Recently I relayed a conversation to Sir, it centred around a throwaway comment from a friend. We were discussing a task, and I had specific instructions. She couldn’t understand how it would be possible to fulfil the brief and match up to the extra rules around social distancing. “He’ll never believe you” she said, as we parted ways. It troubled me to hear this, and I needed to discuss it with him. I’m not a liar and I would hate that others might think I am. It has been one of the cruellest ways that partners have taunted me in the past. His response floored me.
I would believe whatever you told me, this is trust.
This level of trust feels beyond amazing, but I can only be trusted like this because I am honest.
Possibly to a fault.
But growing up in a house of honesty made for interesting times growing up. In secondary school I was kind of friends with everyone but had a specific group of five friends. These lovely girls have grown into wonderful women, but at the time we clashed occasionally. Until I learnt the finer art of telling the truth while not hurting feelings. In fairness they soon learnt that if they wanted the truth they would ask me, and if they wanted something sugarcoated then they could ask another from the group. It took a few wrong responses before I learnt to change the “Yes, those trousers make your bum look big” became “perhaps a higher waist would suit your figure better”.
I learnt that I could be both kind and honest.
I stand by my truthfulness, it is integral to my being. Everyone knows where they stand. And I don’t need to try to remember what lies I have made up either. Which means that I have much more space in my head for wonderful memories to be stored.
I maintain this level of honesty with my children.
I find that an honest (and age appropriate) response is less likely to lead to more uncomfortable questions. Children have a special talent for honing in on mis-truths. I see it with friends who get embarrassed about questions such as where babies come from and death or severe illness. If I can’t tell my children the truth how can I expect them to be honest with me. Or more importantly to trust me when I say I have their back!
There is no shame in being honest.
In fact the only time I have felt shame when I have told the truth is when I’ve had to be less than honest. I don’t mean the lies I had to tell P when I went out to meet others in the tail end of our marriage. I’m not proud of them, but they were necessary.
The hiding of my own truth to placate another was the pathway to shame for me.
With P it led to 12 years of allowing myself to be squished, to fit into a box that I didn’t really belong in. Recovery from this has led me to understanding and owning my life choices. Through having great people in my worlds and learning that they will be as honest with me as I can be with them. And recently, when I found myself in a situation where it felt like I was being forced back into that box again I found a way to be fight my corner and be completely honest with myself once more.
The worst part of these situations were the accusations around me being a liar.
Because that chips away at my core values. If I have someone in my life who doesn’t appreciate the truth then they are just taking up valuable space. It is generally these people who lie to me, and as I treat others in the way that I would like to be treated the honesty needs to work in both directions.
As odd as this may sound, for someone so honest I didn’t think I had ever been trusted in a relationship. I have always hoped that I am, especially with Sir, but it took a misunderstanding with a friend to prompt that conversation with Him, and to receive another wonderful lesson.
To learn what it feels like to be trusted.