emotional honesty with kindness is not an oxymoron (Flashback 2010)

The Song of the Lark, c.1903 – Sophie Gengembre Anderson

Thanks to whoever was crawling all over my site recently and pointed me toward this post from July 2010. The original title was the oft-elusive art of maintaining emotional honesty with kindness and compassion toward others, and that version included a juicy Comments stream, if you are inspired to head over there. Otherwise the post is about the same. It seems like some things never really change…

Confession: I now have zero tolerance for emotional dishonesty. Zip. Nada. None.

Because I work so tirelessly on my own personal evolution, I can scarcely be in the presence of others who slog on with disingenuous maneuvering, insincere manipulation, indiscriminate projection, plain old denial, or other garden-variety dysfunction.

Try though I may to summon up an interest in engagement, if someone is dancing an ungrounded-ambivalent-oh-well-whatever dance, I am left feeling akin to the way I might feel if I sauntered through a smallpox ward hugging and French-kissing everyone in sight.

This much I know: people-pleasing is passé. Saying one thing and doing another is not a hallmark of the shifting of the ages. Sugar-coating with nice words and smiley faces while you simmer with negativity or resentment is a prehistoric way of doing things that serves no one and contributes nothing to a paradigm trying its darnedest to emerge and take its place in the history of Creation.

Yet because I bear no ill will toward these folks — most of whom are basically well-meaning and inherently kind people — things get tricky. It’s not always appropriate to tell someone that her or his or their vibrational frequency is screechingly non-resonant with your own. (While often true, this approach is nonetheless prone to manifest as a vast failure to communicate.)

And even though I have derived a handful of coins from writing greeting cards, it’s hard to find the right words when my goal is to communicate, “Even the briefest interaction with you conjures up the sensation of discordant chalkboard symphonies, so for now, excuse me, I must flee. Have a great day!”

In a recent interaction with a longtime friend, I quietly spoke the words, “Being in the same room with you literally hurts my central nervous system.” Not surprisingly, the statement was less than well-received, though it was delivered in a spirit of honesty and communication.

I have only a few people in my circle who understand what I mean when I respond to an invitation or request by saying, “Hmm, I’m not really feeling inspired for that.” (More on “inspired action” in this previous post about two guys from New Jersey.) Conventional wisdom might suggest that I lie a bit and make up an excuse along the lines of, “I’ve got a podiatrist’s appointment that day” or some mutterings about hair-washing, sick animals, or non-specific health issues.

But dang it, when do we all start speaking our truths on a regular basis? I honor the person who says “Sorry, I won’t be able to help you out with that” — as opposed to the one who says “Sure!” and then fails to follow through.

I deeply appreciate when others share that they’re in a place of challenge, that things aren’t really going all that well — not so I can contrive some type of rescue for them (a strategy that has also passed its expiration date) — but so that I can understand more about the context in which they exist.

I am genuinely thrilled when someone’s words are aligned with their actions; when they admit their disappointments, their confusion, their delight, their curiosity about who I am and why I do what I do. I know that verbal processing isn’t everyone’s default modus operandi, but even a little bit of honesty can travel a very long way.

Increasingly, I take a fiercely active role in creating and maintaining energetic environments that offer me a sense of peace and comfort. My personal worldview holds that I am fully within my rights to disconnect from surroundings that feel emotionally and/or energetically dangerous, toxic, violent, or just not right.

So, I do.

Each one of us is a work-in-progress: I’ve yet to meet an Ascended Master at the hardware store. The more we let down our guards and let someone else in, the more we recognize our similarities and move past our perceived differences.

How about if today we commit to stretching our boundaries of emotional honesty? I wish I could promise you that your attempts will be celebrated and understood by others, but there are no guarantees here. “Truthiness” (Thank you, Stephen Colbert!) is often valued more highly than its wiser, older, more grounded sister, Truth.

The more honesty that’s moving around the planet, the simpler things can be for us all.  That’s my truth.

What’s yours?

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