Perhaps, it is both, afterall our minds are mirrors to each other.
Recently, I was bewildered by the experiences with a couple of people in my life.
I was confused by what was being said, what I know about myself and the history of the relationships.
When there is incongruence, it is natural to be puzzled.
This post is about spotting projections & what to do with hostilities that arise from them. If you want the summary scroll down for the 7 key points.
In one instance, a friend made a case against me for being "too honest and at the same time not honest enough." In my friend's perspective- my honesty was essentially impolite. It was a way to deflect attention from his feelings. Which is why he tried to gather evidence against me. In the moment, I remained defenseless as there was nothing to defend.
I allowed myself time to be with my thoughts and feelings. I made it a priority to understand what had happened for the sake of the two of us. What was key for me was being aware of my visceral response. I was picking up his feelings more than he was feeling himself. I had to recognize what was mine and what wasn't.
Being honest is a choice.
I choose to share my deep feelings with those who are able to hold space for me. With some people like my father, who struggles with being emotionally available, I do not share my feelings. It is not that I am dishonest, it is my way of taking care of myself. When I've shared my emotions, he has often labeled me as 'too sensitive,' which leaves me feeling criticized and my need for empathy goes unmet. Neither of us wins as my dad gets frustrated with my sensitivity.
With my friend, it didn't seem that my need for understanding would be met by being emotionally intimate. My option was still to share my honest thoughts. His response told me that I shouldn't be so honest. It implied that I needed to change to accommodate him, so I let him know he wanted a 'watered down version of myself.'
Honesty is not everyone's cup of tea.
It can trigger hostility.
That was the case with my sister. I didn't remain defenseless. A wound was touched. I voiced frustration. I fueled the voice of attack. The punishment has been hostile silence and having minimal time with my nephew.
It is tremendously challenging to have buttons pushed and to simply let what is said pass through.
The pass through is not about accepting hostile looks or words, but, recognizing that every hostility or verbal attack is a cover up for deep hurt. That understanding makes it possible to see the other as a human being who has been deeply hurt- so much that they lash out. That awareness and understanding puts us on equal footing.
We've all been hurt -so we can relate.
There was some truth to what my sister said. I realized later what nerve she struck.
Honesty is necessary in addressing hurt and projections.
In some cases being honest is not safe, intuitively, we must assess the situation. When it is safe to confront, honesty is an act of kindness.
However, our world has taught us that politeness is better than honesty. Well, choosing politeness is not always kind, as it may avoid the truth. It says that we think the other is not capable of handling the honest truth. It is like pretending there is no issue.
Pretending there is no problem or issue is unkind. In the long run denying our true feelings is unsustainable. Tolerance will give out and our true feelings come out. If we don't express our truth, our body will express it somehow. We develop a red eye, a sore throat, an itch, our face breaks out, we get a headache, etc.
While honesty may not be comfortable or easy, it takes less effort than pretending! Energy must be expended in resisting the truth.
We are built to tell the truth. Our body has a visceral response that speaks the truth. That is how lie detectors work. Our body is a lie detector.
Our body experiences relief by being transparent as their is no fiction to uphold.
I'm learning the importance of tact when I am honest.
Tact is vital to honesty.
Without tact our hand can be bitten even when we've spoken truth.
I have to be emotionally in tune to respect what is true for me, while expressing it and acknowledging that I have no control over how another responds. Their response is their choice and about them.
Sometimes, we just have to remove ourselves from interacting with someone with whom a win seems so challenging.
It is hard to win when there is little or no emotional awareness.
Without emotional awareness we are constantly reactive. Emotional intelligence arises from our emotional awareness.
Emotional intelligence tells me, if it is safe to voice truth and to say it with tact. Arguments or power struggles may still arise. It is wise and kind to disengage power struggles with silence. Often that stirs anger in the one wanting control as it is a sign of disrespect.
Silence allows the wisdom of the heart to emerge. What surfaces is compassion. Compassion is a basic understanding of the common human experience of hurt. Understanding self and others is kind.
Honesty is kind. Honesty has only one face: truth.
I strive for honesty, but, I am not perfect. That is okay, I am human. I like and accept myself as I am.
1. Awareness of visceral reactions or our body's lie detector
is key to spotting hurts and projections.
2. Assessing the moment as safe to confront or to simply allow the hostility to pass through is being unresistant to what is. Amidst turmoil, a space of quiet is kind or we must remove ourselves from aggression.
3. Being honest with ourselves is being vulnerable in the moment. With another it may require space from each other to discern our thoughts and feelings.
4. Clarity of what is ours and what is theirs, allow us to act according to the truth of the moment.
5. Emotional intelligence allows us to take care of ourselves, assessing when it is safe to be honest and to express it with tact so that the integrity of all involved results in a win.
6. Remembering that hostility is a cover up for deep hurt disarms us.
7. Honesty is necessary for compassion with self and others.
"You can trust yourself to know what is true for you personally! Telling the truth will always bring about a sensation of relief because your heart is set free in the moment that you tell the truth (your heart will move forward); even if the truth isn't necessarily something that you perceive as positive. If you say something that is not the truth for you personally, your heart is imprisoned in the moment you tell the non-truth (your heart will retreat); and it will bring about a feeling of resistance within you." - Teal Scott
"Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable, be honest and transparent anyway." - Mother Theresa