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communicating honestly or 'overly positive'

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  • #114095
    Sann
    Participant

    Hi all,

    I’m not sure exactly where to put this, but since it is about communication and different views on it, I thought ‘relationships’ would be a good place.

    I often feel that I am asking silly things here. But, I have been feeling very lost in life lately, and now trying to get back to get a grip to be in touch with myself and do things with more awareness. So I need to learn a lot, and I guess it is good to interact with other people. Maybe better ask silly questions so that you can learn, than not ask and blocking yourself in it?
    I have been avoiding communication a lot lately, because I find it so difficult and just don’t know how to do it, so I feel that I have gotten quite out of feeling in touch with reality and with how to view things or social codes, and since I don’t have many people to discuss about that, I hope you guys would like to share your views with me on this.

    I am very insecure and tend to put myself down, that is one thing. I mean, I know that I have good qualities and that I am a good person, but I tend to forget that, and the ‘little monster’ inside of me with all his negative talk, tends to take over easily.
    At the moment I am staying with somebody, who is trying to help me, and who tries to point out things that are good about me. I feel that he is exagerating, I sometimes feel annoyed with the amount of effort that he is doing for that, but that aside – that is the context from where I write this.

    What I would like to talk about, and hopefully hear your views on it, is honesty in communication.

    Yesterday I made blackberry jam, this was only the second time in my life, the previous one was 2 years ago, so I’m still learning this and it’s obvious that it can be improved. While the jam was quite ok, I cooked it too long so it got very sticky and heavy – not the best jam ever. Which is ok, I’m learning.
    My host is not here at the moment, but he texted me that the jam was good, I texted him back that I liked it, but that it got too sticky, and he texted me back: the jam is perfect.

    2 weeks ago I tried to make scones, an other thing that I’m not very experienced in, and they hadn’t worked out very well. They were hard and flat, so not really scones. I told him I had tried to make scones but they weren’t super, and he said he liked them. I said that it is up too him to decide if he wants to serve them to his guests, and he said: “I just told you they are lovely, if you don’t like them that is your problem”
    I didn’t agree with that. They weren’t bad, but quite dry, and not much like scones.
    But he didn’t eat any of them after the initial half one to try, and didn’t offer them to any of his guests. They just stayed there on a plate in the kitchen with a towel over them, and I occasionally ate one of them, until I put them outside for the birds.
    So I wonder: he tells me that the ‘scones’ (they were more like biscuits) are lovely, but doesn’t eat them.
    I would prefer if he just tells me that he doesn’t like them.

    So my feeling is that he is talking more ‘positive’ than he really thinks.
    I wonder if he does that because I am very insecure, and he doesn’t want to give me ‘negative feedback’ – not sure how to put it in words exactly, maybe you understand what I mean.

    To me, it feels that I don’t really trust and believe him, that he doesn’t really say what he thinks.
    It feels like being brushed off, like “I’ll tell her that it’s nice and good and then she’ll be happy” or just doesn’t want to bother about communicating about it.

    Ok, I know, it’s only about some jam and some biscuits. But I say these examples because they are simple and not emotional.

    He also tries to convince me that he finds me an attractive woman, which I can’t imagine, and now it has come to a point that I feel annoyed because of the way that he talks about me (I’m shy to tell him to shut up, because I’m living in his house and all his hospitality).
    I think: he tries to say everything positive to make me feel better, and thinks that I’m so naΓ―eve to believe everything he says. And I don’t believe him anymore if he’s not even able to tell me something as little as that my scones didn’t turn out very good.

    I know that I have a big issue with trusting people, it takes me a long time and I lose it quickly.
    That is why I feel a strong need for honesty, so that I know that I can trust people. (which is maybe hard to know anyway, whether somebody is honest or not).

    I mean, ok, to be straight honest can come across as attacking or hurtful, and you don’t want to upset somebody.
    Like this story :
    http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=2746100

    tells us about compassion and about appreciating somebody’s good intentions and efforts, instead of just pointing out their mistakes. Obviously the guy doesn’t like burned biscuits, but he loves his wife and appreciates all her work she does for the family.
    So there is the side of being positive to somebody, to appreciate the effort that they do.

