Sharing your honest feelings

Posted on May 9, 2018 |
Sharing your honest feelings

On occasion, I have conversations with people who are strong advocates of “sharing their honest feelings,” with others, but their communications often cause discord and unhappiness with friends and neighbors. Their comments and observations can come across as cutting, judgmental and critical. And people who feel like they are the target of their ire start running in the other direction.

The person who shares their “honest feelings,” gets perplexed by this phenomenon. They don’t understand why being honest, in their estimation, causes so much strife. Or they are so self-satisfied in their sharing of “honest feelings,” that they are oblivious to the harm they cause.

In thinking this dilemma through, I realized that the solution lies in improving one’s understanding of what it means to be honest.

Being honest and straightforward is a virtue. It is the morally right thing to do. However, the context in which one is honest is critical to success.

There are constructive ways to be honest, and there are destructive ways to share the truth.

If one shares an honest observation with compassion, understanding and goodwill toward another, the observation can be shared in a way that brings healing and reconciliation.

If one shares an honest observation with any tinge of resentment, animosity or contempt, the effect can be destructive. It can cause more harm, misunderstanding and hurt feelings.

The God-given nature of man is to be loving and kind. When we are loving and kind, we are living an honest life with God. When we are unkind, cutting and judgmental, we are living dishonest lives with God, for God is Love.

As we redeem the phrase “honest feelings” from mortal feelings, we find ways to be honest with our neighbor, but also to be kind and compassionate. Mortal feelings can be evil, unkind, harsh and judgmental. They do not heal. They divide. True feelings are inspired by Love, they come from God and they have a good effect.

So, next time you’re preparing to share your honest feelings, reconcile them with divine Love first. Let Love inspire the words you use in sharing the truth with another, and you will grow closer, rather than further apart, in the sharing.

“An honest answer is like a kiss of friendship” Proverbs 24:26, NLT.

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16 Comments

  1. Honor
    May 9, 2018

    A good point, Evan, well made. In the practice, I’ve countered this by asking “Are we speaking of “honest human opinion” here, or a true view of man?” I like your way of putting it—honest or dishonest with God.

    Reply
  2. Lorraine
    May 9, 2018

    Thank you Evan. This is perfect for a work situation I’m dealing with right now. Let Love and compassion go before you!

    Reply
  3. Josef
    May 9, 2018

    Beautiful explanation of being honest. I’ve not thought about this in that way so I’ve learned something on a deeper level than I was not aware. Thank you.

    Reply
  4. Chris
    May 9, 2018

    Love what the others haved commented, and agree with Josepf. This is a new way of “being honest” that I had not considered before. I have often wondered why opening up to someone with “honest feelings” rarely has helped (as I hoped it would). Often it has added to the discord rather than soothed it. This post of yours brings a “light bulb switched on!” moment for me! Thank you Dear Evan for this and each and every one of your very fine posts!

    Reply
  5. Ellen Biemer
    May 9, 2018

    Great message! One I’ve been learning the hard way.

    Even without a negative “tinge,” things said can easily be hurtful or cause resentment. This is especially true with written messages, such as emails, where no nonverbal cues are available. The readers are left to their own imaginations as to how to take things, and that can be a dangerous thing – especially if they don’t like what is said. It can be easy to project the worst.

    Communication can be difficult. On the other hand, lack of communication can be even worse. Figuring out how – and even IF – to get a message across can be tricky. But the blog from May 7, “Let divine Mind do the talking,” explains wonderfully that we don’t have to spell everything out; we can trust Mind to get the message across. And, listen for how, and/or if, to say anything ourselves.

    Reply
  6. Nancy
    May 9, 2018

    Thank you Evan! I appreciate your blog today! and also how Ellen tied it in with your May 7th blog. God bless everyone reading this blog today and to Evan!

    Reply
  7. Bevi, Sandpoint
    May 9, 2018

    We don’t have to always be “Nice” to people – just to avoid any conflict or “ruffled feathers”. Both Jesus and Mrs. Eddy spoke quite bluntly to people when they felt it was needed. They certainly didn’t mince any words. Sometimes the best thing for someone is to hear the truth, whether it hurts or not. Often this can be the awakening they need!

