I've written a few times during this project about how adopting an absolute honesty policy has positively affected my friendship and familial relationships this past year. But I think I underestimated the power it would have to change the course of all my friendships going forward.
Today's New Activity: Setting the Stage: Friendship
I was talking to my Mom tonight about how I can't believe how much of my behavior in the past was influenced by the fact that I wanted people to like me. Of course, I still want people to like me and I am, by nature, a reasonably decent human being and a supportive friend who manages to be liked. But my former desire to be liked really kept me from expressing my true feelings a lot of the time. One of the biggest lessons I've finally absorbed over the past year has been in recognizing how much better it is to be liked for who you really and truly are, rather than what you've managed to portray.
My Mom always reminds me of the phrase my grandma used to say, which is a quote from Dr. Seuss: "Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind." It is absolutely true.
Today I was 100% honest with a new friend of mine even as I realized that in doing so I risked the friendship itself. I realized that if I didn't speak up in the moment I had to discuss the matter-at-hand, I was going to feel the pain of inauthenticity, which is a feeling I can hardly bear even momentarily these days. I felt that if I let even this single moment pass, the version of me my friend would be coming to know would be a slightly inaccurate one. Not the best way to start out...
I've learned that it no longer matters to me whether or not somebody I just met likes me. What matters more is that he or she knows me, and if--in knowing me--he or she then decides to like me....well that's just icing on the cake.