Surprised by Honesty

Share a time you were surprised by someone else’s honesty – or – your own honesty.

I’ve found this a surprisingly difficult question to to answer, in that I can’t recollect a specific instance where I felt genuine surprise at someone’s honesty in any kind of positive way. Rather – and still I don’t recall specific instances, only feeling tones – it seems like it’s usually a rude shock: Oh, that’s how you really felt, what you really think. A kind of betrayal that reveals everything else to be have been less-than-true.

It seems like we swim in a sea of subjectivity, of opinions, of feelings colored by the moment that will shift as surely as the weather. It seems like the surprising shocks are generally more of the nature of opening a dark closet and revealing something ugly that had been concealed behind platitudes and false smiles.

I think I’m in a dark mood 🙂

All that said, I do recollect surprising myself once with what I was willing to reveal to a dear friend about a pattern of behavior that I felt most people would be extremely judgmental toward. As I spoke with her and opened this particular closet door, I observed and expressed to her that I think in most cases where I have told lies in the past, it was to cover something for which I felt ashamed. To my surprise, as I acknowledged the shame and unfolded my tale, she responded not with judgment or shock, but with curiosity and with more openness.

In that moment I realized something that seems important: that wherever we hold shame, something we feel we could never show, it’s extremely healing to put the light of loving awareness on it. To open the closet door and let in the gentle light.