People often ask me questions like:
“What’s the difference between Radical Honesty and brutal honesty?”
“What if I judge the other person can’t take what I want to share?”
“Can’t lying be an act of kindness?”
I don’t think there’s kindness in us lying to someone and then essentially blaming our lying on some story we created about the other person being unable to “handle our truth.” Actually, I judge lying to people in that way to be unkind and manipulative.
I believe there is a kindness in telling the other person that we have something we want to express to them and that we judge they might feel hurt or upset or angry hearing what we want to share. If we’re feeling scared or nervous in that moment, we can share that, too. Then we can ask them whether or not they are willing to hear what we want to express to them.
In this video, I talk about the difference between expressing your anger clearly and using “honesty” to be an asshole.
Here are some ways in which I judge being radically honest is different than “brutal honesty” or “dumping one’s truth (shit) on someone else”:
- Share if you are nervous, worried or scared of speaking or any other fears/worries you may have. Making yourself vulnerable to the other person.
- Express your motivation for sharing. For example: “I don’t want to withhold this from you,” “I want to feel more connected to you and I don’t want this to be between us” or “Something in relation to you has been troubling me and I want us to talk about it.”
- Say that the conversation you want to have is not about arguing who is right and who is wrong. If you notice you are stuck in a debate about right vs. wrong, express that you want to have a different kind of conversation. Try to separate as much as possible your emotion from your story about that emotion.
- Actively listen to the other person and remain present with them for as long as it takes for both of you to shift towards getting over your “heavy” emotions (e.g. anger, sadness, etc). Remaining present with the other person—staying physically present with them, maintaining eye contact with them and being willing to hear what the other person wants to say—can be incredibly powerful in shifting the emotions from anger or sadness to understanding, love and appreciation.
You might also find this video interesting in which I answer a question about how to get over anger and how to deal with surges of overwhelming angry. Do you want to experience more fully—and get over—some of those juicy emotions? Do you want to express yourself more openly and directly to your romantic partner while staying present with them? Then join a Radical Honesty online or in-person workshop soon! We hope to see you there.
Tuulia (& Pete)
PS. Have you yet subscribed to our Honesty Europe YouTube channel? Every week, we upload new videos in which I answer people’s questions about Radical Honesty and I discuss subjects like dealing with anger, honesty in romantic relationships, how to practice honesty in times of isolation and the relationship between anger and sadness.
What topics do you want to hear me discuss in an upcoming video? Let us know!