    But if somebody tells me ‘that’s great’ while it obviously wasn’t, I feel a bit like they think I’m an idiot or something, as if they don’t take me serious enough to just talk normally, or as if they think that i’ll make a unneccesary drama.
    So what’s the point in keeping talking nuancated to that person?
    It feels a bit fake to me, and I wonder when he is honest about other things.

    In the same time, I also have the tendency to be more positive than I mean, out of fear to sound criticising or ungrateful. So I also understand that tendency. Because I am insecure myself, I am afraid that they will be upset and that it will be my fault and then I have to feel guilty and all that – this is related to patterns that I learned from my childhood, where almost everything was my fault.

    Don’t know, long story, and feels a bit vague what exactly I want to say – I hope it is more clear for who reads it than how I feel it is while writing.

    What I actually would like to ask is: do you usually say to people what you think, or do you put some kind of positive film over it, and ignore the not-so-good parts?

    Or, do you think I’m being petty and making a drama out of something silly?

    Sorry to make it so long, I have difficulty framing things briefly.

    #114100
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Sann:

    As far as scones vs biscuits I had a similar experience in that someone who is great in the kitchen baked a certain something that was supposed to be textbook X but was a non textbook (yet to be identified and named) Y. As X it wasn’t good but as the unintended Y, I liked it. So I told him: I like these and I did and I ate them. I wasn’t attached to the intended X. Same thing with the overcooked jam issue (I just noticed that the blackberries I picked weeks ago for the purpose of jam making are spoiled!)- also, I am not attached to how jam is supposed to be- I like sticky jam just as I like sticky rice. If the jam is sticky then I will spread it finer on a toast.

    And I am very flexible: if the intended scones came out as dry biscuits, I will try dipping them in hot cocoa (yes!) and if the soak the cocoa in milk nicely, they could be a delight.

    Honesty vs being overly positive: I vote for honesty while being respectful.

    The man you live with seems to be interested in your well being. Maybe he sees you as too fragile to handle the truth and is too eager to build your confidence in yourself. Reads to me that he means well but is not aware that he is going the wrong way about it. Why don’t you tell him that trust is a very important value for you, and you need his honesty regarding your scones, jam and everything else, respectful honesty. Maybe he will be glad to receive your feedback about his overly positive ways and will be glad to correct himself so to be helpful to you. After all, if his intention is to build your confidence, to help in improving your well being, then he will be happy to learn how to do it and to stop doing what doesn’t help you!

    For you to trust him when he tells you something positive about you and what you accomplish, you do need to know that he does not lie to you. Did I say “lie”- yes, I did.

    anita

    #114125
    LakshmiPC
    Participant

    Hi Sann,

    From your words
    In the same time, I also have the tendency to be more positive than I mean, out of fear to sound criticising or ungrateful.

    Is it Life is teaching you to be “not more positive”, as you were put on the side of receiving over positiveness?
    Just a thought.

    As far as me, I was honest early in my life.Which made many of my friends turn away.
    As i observed that, most of the people cannot take “honesty”.
    I had experiences,where the people pressed me for a honest opinion, once i gave it, they immediately go berserk, emotional, defensive,sometime offensive
    like they will remark..”oh my scones were better than your last week cake” πŸ™‚

    So i learned that, It is OK, not to give my honest opinion on small things,just IGNORE.
    This is the life lesson ,I learned.. πŸ™‚

    Lakshmi

    #114130
    LakshmiPC
    Participant

    sorry missed this to add,

    I still give my HONEST opinion on big things. πŸ™‚
    so my suggestion is, “Because one is over positive on small things,please don’t extrapolate that, they will not give honest opinion on serious matters.

    Hope,I am clear πŸ™‚

    #114200
    Nina Sakura
    Participant

    Dear Sann,

    With regard to your first question,

    “What I actually would like to ask is: do you usually say to people what you think, or do you put some kind of positive film over it, and ignore the not-so-good parts?”

