Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach

Telling The Truth Isn’t Always Right

Many of us were brought up to see honesty as the ultimate good. Secrets and lies were hurtful while transparency was an expression of love. 

But these views are far too simplistic.

Telling the truth can be incredibly damaging and even hateful.

We can all agree that it’s probably best not to tell a child that Santa isn’t real. After all, children need protection. They might not be ready to give up make-believe. 

But adults, we figure, are different. Evolved and hardened, we’ve acquired a taste for the bitter truth.

But is that really so?

Is it nice when a friend or co-worker aggressively debates your views in the belief that they’re right and you’re wrong? Is it nice to overhear your partner telling their friend that they think you’re great, but wish you were hotter? 

And is it right for a terminally ill man to come clean to his wife about decades of infidelity before he snuffs it, so she can spend the rest of her years agonizing if he ever even really loved her?

Sometimes keeping your mouth shut is the better choice.

Yet somehow our society believes that having everything out in the open strengthens intimacy.

But one only has to turn to their own life to know that transparency and truth-telling can easily end relationships or change them forever. Especially when the truth-teller spoke with their own selfish interests at heart.

That’s why you should always think twice before you share a heavy truth.

Is it an act of kindness? Would they like to hear what you have to say? Who are you really trying to help here?

Occasionally withholding the truth doesn’t mean you don’t value honesty and trust. It simply means that you care more about nurturing your relationships and being kind.

As an old African proverb says, “The axe forgets, but the tree remembers.”

By Jeroen Elsing
Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach