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  • #60552
    Vic
    Participant

    I’m not sure if this is even a bad thing but I’m way too honest.

    My mother raised me to be the honest man I am today, and it’s hard for me to lie on the spot. I’ve no issue with being honest and genuine because I feel like I can, or used to be able to connect to people way easier but when it came to relationships, it killed my self confidence. Why? I kept getting dumped. I’m sure all of my past relationships have ended due to my being boring or killing the mystery part of the relationship because how I speak… I guess? I don’t know. All I know is that I’ve gotten dumped in almost all of my relationships and it makes me really not want to get back in the dating game because I know how I am, and I’m afraid I will just repeat the same old story. It really sucks to like a girl a lot, make a decent amount of memories and then have it end as a result of my honesty or not knowing how to read social cues or when to shut up. Now I’m as timid as can be so it’s kind of like the opposite from before but it’s a result of the back to back rejections. Now, I don’t mean to take the blame off myself because I know that my actions determine my present but these meaningless relationshits I’ve had kinda messed with my head a bit.

    I do want someone but I do not need any one. In this relationship slump (as Matt said) that I’m experiencing, I’ve learned to live with myself and have done my fair share of soul searching so happiness is not what I’m looking for in a partner. I’m very content with myself but I have a hard time articulating myself because of my honesty and not wanting to ruin things with women. It felt good just to let that out and any opinions/advice are more than welcome.

    Namaste.

    #60558
    Matt
    Participant

    Vic,

    There’s being honest, and then there is being mindlessly honest, which is really just being reactive instead of attentive. For instance, you walk into the bathroom and it smells, walking out and saying so to your partner is honest, but mindless. Sure, its true, but why bring it up? Consider right speech as “is it true, is it necessary, is it kind?”.

    Another thing that “honest” people sometimes fall into is being vocally critical. Wanting to be heard, so elbowing our way in with our views when unasked, volunteering our opinions, trying to grow others, etc. Consider that this is a tricky path, and in relationships, detrimental. Said differently, if you’re being honest about everything,it should be easy. Honest only about the bad, and not courageously pouring your honest flattery, and the intimacy spirals out of control. Too much “I don’t like” and not enough “I do.” often leaves a partner feeling low, separate. Our hearts usually long to hear “I do”, as that’s how we feel safe to say “I do, too”. Otherwise the “honesty” appears more like fault finding, even if its unintended on your side.

    With warmth,
    Matt

    #60618
    Vic
    Participant

    You never fail to give solid advice Matt, thanks a bunch.

    #60628
    danaken
    Participant

    Hi Vic,

    Like you, I am not a liar and have always prided myself on not being one. My integrity is one of my most valuable traits/assets. People love my honesty and come to me for advice or when they’re in situations where they “can’t see the forest for the trees”. I don’t like to BS people because I don’t like to be BSd myself.

    However, like you, that didn’t translate so well in my past relationships. As Matt so honestly pointed out, being vocally honest came off as being critical of my partner. And I was critical of him because I was very critical of myself. I thought that by being critical of everything, I was being “honest”…but I was just creating negative energy for myself and my relationship. I learned to let go of the mindless type of comments that Matt mentioned. My need to be critical is fueled by other self issues that belong in other posts. 🙂

    I am working on my honesty because it also made me vulnerable in the dating “game”. I hate that it’s a game…the honest part of me wants to be able to be completely upfront all the time, but other people don’t work that way. Don’t think of yourself as boring. If you work on tempering your honesty so that you can say what you want to say without losing your integrity with yourself and yet aren’t offending others, you will meet women who appreciate you. They will like knowing where they stand with you, knowing that you’re not playing games and feel safe in a relationship. And if you think you’re “killing the mystery”, be the strong silent type. It will intrigue the right type of woman and she will want to know what you’re honestly thinking.

    danaken

    #60631
    Little Buddha
    Participant

    Thank you Vic for sharing your story as it helps remind me that I’m not only person who is dealing with similar issues.