    I will answer this backwards: I am a rather critical person in reality. I tend to see the good and bad very clearly. However, when I am in a disturbed state, my focus is too much on the bad. The result is plain anxiety and self-doubt. Therefore, I choose to put a positive film and only focus on the downsides if the issue is indeed a serious one. With regards to other people, whether i say what i think depends on the context and necessity. However, with people i love dearly, i take extra care and think of the situation – sometimes plain honesty is required and sometimes it will simply hurt and demoralize them unnecessarily.

    Do you think I’m being petty and making a drama out of something silly?

    To be honest, I dont know what your entire situation actually is but based on what I have read, I can simply say that you are very anxious at the moment about knowing how to be perfect. You aren’t feeling too good about things and projecting that critical feeling about yourself on others as a result. Look at the bigger picture to overcome such feelings: Everyone, no matter how figured out they appeared have areas in life that baffle them. No one is perfect. Appreciate your friend’s efforts rather than making this a truth/lie/generalizing human nature thing. He is hosting you, being positive about your efforts – dont let these smaller details derail your inner peace. Pick your battles carefully.

    PS: How you feel is totally normal but social situations are handled best when we become less conscious about ourselves, others too.

    Regards,
    Nina

    #114660
    Sann
    Participant

    Hi all,
    Thank you so much for your replies and support here.
    Sorry for my late reply, I found it hard to come back here and reply, because I felt embarrased, like I did make a drama out of nothing.
    I think it might have been a too ‘mistrusting’ attitude from my side. The idea that people lie to me and fool me around.
    I think it might be good to let go of it more. Accept that he means well and that I will never be able to know somebody else’s thoughts a 100%. Some other people had given me some feedback about the jam, and indeed they found that it wasn’t the best. But, he is a man and he isn’t too much into this kind of cooking, so he is less critical anyway. Even if he says he likes it and then doesn’t eat it, and maybe didn’t really mean it, I think that I might do myself more service by not obsessing so much if somebody is totally honest to me all of the time, which is probably not very realistic.


    @Anita
    , I think that I did say something like that I appreciate that he is honest so that I can learn. He knows that, and he often says it. He still usually says that he likes my food, and I notice that I tend not to believe him. My experience has also told me, that as long as I’m in this state of mind (not believing somebody if they say something positive), it is no use to ask them what they really think, because I won’t believe the answer anyway.


    @LakshmiPC
    , I also used to be more honest when I was younger, probably more bluntly, and indeed that doesn’t get appreciated. I actually think that it might not be worth it, only with people that I’m close to or really like, is it maybe good to be honest.
    My host is probably honest about big things indeed. Yes it is interesting how people often ask for honest opinion and then get defensive if you do say so. It seems to be so hard, or we haven’t learned how to communicate properly..?


    @Nina
    Sakura, thank you for sharing how you go about it. And, thank you for helping me to see things a bit in perspective, in a very nice way πŸ™‚
    I think that I was begin petty, and indeed overly conscious. I tend to over-analyse things, and this was probably a good example of that.

    #114668
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Sann:

    Your latest post- you are …. perfectly reasonable, reads to me. My goodness, perfect insight and analysis of yourself and the situation. I am thinking… maybe that was possible for you, to see things so clearly, because living with your host is working well for you- gives you such peace of mind where you are able to see things as clearly as you do. Again, I am very impressed by how clear, organized and concise your last post is. Genuinely impressed and pleased.

    anita

    #114698
    Nina Sakura
    Participant

    Dear Sann,

    You’re welcome – I have done similar things too and still do sometimes πŸ˜› Eh, we’re all human. Its great that you trying to face these demons rather than let them over-power you though and i appreciate that you wrote back to all of us. Do write more sometime whenever you feel like, i would be happy to know more πŸ™‚

    Regards,
    Nina

    #114912
    Sann
    Participant

    Dear Anita and Nina Sakura,

    Thank you so much for your kind replies, that feels very warming.

