I find myself starting a sentence at times with this qualifier: “If I’m being honest with you…”
One time someone stopped and asked me: “Are you sometimes not honest with me?”
That stopped me. It occurred to me that I meant something different. I didn’t mean I was about to be “honest,” I meant I was about to be more “candid.”
There’s a difference. If I don’t tell you what is on my mind, if I hold back, if I stay private – those can all be done without being dishonest. But, sometimes we know we should speak our mind, we shouldn’t hold back, we should be more public. And, we choose not to do so for a million different reasons. And, when we know we should and we don’t, we feel a bit dissatisfied. Like we haven’t been honest.
So, I find myself responding to folks these days when they lead with “If I’m being honest…” by saying: “I don’t think you’re dishonest. You may not have been candid, but you aren’t dishonest.”
Candor makes for stronger relationships, better solutions, higher functioning families and teams. It’s best served with respect and regard for others. It’s best served with planning and thought.
It takes courage to be candid. But, when that courage is mustered, there is a strange freedom that comes along. A freedom that feels peaceful. It takes the edge off things. We always feel better when we found a way to say what needed to be said, what should have been said. Even when it took guts to say it.