    “The truth will set you free”, “Honesty is the best policy”, “We always tell the truth” are phrases that are so deeply engrained in me that unfortunately, when applied indiscriminately, actually cause more harm that good.

    I like what Matt said about being skillful in speech. I’m going to print out and post this phrase somewhere where I can readily see it. “Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind?” In terms of kind, I take that to mean kind to the other person and kind to yourself. Am I correct? For example, sometimes, we can express self-deprecating “truths” because we feel the need to be honest with someone, when it fact, much of the self-deprecation is negative self-talk that is neither true nor kind to your self-image, esteem, or helping you build your relationship.

    I struggle with the word truth because in life, there are no absolute truths. What is true today may not have been true yesterday and may not be true tomorrow. All of our perspectives are affected by the lens that we’re looking through at any given moment based on past experiences and current feelings and thoughts.

    I recently said something very unpleasant during my break-up to my ex which still haunts me to this day. It wasn’t true when I first met her, it felt true at the moment (but it was neither necessary nor kind), and, if the relationship kept on going, may not have been true in the future. Either way, I think Matt is spot on as he helps us better understand what is meant by right speech.

    #60635
    Matt
    Participant

    Little Buddha (et al),

    Thanks for the kind words and pointing at the question of brutal honesty. We have to keep in mind that people are often tender, their questions less about “what really is” and more about “is it beautiful”. When we see an afflictive pattern in another, for instance, being honest can be very painful. Bright light in tender eyes, sensitive.

    Kind speech paired with honesty, consider aiming with the tenderness of removing a splinter from a child’s foot. “OK, I see you limping, and this might be stingy, but I mean only to help you walk freely”, and making sure that basic understanding is kept alive during the exchange. This help keep the judgment away on either side, both aimed at healing, sharing, etc.

    In a lay life, with spouses, kids and so forth, the necessary part seems to be about sharing our heart with the world around us. For instance, it may not be “necessary” ultimately to say her/his hair smells good, but it helps keep the romance present, alive. “That’s a great drawing, daughter” or “you look pretty today” etc, heartfelt, appreciation. Necessary, perhaps, could be seen as “does it follow the intentions of our dream?”

    Speaking truly is perhaps about keeping the subjective nature of truth in mind as we speak and relate. “I think, I see, I feel”, keeping in mind there are many sides to a situation, and we often think we know the other person/side, but get caught up in our own illusions/projections. “You are upset” for instance, vs “you seem upset” or “it looks better in blue” vs “I like it better in blue” or “You’re attacking me” vs “I feel attacked.” Etc.

    There are a great number of writings on right speech out there, if you’re interested. 🙂

    Namaste, friends. Happy speaking! 🙂

    With warmth,
    Matt

    #60729
    Vic
    Participant

    @danaken I completely agree with you.. I hate that it’s a game as well. I will continue to work on it as you are, thanks for the kind words! 🙂


    @therock
    Matt gave very good advice and I found myself repeating the “Is it kind, necessary, and true?” phrase yesterday. It actually helped! I am guilty of saying those self-deprecating truths not knowing it can kill the girls interest in me but we live and we learn right? You’re right about every single person’s truth being subjective but that’s what makes me not worry about mine too much. I understand that what I believe may not be true but it’s mine and I will follow my soul’s truth until I expire. I just try to keep a positive mind set at all times and my beliefs back me up so I know I will be fine.

    One thing that I’ve learned in the past couple years is not to regret. It’s not instilled permanently yet but I make an effort to catch myself when I regret. Like you said, “All of our perspectives are affected by the lens that we’re looking through” so that’s why I try not to, because every single thing we go through has a lesson that we can take from it. It’s all about seeing the good in the bad. Those harsh words you used towards your ex shouldn’t be stressed because you’ve realized the kind of person you came off as and you didn’t like it so take it as a lesson, ya know? Don’t let it ruin your mood in the present. Thanks for sharing Little Buddha!


