In the “Radical Honesty Europe” group on Facebook, I recently asked what topics people want to read about in my newsletters. I like the most popular response: “Real life examples of Radical Honesty.”
For me, the practice of Radical Honesty starts with dropping the little everyday bullshit as much as possible.
Five examples that are dear to me:
1. Not saying “I’m feeling fine” when actually I’m feeling tired / sad / stressed / confused / scared / etc. I give myself permission not to go with the auto-pilot niceties or social norms but rather saying what is really true for me.
I don’t want to spend my time pretending (lying) that I am well in moments when I am not. Even so, at times I still make myself uncomfortable sharing when I’m tired or stressed.
2. Sharing when I’m nervous, scared, unsure, insecure or worried. Though I judge this is a simple task, I—and people around me—hadn’t had a habit of sharing our worries or fears. The norm was playing cool and keeping the “negative” emotions to oneself.
I find sharing fears or worries aloud to be contagious. People tend to appreciate me for doing so and many even join in. By allowing my fears and worries to be just emotions like any others and even welcoming them to be there, I find the quality of my connections with others to be different—in a positive way.
3. Taking my time to check in with myself about what I really before answering a request. Rather than automatically saying “Yes” to a request, I try to take—whenever I can remember this wonderful practice—at least 3 seconds to notice my body. I try to tune in to what seems to be true for me in the moment. If I’m unsure and I want more time to figure out what I want, then I give myself permission to express that, too.
And I’ve learned to celebrate my “No’s” and to celebrates other people’s “No’s” in response to my requests. I judge saying “No” to be a loving act of telling the truth in response to someone’s request. And if I later realize that I said “Yes” when I had felt “No,” I express that in the moment of realization. That’s how we are oftentimes: not fully being in touch with what we want—and that’s OK, too.
4. Allowing myself to be excited, thrilled, happy, joyful, attracted, successful or proud of myself—and sharing that with others. Many times in the past, I withheld sharing my joy with a friend, family member or a co-worker when they were feeling down. I had bought into a common belief that when one is experiencing sadness or hardship in her/his life, then she/he cannot cope with others being happy.
Yet I’ve discovered that others can indeed cope with my joy and happiness. In fact, they oftentimes even express happiness or inspiration or appreciation to me in response. And I welcome others to express their positive emotions to me even when I’m feeling down. Though I might feel jealous, sad or angry, that’s OK, too. I—or anyone—won’t die from feeling jealous or angry. If we don’t share what is truly going on with us, we’re not allowing the people in our lives to see us or have the opportunity to like us as we are.
5. Noticing the sensations in my body more often. For years, I was excellent at staying solely in my mind and horrible at paying attention to the rest of the amazing information communicated by my bodily sensations. These days, at any given moment, when I notice I have been long in my head, I simply bring my attention to the sole of my feet. I notice for a moment whatever sensations I can in my feet: the pressure against the floor, the texture of my sock, warmth, coolness, tingling, itching, etc.
Nowadays, I notice the sensations in my body far more often and I enjoy pausing for a moment as I bring my awareness to being in the present, in my body.
What everyday bullshit or pretending have you dropped from your life?
What other ideas of everyday truth-telling do you have?
Tell me! I would love to share them in the next newsletter! (Attributed to your full name or just first name.)
And finally: I judge that every step counts! I propose you congratulate yourself each time you notice yourself breaking your habit of staying with niceties, saying “Yes” when you feel “No” or sharing when you’re scared or nervous. This practice is not about the number of times you fail, but rather about each time you dare to be a bit more honest, vulnerable and real. Every little step counts.
Lots of love from your fellow honesty weirdos,
Tuulia (and Pete)