    Reply
  8. business owner
    May 9, 2018

    As an employer, being honest with our employees is something I have to constantly do. There have been many instances when I really didn’t want to have those conversations that were important to have, but were necessary. Each time, heartfelt prayer occurred first, before I even opened my month, and I was pleasantly surprised at the out-come! There were even times that vocal communication was not even necessary. A polite and instructive way was spelled out, so to speak, and the message came through loud and clear. I didn’t have to look like the bad guy, and the employee was not made to look like they were being unduly scolded. God is truly the only communicator!

    Reply
  9. Nadine
    May 9, 2018

    This is something I have thought about often. When I have something to say I have to see first if I am speaking with any anger. When I am calm, I look at what I wanted to say and often reduce it to the kernel of truth in it, or abandon it.
    I had a parent who valued being honest,even when not asked. Rarely what was said did any good and it seemed this honest talk was just dumping criticism and imposing ideas on others.
    I often ask myself what my speaking will do as far as something good; that usually clears it up.
    To speak up and be honest often just requires a simple no. My work has always required PR and through study and prayer it helps me to look for what works for all concerned and according to the policies I am to follow. Keeping ‘myself’ out of it, is the first step.

    Reply
  10. Lori Marquart
    May 9, 2018

    Thanks, Evan and all who have added their comments. Love is reflected in love. I have experienced initially being offended by comments made by a loved one as hurtful – though not intended so – just thoughtless. So, I don’t take it personally and just continue to love, love and love some more!

    Reply
  11. Walt
    May 9, 2018

    Thank you, Evan! This was a really inspired and hugely useful (at least for me!) post.

    Reply
  12. Big sky
    May 9, 2018

    Wow! I’ve been in trouble many times for being too straightforward!
    This is a super helpful way to look at it. Thanks

    Reply
  13. Mary Ann
    May 9, 2018

    A keeper!!

    Reply
  14. Uta, Germany
    May 9, 2018

    Today`s SpiritView is so tremendous good and very much worth pondering in order to communicate in and with Love, divine Love to our neighbor, which is really healing.

    Before the testimony meeting tonight I had no idea what to comment. But now back home from church the following thoughts came to me :

    I remember something what Mary Baker Eddy says in SH, at least in that sense: God purifies even the gold of the human character. That means for me that talking to somebody friendly but in a mortal sense, that must be purified, doing the conversation by listening to God`s healing thoughts. Oh dear, I really wished I could do that much better, because it is not always easy when you talk with Non-Christian-Scientists and that sometimes requires a big deal of spiritual discipline. But I am working on it and make progress thanks to the most valuable “pearl Christian Science.”

    Thank you all for your so interesting comments to such an important and blessing topic.
    Thank you very much, dear Evan, to let us think about this theme more deeply!

    Reply
  15. diane w.a.
    May 10, 2018

    Yes, thank you Evan, and to all the thoughtful commenters.
    The thing is motive. Honestly, usually I’m impelled by distress to correct others, it’s when a big fat log is sitting in my eye, and a lot of that log is fear of infection. There’s never any love in fear ever, so I need to look the fear squarely in the face and dissolve it. “A spiritual idea has not a single element of error, and this truth removes properly whatever is offensive.” (SH)

    However, if it’s a selfish fear that others won’t like me if I correct them, then I must get that personal sense of both of us out of the picture, and listen for the truth that helps us both see not only what needs correcting, but which impersonal truth corrects it. Nobody should be offended when a math mistake is corrected that has kept them from progressing. And we should never underestimate the rebuke of a good example.

    Once a practitioner leveled her eyes at me and said, “The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.” That rebuke has never left me, nor the love behind it. It continues to be helpful. We all sense when something needs fixing in ourselves, for it makes us uncomfortable. If a friend nails it, exposes it, what a blessing!

    Reply
  16. David Gammon
    May 11, 2018

    Honesty can have a cutting edge to it which can cause pain to the recipient and/or the giver. This breaks the law that what blesses one blesses all. If someone is openly honest we may say that that person is being ‘blunt’ – spiritually I interpret that as being effective without cutting. In human terms the word blunt has come to be somewhat negative. But there is a clue there that I take to heart. Truth has no need to be, nor knowledge of, anything painful, wrong, unloving, problematic. Honesty is totally natural to Truth, which is inseparable from Love. My job is to reflect that as best I can. Thank you so much Evan for the glorious wisdom you share with us daily. I am blessed.

    Reply

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