“This is disgusting!” When my kids were younger, they would tell me exactly how they felt about the meal I prepared for them. I appreciated the honesty, but I wanted to teach them to share their opinions in a more compassionate way and to express gratitude when someone does something for them. Now, they always thank me for dinner, and they’ll say something like, “It wasn’t my favorite meal. I might like it better the next time you make it.” I always laugh a little inside when I hear this.
Kids speak their minds and can be refreshingly honest, without meaning any harm. As we grow older, we start feeling empathy for others and are more careful not to hurt anyone’s feelings. Sometimes this is to our own detriment, such as forcing down food we don’t like, accepting a gift we have no space for, or spending time doing things we care little about.
Communication goes beyond words. Our feelings create energy, and if we are saying one thing and thinking or feeling another way, this has a negative effect on both us and the other person. We can’t control how someone else is going to react to anything we say, but being honest is staying true to ourselves, and it protects our karma. After all, how would you feel if you found out the person you gave a gift to smiled sweetly and then returned it because she/he already owned the item? You may feel deceived. Maybe you would have happily returned it or given her/him the receipt, had you known.
The next time you’re faced with a situation where you’re tempted to bend the truth to avoid hurting someone’s feelings, take a breath and think of a way to respond truthfully and with heart. Release the fear that the other person will be upset with you, because if they don’t like you for being yourself, then they probably aren’t the best fit to have in your life anyways.