When in life we leave too much space to the “politically correct”, we run the risk of losing ourselves creating fragile relationships in which we do not connect from our essence, but only through social conventions. The consequences are terrible, not only for the others but especially for ourselves. The philosopher Gabriel Marcel had already said: “When you do not live as you think, you end up thinking as you live”.
Nor is it about committing sincericide using sincerity as an excuse to hurt the others and not work on our assertiveness. We need to find a middle ground in which we can say what we think in the best way, for our own good and that of our relationships.
How saying what you think makes of you a better person?
- It promotes authenticity. We have a sixth sense for lies and falsehood. In the same way that we notice when a person is faking or hiding something from us, we also notice when is sincere and authentic. Being coherent, saying what we think and acting accordingly, is a form of self-expression that the others tend to value positively, because it generates trust. Authenticity also avoids cognitive dissonances and inner conflicts, leaving us more energy to grow as people in the right direction.
- It shows that we are committed. When a person is not within our innermost circle, we usually activate the social character that we have built. That character does not help us precisely to consolidate a bond, but is responsible for maintaining a distant and politically correct relationship. On the contrary, saying what we think in many cases can be a way to show someone that we care enough to drop that social mask. If the other person is honest will appreciate that gesture.
- It strengthens the bonds. When people relate from authenticity and mutual respect, the relationship is strengthened. If we know that the other is honest and will tell us what he thinks, we will trust him and lower our barriers. That type of trust strengthens the relationship, a relationship that goes beyond conventions because it means that both have connected from the deepest of the “self”, have opened a small loophole so that the other can explore and know him better.
- It is a sign of maturity. Often it takes more courage to say what we think than to lie. If we also know how to express our opinions and emotions tactfully and assertively, it will be a great sign of maturity. The honesty that does not hurt is a kind of “superpower” that can turn us into special people, the kind of people that the others want at their side.
- It eliminates the emotional garbage. Hiding our feelings leads us to accumulate a lot of “emotional garbage”. Those repressed emotions can end up making us explode in the worst way, any situation can become the straw that breaks the camel’s back. On the contrary, saying things when we feel them helps us to free ourselves from these negative emotions, so as not to accumulate anger or resentment toward the others.
- It frees us from the cognitive load. Inventing stories and telling lies adds a huge cognitive load because we will be forced to remember that alternative reality. In the long period, it will cost us a lot in terms of tension and stress. On the cntrary, “If you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything”, said Mark Twain. Being coherent and honest will free us from this burden, avoiding us to remember the lies or that we have to play the “character” that we have built but that does not correspond to our “self”. Saying always what we think is liberating.
- It avoids future problems. Good fences make good neighbours, says a popular saying. Saying what we think, so that the others have clear our red lines, will help us avoid problems caused by misunderstandings. On the contrary, being too permissive when something bothers us or telling lies can cause great problems in our relationships and our lives.
- It promotes self-acceptance. “If you can not tell the truth about yourself, you can not tell it about other people”, said Virginia Woolf. For being coherent is necessary to start from a deep level of self-knowledge. We must have clear our ideas and values, as well as our emotions. We can only be coherent and authentic when we know and accept ourselves enough. It is also essential to be aware that our opinion is not a truth, so that we do not develop an overbearing and authoritarian attitude that, instead of getting us closer to the others, it distances us.
- We gain self-confidence. Many times we lie because, in our mental calculation, the lie is more convenient than the truth. Sometimes we are afraid of what the others may think of us if we express ourselves in an authentic way and, to preserve that image we have built, we choose the simplest path. Embracing honesty, on the contrary, will help us to lose our fear of what the others think and reinforce our self-confidence.
- It attracts more honesty. Saying what we think has often a “replicative effect” because it encourages those around us to say what they think too. We must remember that many people react by looking at themselves in the mirror we show them, so if we relate from lies and conventions, they will tend to do the same. On the contrary, if we are honest we will be more likely that the others feel comfortable enough to tell us what they think. After all, “Being honest may not get you a lot of friends, but it’ll always get you the right ones”, said John Lennon.