How to Be Honest Without Hurting Yourself or Others

Speak your truth – but plan it first 

Honesty is an integral part of relationships. It’s crucial to balance being honest with considering the feelings of others. The main idea is to speak your truth. Sometimes you can’t avoid hurting other people’s feelings, so don’t let that stop you from expressing how you feel. Before you reveal your emotions to another person, it might be helpful to write your thoughts down. That way you’re focused when you’re talking to them. Sometimes when it’s an emotional topic, people get flustered. If you write it down, and you get your feelings out, you will have a better sense of what you want to say and you’ll remain on course. That way you accurately communicate what you feel. 

Focus on your feelings 

When you tell someone how you feel, make it about yourself. Don’t blame them for making you feel a certain way. Nobody can make you feel any way. You can have a reaction to how they treated you, but they don’t have control over your emotions. You have autonomy over your feelings. When you start to express yourself – focus on your emotions. You can start by using an I statement. I feel ___ when you ___.  For example: “I feel angry when you tell me that I’m lazy.” When you use I statements, you’re keeping the topic about your feelings and not blaming the other person for how you feel. It’s crucial that you tell somebody how their actions impacted you. That is particularly relevant when you’re angry or hurt. One reason for revealing your feelings is if you hold them in, it could have mental and physical health consequences.

How holding in your truth impacts your physical health

The mind and body are connected. When you hold in your feelings, you can experience pain in your body as well. You may get headaches, or stomach pains. When people talk about intuition, they often say “I feel it in my gut.” That’s because the stomach is like a second brain. Your belly has serotonin and delivers that to your brain. When you don’t express how you feel and internalize it it can stay in your stomach. You may get belly aches. Or holding in your emotions could even lead to a serious condition, such as an ulcer. That’s why it’s crucial to say how you feel so that you protect your physical health. That’s one reason why speaking your truth matters. 

Ask for what you need

When you speak your truth, remember it’s an opportunity to ask for what you need as well. It’s not just about being honest. Here is a chance to get your needs met. There’s a reason that you are confronting the other individual. You’re likely hurt or angry. You deserve to have your feelings heard, but not only that, it’s possible that something needs to change in that relationship. You can ask the person for what you need. Let’s say that you don’t feel appreciated. You can tell that individual that is how you feel. It’s okay to speak your truth and ask for what you need. The worst-case scenario is that the person can’t give it to you, but you don’t know until you try.

Talk about honesty in therapy 

Some people find it challenging to be honest about their feelings. If that’s hard for you, it’s something you can talk about with a licensed mental health professional. A therapist can help you understand your feelings, and work on confrontation. You are not alone. These are common challenges that people have. Some people struggle with expressing their feelings without losing their cool. They find themselves communicating in an aggressive manner to get their point across. If that’s a challenge for you, read more about that on Mind Diagnostics. No matter what your mental health challenges are, you can see a therapist and work through them. Whether you talk to a counselor online or in your local area, if you are struggling it’s okay to get help.

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