    @aMatt
    Hey Matt, whenever you have time, would you care to link some of the writings you’ve used to inform yourself on right speech? I find your advice very useful and being subpar at articulation, I’d like to get a better, more elaborate understanding of right speech and speaking truly. I doubt you’d want to continue explaining the same subject and I don’t mean to bug you haha. Whether you do or you don’t, I appreciate your input. Thank you!

    • This reply was modified 8 years, 2 months ago by Vic.
    • This reply was modified 7 years, 8 months ago by tinybuddha.
    #60734
    Matt
    Participant

    Vic,

    Consider:

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dhamma/sacca/sacca4/samma-vaca/

    This has a nice overview, with sutta references.

    You may find AN 10.176 enjoyable, it has a section on right speech.

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an10/an10.176.than.html

    If you want a more modern take, consider “The Myth of Freedom” by Chogyam Trungpa. He dives into skillful/unskillful from the ground up, including speech.

    With warmth,
    Matt

    #60765
    The Ruminant
    Participant

    This was a really nice read. Thank you all, and especially thank you @amatt for such lovely insights. I think I need to write that down somewhere as well.

    I can understand the need for honesty. I’ve been like that. My mind is quite literal and not following certain rules can actually cause a lot of stress. As an example, my mother has a very selective memory and her storytelling tends to be coloured with a bit of drama, instead of being too involved with the details and whether things actually happened the way she’s telling the story. This has always caused me some mental anguish. She doesn’t understand my reaction to it at all, and thinks that it’s not such a big deal. But that’s just how it goes, and I have to understand that she takes some liberties in favour of dramatic storytelling. Sometimes the truth isn’t what people are looking for and during those times I need to let go of my own obsession with it. I have noticed though that the more I spend time thinking, the more obsessed I get with the truth. The more time I spend feeling, life becomes more balanced. It gets easier to let go of the details and see things in a different light.

    There is a danger in having this image of oneself as being “always honest”. Apart from accidentally being inconsiderate of others’ feelings. When we start to believe that we are a particular type of person, we kind of fail to notice all the times when we are not like that. The belief is so strong that any evidence against that would cause a cognitive dissonance. Instead of being able to face the fact that there are times when we aren’t being completely honest, it’s easier to create a justification for why in that particular time we failed to be honest.

    Or perhaps the honesty can be a justification for failing to be considerate towards another person. I cringe every time bad behaviour is justified by “being real”. It’s silly. It’s not about being real, as in genuine. It’s about being inconsiderate towards others and commonly accepted social behaviour. So there is a chance that the honesty becomes a justification of an event gone wrong, and was not actually the reason for things going wrong.

    I also am not so sure if dating is a game to be played. It might seem like it, but it’s actually not. A person who has their own interests and their own life, has their temperament under control, who is kind and courteous towards others and has a healthy sexual appetite isn’t going to have problems finding a partner. But when we feel like we are lacking in those areas or think that we’re perhaps not as good as we think we should be, there is a temptation to appear as if we’re all that. As an example, you meet a new person, become really infatuated by them, and feel the urge to send them 20 text messages right after meeting them. There’s an inner clash between this strong urge and the rational part that knows that it’s going to appear desperate. If you do end up sending all the messages, and consequently scaring the other person in the process, it’s possible to justify it by saying “I was just being honest about my feelings, and if they can’t handle it, then perhaps it’s better that we didn’t end up together”. Not sending the messages might feel fake and like playing games. “I want to express my interest, but feel like I need to hold back to appear cool and collected.” With some maturity though, none of this would be a problem. With maturity, you can handle the strong urges and extreme feelings. With maturity, things aren’t that black and white anymore, but it doesn’t mean that honesty or being genuine would be sacrificed. Handling emotions becomes easier, so there are less extremes. Even reading social cues becomes easier.

    I know all of this is kind of hypothetical, and not necessarily something that is an issue for the OP. I just wanted to point out that things aren’t always what they appear to be, and with some time, patience and growth, a new reality might appear. What you thought was the truth is only a partial truth.