    Anita, yes I think living in this place is working for me, it is a good place with good energy, a lot of meditation and yoga and other things, he had a lot of crystals and does a lot of other spiritual practises, which probably influence the energy of the place in a positive way. I have always been sceptical when people talk about the energy of a place because I usually don’t feel that, but here I notice that I am starting to have a bit more clarity of mind and manage to relax a little bit.
    However I still find it difficult with trusting and believing, which are probably mainly my issues. I tend to overadapt and trying to please, and than to completely lose touch with the way I’m feeling or what I think and then it all gets very messy. It is difficult but I guess that I can expect to get rid of such a strong and deeply rooted patterns in a few weeks. They are being brought to light more here, because it is such a relaxed place here. Facing these things are the first step, but they can be hard and often drive me crazy.

    Nina Sakura, thank you for your encouragement and to put it so nicely πŸ™‚ Haha it is a lot easier to let these demons overpower us, but not very helpful.
    I realise now that the isolated way in which I was living in the past years, has been very unhealthy and damaging for me.
    I will stay with this host for a few more weeks, and next month I will move on to I don’t know where.
    At some point in the next months I need to settle again, and find a place to live and a job and all that. I will need to pay more attention to making connections within the community, meeting more people and finding people that I can trust and relate with. Last week I saw a flyer for a group where people meet about mental health, and I think that might be very good for me, to have a safe place where I can talk about these things and support each other. I even think I might consider the availability of something like that, when I choose the town to live.
    In the meantime, while still travelling and volunteering, I will also have to look after this. Making connections with people and daring to trust them and to express something of myself, in an appropriate way, so that I can get different opinions and inputs that help me to keep a more healthy way of thinking. That is what happened here with writing in Tinybuddha, and I find it easier to be open for what others say on the internet, but I will need to learn to let it happen in real life as well.

    Thank you, I am so grateful for this community of caring people.

    #114913
    Sann
    Participant

    And, about the communication with this host.
    I guess it’s about ‘doing what works’.
    I do not feel very well with certain ways of his communication – and I think that was actually playing a part when I wrote this first post here, the fact that I didn’t express to him how I felt about that made me probably go much more into ‘finding fault’-mode – , but I am here for a few months, I guess it is not important enough to put these things right. If he was a friend or my partner it would be different, then maybe it would be more important to let him know that I don’t like certain things. Maybe just let go and focus on the positive things that I have here, to a certain degree – I mean, I guess if it goes too far for my, I need to put some boundary.

    Last week I did choose to tell him that I didn’t like the way he had asked me about my sexual experiences a week earlier. I found it very direct, and I didn’t appreciate it, but found it hard to say in the moment. He first said sorry and then got irritated and said that I should know by now that he doesn’t mean to offend anybody and that he means well. So I told myself, that I shouldn’t have told him that and I should have thought the way he wants me to think.
    But: I did feel uncomfortable, regardless of how he meant it. I find it a struggle to give myself the right to
    1) have boundaries, to acknowledge that I feel uncomfortable with certain things
    2) let the other person know.

    I think it is looking for a balance between not to be bothered about everything and get too hung up on all these little things, and knowing what is important for me, and putting some boundaries in a respectful way.

    I have avoided this ‘social life’ for a long time because I find it so complicated and scary, but it is time to start learning it…

    #114918
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Sann:

    You are welcome and I am glad you are in a relatively good place safe place right now. As you look for your next place, a place where you interact with people is a good idea so that you are not isolated. You wrote that interacting is helping your mental health, so keep your living circumstances such that you interact with people daily, positively of course.

    Living with your host and later with other people is an opportunity for you to practice being assertive. Difficult- yes, but oh, so necessary for your mental well being. Do communicate your needs, feelings: as long as you do it respectfully and specifically, you are doing the right thing for all concerned.

    Keep posting, Sann. It is a pleasure to witness your progress. Keep moving forward. Be gentle and patient with yourself as you continue to progress.

    anita

    #115504
    Sann
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

    Thank you for you kind comment and encouragement.

    I don’t know if interacting is the right word, more connecting, which might be a totally different thing, but that aside.

