Radical Honesty Week

I don’t feel like writing this right now. I’m tired, it’s been a hell of a week because I’m a MASSIVE procrastinator in terms of academic assignments, and Gilmore Girls is a little too appealing.

I’m prefacing this post because that’s what radical honesty is: saying everything and anything that comes to your mind without editing it.

But Ash, doesn’t that end poorly sometimes??” Yeah, yeah it really does. Sometimes it ends really badly. But for one week a year I practice radical honesty.

I was introduced to the concept by the show Lie to Me,” in which one of the characters is radically honest 24/7. He doesn’t take this on for a week at a time, but as a lifestyle. Everything that comes to his mind is said, regardless of the implications of what he says. When I saw this show, I thought it seemed fun, so I decided to take on one week where I practiced radical honesty. I didn’t want to jump into a lifestyle of radical honesty, because I do think there are situations that radical honesty is best avoided. A week felt manageable, and I’ve been doing so every year since.

This year I have some rules in place that alter the conditions of radical honesty week. Actually just one rule: work is a free-zone. While my thoughts are never mean, not altering them at work just doesn’t seem like a great idea.

Doing this one week a year allows me to compare my existence to previous years in a very tangible way. How often do I have to remind myself not to alter my thoughts? How often do I have to say something I normally wouldn’t? How do I actually feel about a situation, and how do I actually want to communicate that as opposed to how I normally would communicate that?

So far, this year’s project has been strange. I haven’t had to alter my speech hardly at all. I haven’t had to remind myself to be honest. I haven’t had to work to portray myself in the way that I think–it’s just been natural.

Last year I really struggled with this. I remember feeling one way and having to work incredibly hard to get myself to say so, or altering my speech so excessively from my normal that people actually asked if I was sick or if I had slept recently. Last year honesty didn’t come naturally, because last year I wasn’t portraying myself as I am. I was still people-pleasing and trying to be the ideal version of myself for everyone but me.

I love that this year has been easier, that I am portraying myself in the same way that I think so often that I don’t have to think about being honest. I also love that this year, I have nothing to hide. I’m not ashamed of my existence anymore. I’m not afraid to share parts of me that may be uncomfortable for other people to hear.

I’m on good enough terms with who I am now that I don’t need to be dishonest about how I think or feel. I exist as myself in almost every situation in my life. I love that, and I love that this project has brought that realization to me at a time that it is so needed.

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