    #60837
    Vic
    Participant

    Thank you Matt!

    And Ruminant, I’m very grateful for your well thought out response. I completely agree that I should shy away from labeling myself as one type of person because we are never so 100% of the time. I’m not gonna lie, you lost me a bit in the middle paragraphs where you spoke about justification for failing to be considerate so please forgive my ignorance haha. You gave a lot of insight in the next paragraph and I do have some maturing to do because I do lack in some areas and perhaps I try to make up for it by pretending I’m solid in those characteristics, reading social cues being one of them. I once heard “fake it till you become it” and it sounded like a good method/mind set in order to cultivate the skills I desired but it doesn’t seem to work for me, at least in this situation. Thank you for your time!

    @theruminant
    .

    #60936
    The Ruminant
    Participant

    Vic,

    Ah, yes. Sorry, I tend to start rambling and I often go through my own thinking process whilst still writing to someone else, and forget that perhaps I’m not being very clear 🙂 It was just some thoughts I had around the subject, and not necessarily related to your situation. What I thought was that often things aren’t quite what they seem at first, and we want to believe in one truth because it’s less painful or easier to accept than something else. As an example, when someone doesn’t know how to behave in a certain situation, they resort to being blunt and when the other person becomes offended, they blame it on being just too damn honest. That wasn’t the real reason though, but the lack of tact and empathy towards the other person.

    You kind of remind me of this one man I had a huge crush on 🙂 Still kind of do, actually, even though it’s become clear that we aren’t going to be a couple, ever. He is very direct and that is actually one of the things I like about him. I know where he stands with issues and it’s nice to be able to talk about things without having to beat around the bush. However, it is impossible to connect with him emotionally. It is as if he has this shell around him to protect him. He is bold and direct when discussing the world affairs or even relationships, but the moment he is approached in a way that he would have to let down his guard and allow another person close, he just tenses up. His problem is not that he is too honest, though I’m sure that he gets into trouble with his un-PC attitude. His problem is that he shuts out other people who want to get close to him. I would bet a lot of money that he does not see the actual truth to why he is single.

    Aww…now I miss him. He is such an adorable turtle 🙂

    #60941
    Vic
    Participant

    @TheRuminant,

    Okay I get you now, but yes! I inadvertently resort to blaming my honesty for my lack of action and willingness to express myself in a selfless manner although I try getting out of my comfort zone every day. In a way, I’m happy with myself but I still long for my confidence/social skills to be where it was at back when I was in grade school. I was pretty normal but now, I’m a bit of an oddball lol. I actually do have the willpower to practice, it’s just sometimes fear gets in the way so my selfishness is what makes it a task for me. As Matt pointed out in one of my other posts, when I am stuck in my head (which is 99% of the time a pretty girl’s around) it makes it all about me and I know I have great things to offer.. but I can’t share the love when my mind’s preoccupied and not fully in the present. This is my issue and I’m striving to improve.

    You made me chuckle with the last paragraph because you actually described me spot on haha, even with the “adorable turtle” part. 😉 A few months ago for my friend’s birthday, we were all going out to a saloon to celebrate and I was in a great mood at the beginning of the night so I had not a problem conversing with this one cool girl, in the now. I noticed some signs she made and I’m sure she was interested and wanted for me to take it a bit further, but that’s when I froze up and started acting weird. It’s like my awareness of her interest automatically made that shell come out and I pretty much ignored her for the rest of the night although I didn’t want to. I was just stuck and I didn’t know what to do, didn’t know how to go about it or how to make a move. Or.. I don’t know, I make things too complicated. I’d happily let me guard down but it’s sort of like a different Vic comes out in times of uncertainty due to the lack of experience in relationships and prior outcomes. :\ (Here I go again taking the blame off myself :D) I hope it will be easier now that you’ve pointed this out for me. Thanks Ruminant, I really appreciate the wise words and insight you give.

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