I’ve always been honest to a fault. At times, it gets me in trouble. For honesty is often misinterpreted as insensitive, or rude, or annoying in our society. Granted I could probably work on my delivery, or simply keep my honest opinion to myself, but ________ (fill in the blank with whatever excuse you see fit, because I’ve used them all).
My honesty is a prime example of my greatest strength often becoming my greatest weakness. It’s one of the traits I value most in myself and in others.
I think it’s one of the reasons I value working with teenagers. They ARE honest! They tell you if your shoes are ugly, if you’re not as cool as you think you are, or if your talk, style, and everything else about you is outdated. The filter of adulthood passive-aggressiveness is yet to develop so they let it fly undeterred by how it might be received. And, they are shocked by the looks of disgust, or the sensitivity of others.
But often hidden below this external bluntness, is the hidden truth. The things they think we, as adults, can’t handle. Their honesty actually masks the truth that they secretly don’t want to hold onto, but are too afraid to release into our safety; afraid of what we may do with it.
This dichotomy is often where I find myself with my girls, caught between complete honesty and complete hidden truth. I secretly love and hate it, because I never know where it’s going to take us in a relationship.
Last week, I was discussing with a young lady about what our individual journey may look like and we began to draw it out. On her masterpiece, I noticed she had included me. She caught me looking, smiled, and brought out a pink color pencil and quickly colored in very rosy cheeks (how’s that for honesty). As we continued thinking out our journey, she began to explain how the people on her picture makes her feel loved.
Of course, my heart melted just a little, but I kept it together. We continued to talk about it. Why did those people make it on her list? Did she feel loved by other people or just the ones on the sheet? What did I do to earn that honor? And she said something unexpected. She said she felt loved by other people but the people all the list showed her true love because they were always truthful with her!
My heart swelled a bit. A trait that many people find offensive, or too much to deal with, was the very trait she needed and valued.
Honesty demonstrated love.
Truthfulness encouraged her to be open.
True relationships helped her to be herself.
Honesty, it can be weakness at times, but this week it was my greatest strength.