Some time ago I was in a conversation with my husband. I had seen an email he had written and was objecting. “Why aren’t you being honest?” “You should be honest”. On and on I prodded. I surprised myself how irritated I felt about this response he was writing to another mutual friend.
It was the end of the day and as we went to bed I turned away and laid there, contemplating this disagreement. Why did I feel so churned up about it? I realised I could keep blaming him. On the other hand, I had just enough awareness to recognise that the strength of feelings was telling me this must also be about me.
I kept coming back to how important honesty is to me. I felt this very strongly and became quite accepting of this. As I did this, there was this burning, smouldering sensation.
Then like a light bulb turning on, I realised. This had so much energy because there was something about which I was not being honest. In a rush, I got my first clear experience of insight into what is commonly called – projection.
I was stunned by how unconscious I was! I hadn’t even thought of my not sharing information as being less than honest. And yet I could clearly see exactly that! How sneakily and unwittingly I had projected outward onto my husband, something that was clearly MY unmet need. Unmet by ME. How often do I do this I wondered. I began to notice my strong feelings and explore them as warning signs of probable projection.
Little white lies or avoidance of topics etc., all shades of not being honest that are easily overlooked, and possibly projected onto others.
I see honesty as central to love. Honesty is often extremely attractive and enlivening for relationships. So dust off your part truths and see what unfolds from heart honesty – oh yes I better add in this next piece >>
Honesty of analysis or opinion is frequently harsh and may lead to disconnection. Generally important to ask the other if they are up for hearing your honest thoughts. Give them a choice and in so doing you afford them emotional safety.
Without choice, unsolicited opinions and reactions can discourage us from honesty. Heart honesty as opposed to the former ‘head honesty’ is the expression of what matters to us and is free of blame, criticism, analysis, or diagnosis.
If we want more honesty from someone I encourage you to look closely at whether you provide a safe place for honesty to be received.
If you notice you are withholding honesty or avoiding it somehow. Shame or fear are pockets of emotions you might explore.
Nonviolent Communications is also where you can learn skills for heart honesty. I love exploring this topic. I would say struggling with delivery, degrees, and types of honesty is common in disconnection situations. And yet it can be an integral part of reconnecting.