[This post has been edited since I first published it, because – like I wrote in this very post – words have impact.]
Ah, honesty. The one thing we claim is the most important thing when it comes to relational contexts, I believe. Or is it just me?
I have a ridiculously high tolerance for all kinds of behaviours (even “bad” ones), as I have stated on here many times before: I have an endless amount of understanding for f*cked up situations and I don’t believe that I’m quick to judge others for being overly weird.
Lying, however, is where I draw the line. When I eventually have proof that I’m being lied to, it’s usually what sets me free(-ish) after having tolerated someone’s dishonesty for too long.
Most people aren’t that great at lying. Even if they manage to hide the truth, while reassuring you that everything’s just fine on many occasions, there always remains an aftertaste of this doesn’t feel quite right. The few times I’ve been lied to, I knew that something was off, and I had been suspecting dishonesty all along. Dishonesty doesn’t exclusively mean telling lies, it also means keeping information from another person – information that would allow them to get to know you a little better and therefore gain trust in you. Don’t get me wrong, hiding parts of yourself is a perfectly normal step of getting to know and opening up to someone new, but it grows more and more problematic with time, especially in a context that requires emotional intimacy.
In fact, the situation of being straight-out lied to awakens the feeling of betrayal. It hurts.
When somebody lies to you and you find out, and you give them a chance to come clean and to make it right, and they continue denying everything, it hurts. It makes you feel like you’re not important enough to them to be deserving of the truth. It may also mean that, no matter what they’ve been dishonest about, holding on to whatever it is that made them choose lying over being honest is either more important or less scary to them than actually opening themselves up to you. In the end, it doesn’t matter: they decided to choose themselves / their own safety over you / working on the relationship with you.
Being on the receiving end of a lie is a losing game, in the sense that it hurts, because if you care about the people that lie to you, it inevitably causes pain. The amount of pain brought along with honesty / dishonesty strongly correlates with the amount of love / feelings you hold for the other person, because it means so much more than when a random stranger lies to your face, which usually hardly matters mere minutes after the fact.
I had been thinking about writing a post about honesty for some time, and what brought the final piece of missing inspiration was one of my favourite songs by Tame Impala, titled Love/Paranoia and, more specifically, the following lines from the song, which I feel with every fibre of my being 💔:
I’ve heard those words before
Are you sure it was nothing
‘Cause it made me feel like dying inside
Anyway, that’s all I have to say about honesty for now, even though the topic is arguably much more complex than that.
Please keep in mind that words have impact. And so do the lack of words and miscommunication.