Truth-telling. Authentic living. Being real.
These are phrases and ideals we often hear about, but do we truly understand the implications of truth-telling? The pure freedom that comes with being real? The awesome power behind authenticity?
Conversely, are we aware of the devastating consequences that comes from lies? half-truths? and misrepresentations? Both pre-meditated and unintentional…
This past Spring I had a conversation online with a friend which resulted in some distrust and misunderstanding. We were messaging about a difficult situation my family was facing. My friend approached me about information that she believed I misrepresented during our conversation and shared with me her disappointment and anger.
After looking back at our conversation I realized I had misrepresented myself by leaving out a piece of information. Although my error was one unintentionally made, it has (unfortunately) blemished that friendship.
I really hate disappointing people. I am a recovering People-Pleaser and the effects of this nature has caused (and still does cause) much heartache in my life.
Sometimes this is a reason we don’t tell the WHOLE truth. We want people to like us and we are afraid of them knowing the WHOLE truth. Oftentimes we seek to tell ONLY what we think is needed to know so it benefits us, but doesn’t hurt, anger, or drive another away.
Sometimes we are afraid to tell someone the truth about an opinion or belief we have because we are afraid of the reaction the person who has asked us. We instead should perhaps be more mindful about the consequences of the lie.
Believe it or not, there are always more benefits than dangers in telling the truth in our relationships.
Truth-Telling Fosters Deeper Relationships
I have written a lot about relationships and the importance of being real, seen and known. But it all comes down to this one principle; when you learn to trust and tell the difficult truths in a relationship you can be yourself in that relationship. If you can’t be yourself you can’t possibly go deeper in the relationship.
It’s the deep relationships that fulfill us our loneliness. It’s the relationships we invest in that we see profits. It takes time, trust, and truth to deepen a relationship’s worth.
Truth-Telling makes Stress-free Relationships
When you are honest and truthful you can lose the stress of lying. When hiding truth or living a lie life is stressful. You are constantly trying to remember all the details created surrounding a lie. When you don’t tell the whole truth there is worry about someone else revealing the aspect of truth left out.
Truth sets you free. (John 8:32)
Free from stress. Free from tension. Free from pressure. Free from worry.
Want the antidote to living a stress-free life? Tell the truth, always.
Truth-Telling Increases Confidence
You need to be able to tell the truth in a real relationship. When you make a move that is brave, like telling a friend a difficult truth, you send yourself the message that you can do OTHER difficult things, too!
Telling the truth gives you confidence.
We all want to be a good friend. You can’t be a good friend in a relationship when you are not a confident person.
I have been in relationship with someone who lacked any kind of confidence…it was a difficult relationship…one that took a lot out of me.
It ended. Awkwardly.
I have another relationship that has been for a long time. We tell each other difficult things. We speak truth about ourselves and about each other, to one another.
It has grown our friendship as well as our individual boldness and resolution in many needed areas of our lives.
Truth-Telling Eradicates False Negative Anticipation
Many times the worry and stress that we have in anticipation of telling someone a difficult truth is what causes us the most suffering. We work up the worst case scenario in our heads and then are so nervous that when the time comes to actually tell the truth we get scared. We might even wimp out.
Think about an experience where you told someone a difficult truth – notice, was it the anticipation of telling the truth that created your worry or stress? There were probably scenarios that you were lamenting over that never happened. Things you created in your own mind…
Fortunately reality rarely lives up to our most fearful expectations.
Truth-Telling Teaches Lessons
You can learn a lot from a difficult truth. We learn the most from our failures and the failures of others. When someone shares a truth about themselves they are sharing wisdom with you. Wisdom you can use to learn from for a situation in your own life.
When someone shares a truth with you recognize their courage and thank them. When you share truth with someone else you are sharing yourself and the wisdom you have from experience. This is the essence of friendship, sharing and learning together.
I have learned some of my greatest lessons in life from hearing about and witnessing other people’s failures. I have been fortunate to have a few friendships that are open, honest and truthful allowing me to be privy to lessons in life I would not want to experience. I am ever so grateful to those people for trusting me with their truths.
Grace in Truth
It goes without saying that truth-telling should always be done in a gentle and respectful way. (Ephesians 4:15) Telling a truth about yourself should be done in a way that honors yourself and the person you are telling. Speaking about a difficult truth should stay within the relationship and not used as fodder or gossip.
There truly are more benefits and not dangers to truth-telling. Remember this the next opportunity you are given to share a truth in your relationships. Be open. Be willing and see what God does with it.
Questions to Ask Yourself:
Am I afraid to tell the WHOLE truth in some of my relationships? Why?
Are there relationships I have desire to go deeper with? Am I willing to tell the truth (even difficult ones) to deepen this relationship?
Am I in confident relationships or draining relationships? Am I confident or a drain in my relationships?