Life at UCB through the eyes of our international student bloggers

Don’t be scared of being honest

Don’t be scared of being honest

You know what they say, honesty is the best policy.

Let’s face it, it’s so hard to be honest in this complex and fraught world. Honesty is associated with dreadful confrontation. Punishing people for being honest has been unintentionally normalised. Suddenly, it is not safe for us to share the truth, and we have trained ourselves to shelter our feelings from getting hurt by judgements from others.

We have been taught to keep everything bottled up because pouring everything out makes everyone else uncomfortable. We have learned to take care of other people’s feelings more than our own. We don’t trust ourselves to handle the truth and the pain that comes with it. Nevertheless, we should give ourselves credit, our hearts are made to heal.

People should hear what they need to hear rather than what they want to hear. Honesty is the ability to tell yourself the emotional truth in any situation. Sugar-coated truth, or rather the watered-down version of reality, could be unhelpful. Although it is being told with good intention, it may lose its actual purpose in translation. It might give us unrealistic hope and could put us in a state of denial. We may deny and reject the truth we so need to accept.

It isn’t anyone’s fault when we are in denial. It is, after all, a coping mechanism. It gives us time to adjust to uncomfortable and upsetting situations, but it could be destructive and delays our ability to address the issue. It could also be a defence mechanism because acknowledging the reality is unbearable for us as it threatens our ego, force us to admit our weakness and secret desires.

Dishonesty is often the outcome of turning away from pain at some level which leads to lying and denial. We do it because we choose to live with the long-term consequence of lying to ourselves and others than face the temporary pain of the truth. In some way, it could also be that we are afraid to criticise and challenge ourselves. We often neglect those unpleasant emotions. We don’t let ourselves sit with them without judgement. We reject them and sweep things under the rug.

It is easy to ignore and stay in denial but doing that does not make it disappear. It will find its way to rise to the surface until you can properly tackle it. No matter how unpleasant it is, these things exist to allow us to grow and improve ourselves. It shows us what our triggers are or what it is that we have not adequately dealt with. We can only learn from this if we acknowledge it and take proper action for it. It will not be easy and it takes time, but at least it’s not going to stay that way forever.

You’ll find that there is strength in being honest with yourself and with others. You don’t have to live in constant fear of being dishonest or getting hurt. You free yourself from being trapped in a web of dishonesty. The first step towards being honest with someone or ourselves is the scariest, but it is the most gratifying step we’ll ever take. We will live through the unpleasant emotions and grow stronger.

We need to be emotionally stronger to thrive in life, and that can start with being fearlessly honest.

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