Every woman who’s ever sat on a hairdresser’s chair has lied at least once. I use to wait 10 minutes after leaving Toni & Guy before telling my dad my “trendy” hairdo is ugly and makes me look awful. I’d wait 10 minutes because I didn’t want him to drag me back to the hair salon, where I use to pretend my haircuts looked incredible. There’s white lies we spew, and there’s lies we keep within. Why is it so difficult being honest with your feelings?
The fear of vulnerability
People assume I’m an open book – a reasonable assumption considering how deep and truthful The Style of Laura Jane gets. But as easy at my fingers tap against my keyboard letters, voicing my emotions out loud is like a country squirrel trying to match the confidence of a city one. In unclothing your thoughts, an inevitable power shift occurs. You leave yourself open to internal bruises; bleeds that bandages cannot plaster.
I’ll never forget the embarrassment of telling a long-distance ex-boyfriend I was still in love with him. And he said, something along the lines of: “I can’t love someone who I haven’t seen in so long”. Promptly I retreated, confessed to the silliness of my unravelling – clearly, I had watched a Romcom and let imaginings treacle to my gut. We continued to chat to one another as though nothing had happened, but I couldn’t move past my bad exposure.
Elite Daily shared an article on plentiful reasons to show vulnerability to your partner by being honest with your feelings. Openness helps to develop intimacy, build trust and overall improve relationship contentment. Everyone has scarecrows hanging in their closet; some can be made further daunting if they’re related to mental health issues or addiction problems. But if you can tell your darkest worries and most anxious thoughts to your partner, your relationship will likely grow strength to strength.
When you’re a people pleaser
Sourced from a Medium piece, people pleasers often say yes, attempt to avoid conflict and want to desperately make others happy. A people pleaser struggles to put themselves first which causes them to subside their own independence. When my sister admitted to honing people-pleasing traits, I felt confused at how someone confident and brave could falter to these characteristics.
Then I began to reflect on myself, realising how I hate planning dates and choosing my own drinks. I don’t like picking where to go for lunch or what to do on New Year’s Eve. I can spend hours trying to select clothes and cannot easily decipher at the best of times, what to order on a menu. “I’m fussy”, “I don’t like making decisions”; “I’m not the most experienced to select said thing”.
In using these excuses and letting others act as leaders, I’m taking my responsibility to cause upset and disappointment away. I’m an “innocent” individual who can’t face blame if a date goes bad or a café serves a bitter black Americano. Rather than do what makes me happy, I take it upon myself to ensure whoever I’m with feels content. And although that sounds sweet, it’s also deceptive and somewhat manipulative. It’s me pulling string in pretence, playing a role that hides my own truth.
Being honest with your feelings: The learning game
A while back now, I hugged a date goodbye knowing full well I’d never purposely see them again. We were simply incompatible – our interests differ and so does our love of London (he thinks the place is awful and happily ranted about the crowds for 5 minutes). Throughout our date, I had several windows to hint at my lack of connection. I smiled my way through, quickly drank two drinks and blamed the time for having to leave early. It felt too awkward to say: “I don’t believe you’re the guy for me”.
In learning to improve this behaviour, it’s worth analysing why we feel the need to hide honesty in the first place. Is it linked to guilt, and if so, why do we feel guilty? The obvious answer is to avoid hurting someone’s feelings. Subsequently, this can stop us from finding our ideal partners. Discussed on luvze.com, empathy towards unideal matches affects whether we move on and find someone better suited, or create attachment to a person not really meant for us – maybe leading to unfulfilling relationships.
While little good stems from telling a boss their jokes are awful, or revealing to a co-worker why their habits are beyond annoying, sometimes honesty is the best medicine. Each time you fail at being honest with your feelings, you form a terrible lie to yourself. You do a disservice to everyone, even the friends who naively think you’re equally desperate to get a Starbucks Gingerbread latte with them. Overtime hiding your feelings can force you to see the world through another’s eyes. To the point where your own vision is unrecognisable.