Let’s Talk About Honesty

I think people liked me more when I wasn’t me. Okay cut!

A couple of years back I decided that it would be easier to navigate through life if I was just a bit more honest and upfront with people. No more “fake nice”, no more “pretending not to care when I do” and definitely no more holding back. Although it became easier for me in some sense because I no longer had to pretend that I somehow had less feelings, I noticed that people were beginning to treat me differently.

Now, I’m not trying to say that my whole life turned upside down because I decided to be more real, but there were definitely some changes – both positive and negative. Concerning the upsides, I became much better at giving advice because I no longer tried to protect people’s feelings by not telling them what they did wrong in a certain situation. I also cared less what people thought about me, because there was no image to uphold – when you’re you, you’re you. Period. But it almost seemed as though more people were beginning to dislike me, avoid me and generally consider me a bit of a bitch. And not only a bitch, but too open about stuff that seemed taboo, or too upfront when it came to solving problems and letting people know what they did wrong (notice how this also became a negative).

But most importantly, being honest had the absolute weirdest effect on my relationships. I would meet someone, begin dating them and as soon as they got to know me better things would go downhill. I can honestly say that boys liked me more when I didn’t say what’s on my mind. But after that, they would first claim how “it’s so cool you’re not like the other girls” (internal sigh), but as soon as any aspect of my personality I chose not to hide bothered them somehow they would RUN. And it’s funny because honesty and being upfront is something I value so much in other people, and can’t imagine how anyone would find it a turn-off.

Just to clarify one point, being honest does not mean being rude. I’ve never been a rude person and never will. Nor is being upfront synonymous with being mean, because I’ve never been that either. I simply stopped being scared of expressing how I truly felt about something or someone. If someone is doing something that’s bothering me, I tell them. If I like someone, I tell them. If I like LIKE someone, you bet I’m gonna tell them because it’s better than sitting around and wondering whether they like me back. And most importantly, if I care for someone I show it (unlike my 17, 18 year old self who would rather die than potentially be seen as “clingy”).

Just recently I decided to be upfront with a friend of mind about something. Okay, “friend”. I think you got the point. I needed to say what I said because it was getting too much for me and I decided that it would be better if they knew too. And guess what happened? That friend (okay, “friend”) of TWO YEARS, who I talked to nearly EVERY DAY, rudely cut me off from his life in the space of around 10 minutes via one angry phone call. I expected somewhat of a weird reaction, but I never expected this. And yes, of course it hurt.

Do I regret being honest? No. If I wasn’t, we would still probably be friends but I do not want to build a friendship based around fakeness, just like I don’t want to build a relationship based around the same thing. But I am slightly confused; we are taught from childhood that honesty is one of the best qualities a person could have, yet most of us grow up with fake personalities – holding back who we are and want we want to say. Where’s the logic in that?

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Sadness is a Blessing

After a night of insomnia, I decided around 8 am that sleeping was out of the picture. After all, I’d slept so much during the past few days because of a nasty cold that I guess I just used up all of my free sleeping hours. I got up, put on some make-up not to scare people and walked downtown to my favorite café. Since it was only 10 am, I was the only customer, so my coffee arrived pretty quickly. I sat there for over an hour, drinking my Americano, smoking my cigarettes (don’t smoke kids – it’s bad) and listening to their sad “indie autumn playlist” whilst observing the dismal rainy weather. I felt so peaceful that I honestly did not want to leave – even the lack of sleep and nasty-cold-feeling didn’t bother me. It was at that point that I came to a realization – sadness is, indeed, a blessing.

In that moment I was not conventionally happy; in fact, the music was causing my thoughts to spiral downwards into every single negative thing that happened to me over the past two-and-a-half years. From personal problems, to a chain of annoying, tiring health problems, to just downright periods of depression and anxiety, my life has been a bit of a shitshow since I turned 19 (I’m 21 now). Yet for once I did not feel that nasty, tired feeling. I felt good on the inside, like I was finally coming to terms with everything.

We live in a society where sadness is viewed as something negative; a sign of weakness, almost a sin. We are pressured into fighting our problems, getting over them as quickly as possible and returning back to that wonderful state of happiness and motivation. Today I truly felt that sadness can also be a wonderful feeling, and that it can be embraced instead of pushed back into the dark corners of our mind. It confuses me that we, as a society, aspire to achieve this robotic type of mentality, where only happiness and strength are acceptable.

From a psychological point of view, this also makes sense. If we keep trying to artificially alter our current state, this puts stress on our mind and body alike. Instead of fighting a problem, why not sit down and allow ourselves to truly feel it in all its negativity and discomfort. I feel like this is a much more effective way of dealing with an issue rather than acting as though you are on a battlefield, winning a war that doesn’t even exist. Until you truly understand why something happened and what you can learn from it, no amount of forced positivity is going to get you anywhere.

Sadness is also an excellent way to bond with others. I’ve had the chance to bond with so many people during these past couple of years than I’ve ever had in the previous nineteen. Happiness, as fantastic as it is, is a rather basic feeling; you don’t tend to have deep conversations when you are happy, and you are not really in the mood to listen to other people’s problems. But sadness is different; it’s a much deeper, tranquil feeling and opens you up to many new thoughts and ideas.

And finally, embracing sadness is also an excellent way of accepting your current circumstances, whatever they may be. Of course things are going to get better, whatever is going on now (and however long it has lasted). And today I understood that the only way things are going to get better is if I accept my current circumstances and truly embrace everything that I have learnt. As humans, we tend to feel hopeless and desperate when we are experiencing discomfort (both mental and physical), but that is because we have been conditioned to do so. There is no reason why we should ignore pain or try to make it instantly go away, not when it is a part of life.

After sitting in the café for over an hour, sleep deprived and all in my thoughts, I got up to leave feeling a completely different person. I have no idea why my brain took me to this strange place, but it was definitely worth it.

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