grow too. The truth will, indeed, set you free.
How do you know what level of honesty you have? Very simple, just look at your life. Are you living the life that you want and desire? Is the environment around (people and circumstances) enriched because of you? The potential in you is immense. Only by reaching and exposing your authenticity, will the power within you be seen by your world and in doing so, change your world. You are born unique and undoubtedly, have the power to influence your world. If your world saw you at your rawest, best and pure form, it would not only be touched but would be forced to reflect the immense power in you, being great itself when doing so. The only thing that is preventing this from happening is the shrouds of lies that you have accumulated over time which you call ‘life’.
You were born innocent and honest. Societal norms and your environment have influenced you to stray from your sovereign soul, your true self. Done with the best intentions to not only survive but thrive, you start making up stories about why you cannot do what you feel is right. Interestingly, you are wanting to reach the same place as if you were being completely honest.
So be brave, take courage (remember that courage is not the absence of fear but doing what needs to be done in spite of fear as you know it is the right thing to do) and be honest in your dealings, with others and yourself. All relationships will improve that way.
Armitage could not let Shanks take the blame. Is there anything you are not honest about yourself that is preventing your growth?
‘Honesty is very hard. The truth is often painful. But the freedom it can bring is worth the trying.’ – Fred Rogers