    I feel a bit guilty about posting here mainly about myself and not replying much to others.
    But on the other side, I’m trying to get back in touch in my own life, because I was getting very out of balance. I’m trying to focus my energy on healing for myself, which is good, and only then, can I be of help for others. (not that that should be my main motivation)

    I’m looking with my therapist about where I can go to help me to heal, we were talking about a certain place and hopefully it will work out to go there – it will cost me a lot of money, and I need to get visums etc, but it seems like a good place that could help me to connect with myself and others again.

    I have huge trust problems. With my host as well. Yesterday I heard him saying something on the phone, about somebody else, quite negative and judgmental. While I have no idea who he was talking about, of course, because it was so negative, I was sure that it was about me. So now I wonder whether I can believe him or if he is just playing a big comedy, and I feel very at unease around him. So, yes, making a big deal about what he says about scones or jam, while my trust issues are on a much bigger level.
    I don’t know if I should stay here, but at the moment I don’t think that leaving is the solution, because there is something to learn form me here. Even if it is only to be less concerned with what other people think of me, and to know myself, regardless of what others are saying. I don’t know if this is good, because I’m still in some state at the moment, and the trust issue is so huge. I’m curious to see how it goes further.
    So yeah, at this moment I don’t feel like interacting much with people here anymore, because once I go towards being suspicious/paranoid, it all becomes blurry and hard to keep control of it. To my own protection, I might choose to not trust people here and keep it very distant. I have no idea..

    #115506
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Sann:

    You prefer the verb to connect than to interact in regards to what is healthy for you to do, what you need in order to heal.

    No worries, please, about not responding to other people’s thread while posting on your thread. There is no requirement that you do the first so to… earn the right to do the second. Not at all and the great majority of people who start their own threads do not respond to other people’s threads, and that is fine with me.

    When you post on your thread, it is of great interest for me to read as I learn from you, Sann. So you are helping me by posting on your own thread by teaching me.

    Just occurred to me that as I read your latest post I learned something: it is not a good practice, a trust building practice for a person to express harsh judgment of person X in front of person Y. Because even if the harsh negative criticism/ judgment is not about person Y, it still gives the message that … person X is next to be criticized.

    This is a good point: people will often not criticize you in your presence but if they are in the habit of criticizing others in their absence, they are likely to criticize you when you are not present.

    Thank you, Sann, for bringing this topic back into my thinking.

    This place you are thinking of going next where you can connect with people, the expensive place, do you want to share about it for my input, perhaps?

    anita

    #115728
    Sann
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

    You are so kind. I hope to find the space soon to spend some more time here again to read some of your topics. I don’t know if you have written much here but I remember a topic about your healing process that I would love to take the time for to read.
    I do hope that you are doing well and making progress with your healing as well, I think you have done a lot, but perhaps this is something we keep moving and need to keep giving attention?

    Yes, you are right. I forget that easily as well, about the criticizing of others. I think in the beginning it makes me feel good, because my ego likes it that it is not me who is being criticized but somebody else- not something that i’m proud to admit but I believe in self-honesty and awareness. So yes, it is good to be careful and aware when people are strongly criticizing others. That most likely means that they will do the same to me (making me look bad in front of others, either out of truth or not) and it is not a trait that I like. I try not to do it and try to work on acceptance or understanding – haha that sounds good, it’s not that i’m good at it but that’s what I would like to aim for.
    So thank you for pointing that out as well, Anita.

    The place I am talking about is this:

    Home

    #115737
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Sann:

    New Life Foundation, from a quick look- looks lovely. The word Mindful is there so if practicing mindfulness is being done there, that is a good thing.

    Yes, the healing process is ongoing. I didn’t have a break since I started more than five years ago. I worked today, this very day as hard as before. There is always work to do. The more I pay attention and heal the more there is to learn.

    About criticizing people: it is a healthy and needed practice to evaluate other people that we interact with, in order to determine if to continue to interact and in what context etc. It is okay to warn people about others who are dishonest in their dealings. But to criticize simply so to let off steam, so to feel better, so to gang against another, that is wrong.

    Till your next post, take good care of yourself!

    anita

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