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Psychoanalysis • Psychotherapy • Counseling

David I. Brandt, LCSW, LLC

Montclair, NJ Area

Tools & Insights

Blog

Honest for Whom™

Posted on November 3, 2013 at 7:54 PM
Honest for Whom™

[Note: Push the "MORE" button below to continue this post.]

How many times have we heard: “Honesty is the best policy.”  Or, “Be Real." Or, “I tell it like it is." Or, "I pull no punches.”  Or, “I say exactly what is on my mind.”  Whereas, in general, "the truth  will  set you free”, there are several situations where it may be better to think before we speak, or, in other words, where “discretion  is  the better part of valor”!

When one feels like “telling it like it is” and being totally up front and honest with another, it is a good idea to ask oneself, Honest for whom???  Are we being so honest and direct because  we  feel better after it?  To prove a point?  Exact our pound of flesh? Or, is there really a good purpose in our honesty?   What are our motives?  Are we helping someone or some situation or does it just end up being purely hurtful and gratuitous?  These questions to ourselves are important filters through which to test whether or not to disclose, or confront others with, our “truths”, as we subjectively experience them.  Taking a moment to reflect upon our motives vs. impulsively blurting out the “truth” is essential!

Since truth is often a subjective interpretation of matters, it is  our  truth and not necessarily another’s.  (And, by the way, IT IS INDEED important to attempt to be as honest as possible with ourselves!)  Much thought must therefore go into whether or not it would be helpful to confront another with our views/feelings.  There certainly are times when it is of great value.  As often, though, there are times when silence or letting a person come to their own sense of themselves and/or their actions is equally as valuable and perhaps much more likely to bear positive fruit!!


Categories: Adages to Live By, Adages to Live By for Therapists, Communication Skills, Parenting, Relationship Tools

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4 Comments

Reply David P
3:27 PM on November 4, 2013 
Well said. I find that even my own version of "truth" can change with how im feeling at the moment, and even flip flop completely.
Reply David Brandt
3:29 PM on November 4, 2013 
David P says...
Well said. I find that even my own version of "truth" can change with how im feeling at the moment, and even flip flop completely.

This is an appreciated and quite accurate comment! Even our subjective truths are 'transient' as well! Thanks!
Reply Jenny B
9:32 PM on November 8, 2013 
great post on honesty!

i think it begs a follow up about how if one does decide to "confront" or "share" their truth, what is the best way to present one's own (subjective) view so that the listener will truly hear it

i think so much of relationship dynamics is about meeting in the middle -- wherever that middle may be and however "objectively" left or right of center that middle may be.

this ties in well with the cartoon you chose (which was so tiny i could barely read it, so perhaps i'm misinterpreting it or making up my own thing)....one interpretation is that the humor is in the wife asking the husband how the beer is coming, when clearly the wife's book is a much more appropriate target of the question "how is it coming?" But really, each is simply enjoying his or her own thing, so why shouldn't "how's the beer coming?" be just as legitimate a question as "how's the book coming?"
Reply David I. Brandt, LCSW
9:47 PM on November 8, 2013 
Jenny B says...
great post on honesty!

i think it begs a follow up about how if one does decide to "confront" or "share" their truth, what is the best way to present one's own (subjective) view so that the listener will truly hear it

i think so much of relationship dynamics is about meeting in the middle -- wherever that middle may be and however "objectively" left or right of center that middle may be.

this ties in well with the cartoon you chose (which was so tiny i could barely read it, so perhaps i'm misinterpreting it or making up my own thing)....one interpretation is that the humor is in the wife asking the husband how the beer is coming, when clearly the wife's book is a much more appropriate target of the question "how is it coming?" But really, each is simply enjoying his or her own thing, so why shouldn't "how's the beer coming?" be just as legitimate a question as "how's the book coming?"

Re: Cartoon - you did get the right meaning - like the way you put it - also, you can 'Click on Cartoon to Enlarge'.

My Blog entries, "Enlist Them in Your Bind", "Shared Meaning", "Approach, Tone and Attitude" and "2% Rule" all address in some way how we might confront the other in constructive ways when needed. But you are right. This entry on "Honest for Whom" should not stand alone! There also will soon be one, I hope, where I put forth the advice to 'not hold it in' and 'speak one's mind' in healthy ways as positive aspects of communication as well. Not all guidelines are for all circumstances and it is probably the knowing when to utilize which that good communicators make! Thanks for your input!