There’s a difference between being honest, being brutally honest and how to balance the two. Awhile back I watched a comedy called The Invention of Lying, about a man who lives in a world where everyone tells the truth. It doesn’t matter the other person’s way of thought, their perspective, or take into account their feelings, but everyone is completely and brutally honest about everything; that is until a man decides to lie for the first time and it sparks a kind of revolutionary movement among the people. It seemed that their lives had gotten better with each lie that they told; specks of grey now blossoming with the color of new life. I did not like the movie. To me it painted the picture that a world of honesty and truth is a dull and heartless world in which no one really cares to live. It made it seem like a lie every now and again could help level the amount of truth when the truth is that lies never gave life to anybody. Pleasantville is another movie similar in taste. What these movies and I think most people in general, fail to understand is that it is not lies and rebellion that is the key to this balance, it is being honest versus being brutally honest.
Brutal Honesty is called such for a reason. It is because it is the kind of words that are used to hurt and to wound. It is not that you go through life sugar coating reality or lying to people, but when you have to tell someone the truth about themselves it’s a good idea to sandwich that truth between two soft pieces of bread; it is easier to digest this way. It is not that you do not remain truthful, but you are considerate of other people’s feelings. This is the act of being kind; and also realizing that certain situations do not call for you to respond to them at all. There are so many examples in this movie, The Invention of Lying, where information was needlessly volunteered or offered up and it was hurtful to the hearer. It is expected to be funny and in some ways it was but it wasn’t that funny really. They say you learn something new every day, and in my personal life I am learning to be more kind, and seeking to love better. I am learning that it is not just what you say, but also how you say it. It may not be your intention to hurt others, but you don’t want them to feel that way either.
But don’t get it twisted; this is not to devalue the treasure of truth which always has a tendency to offend those not willing to accept it. This post therefore does not suggest hard love does not exist because some of you just need to be told how it is for what it is and to accept what it is. You need a little push every now and again. You’ve been babysat and coddled and lied to your whole life and for that reason alone any portion of truth will hurt you. You have never felt heartbreak and never known struggle. As such people are always offended at that which they do not and are not willing to accept as the truth. However, there are different avenues at which to distribute this truth. Most of the time when people are brutally honest, when they say something that hurts other people, it is because they simply spoke when there was no need to do so. Learn what to say, how to say it, and when to say it. It is not the honest man who is wiser; it is the honest man who knows when to speak and when not to speak. Knowledge is knowing to be honest. Wisdom is understanding what to say and when to say it.