This post is going to be about honesty and how it relates to human connection for me, both coming and going. And I’m pulling two great lines other people wrote out to hopefully illustrate my points.
The first quote comes from Khaled Hosseini’s amazing novel, The Kite Runner.
“That’s the thing about people who mean everything they say. They think everyone else does too.”
That’s definitely me. I don’t say much out loud. I don’t even correspond with many people regularly in text, but what I do say, I mean. And one of my human connection hiccups has always been taking everyone else at their word too. So, early in relationships at least, I always believed people when they said they’d show up; that they were looking forward to seeing me again; that I could count on them; that they had a good time; etc. And when I was a little girl, I used to believe compliments. But I’ve learned through time and harsh experience that many people will say good things about you and themselves, dishonestly, for personal gain, or just from naive overcommitment. Maybe they want to show up; maybe they want to be counted upon; but whatever they agreed to in a moment of ease for some reason fell apart. It’s not always intentionally hurtful. In fact, it very rarely is intentional…the dishonesty and the hurt…but it does happen pretty often to me. Because at least early on with people…I buy in.
I don’t believe compliments anymore because so many of them have turned out to be self serving. It’s honestly pretty hard for me to hear anything good about myself. Criticism though? No matter how harsh? I’ll believe that every time.
Because I rarely offer criticism. But if I do? I totally mean it. So I assume that any negative thing said about me, someone means. Why would they be dishonest about negativity? But according to at least my mother…she says hurtful things sometimes that she ‘doesn’t mean.’ If I don’t mean it, I don’t say it; particularly hurtful things. What does anyone gain from saying something hurtful to someone else? Or saying anything they don’t mean? It’s confusing. I think sometimes a person says something hurtful, hoping they can go consequence free with it, and when they realize their words landed hard they dishonestly say they ‘didn’t mean it.’
I mean everything I say. And I believe everyone else does too. At least when it comes to what they don’t like and don’t want. And I believe them at the beginning about things they do like and do want too.
Which brings me to quote number two.
It’s from the song Pepper by The Butthole Surfers (I know…an unfortunate band name, but I think it’s a good song).
“You never know just how you look through other people’s eyes.”
I do wish a lot of the time I could know how I looked through other people’s eyes, but I’ve been conditioned to not trust the sincerity of other people, because they often say things they don’t mean. But if I’ve met you and interacted with you, and you want to know how you look through my eyes, I’ll tell you. And you can believe me. Because I mean everything I say. So if I’ve told you I value your friendship, or thank you, or I love you, or that you’re special to me…if I told you something you said or did hurt me…if I told you no or that I need some time to myself or that I’m having a hard time and struggling and could use some help…if I told you it was my pleasure to listen to you or talk with you about something or help you or spend time with you…I meant that. If I paid you a compliment, I meant it. I mean what I say so you can always trust you know how you look through my eyes.