1. If you Google “Radical Honesty” you’re directed to a bunch of different books, articles, and essays all about how the concept will absolutely transform your life. Most of the people talking about this concept (at least on the first page of Google) are men who look like they really wish they were Ryan Holiday, and most of them paint it as some sort of version of being 100% truly, unapologetically authentic. It’s presented as a way to keep yourself from lying because even withholding for the sake of being polite is, in a way, dishonest.
I’ve been thinking a lot about how I wish radical honesty were practical, but how it might just be a way to be a dick and say, “What? I’m just being honest.” There are people who I wish I could shake (metaphorically. not looking to get an assault charge in the name of radical honesty tbh.) and list out one by one by one all of the reasons why they’re making their lives more difficult, why they’re pushing people away, why things are the way they are. But is that my place? Probably not.
The truth is no one wants to hear advice they didn’t ask for, no matter how honest. No one is really interested in hearing an opinion that they’re probably not going to agree with in the first place. Everyone is probably not radically honest or at all interested in you being that way, they’re probably closer to radically apathetic and hope you’ll be the same. And my desire to be so radically honest—but then ultimately not doing anything because I know deep down that what I say really doesn’t hold weight and won’t matter and won’t change anything except maybe make me feel minutely better for a millisecond—probably says more about me than anyone else.
2. I don’t think being sensitive is a bad thing. I don’t. While I may not personally identify with being a “soft person” or any synonym to sensitive I don’t think it’s necessarily something to put in the negative column on your personality trait spreadsheet. I think we’re all soft in different ways, and some of us might be harder than others for various reasons—myself included.
So all of that being said, how much of being sensitive is something that should be solely our own thing? How much of our feelings, our reactions, our perceptions, are solely on us? Isn’t being sensitive, and maintaining said sensitivity, your own responsibility? Are other people responsible for walking around your softness? For treading lightly with feelings that you might only have etc?
I think I’ve always been worried about coming off the wrong way. I’ve been called intimidating so many times I’ve lost track. And while I do my best, sometimes I have absolutely been part of the reason someone’s feelings get hurt. So how much of that is my fault? How much of that is me, and how much of that is someone else being sensitive? I’ve always hated looking for the line between walking on eggshells and being too harsh. Sometimes I think we all blur it.
3. I think we all like to pretend more things are personal than actually are. We didn’t get the gig because the hiring manager just liked someone more than us. We were fired because someone just had it out for us. Someone dates our ex because they want to rub it in our face that they were chosen and we weren’t. Someone doesn’t use an exclamation point in an email because they secretly hate us and want to deliver the message via a lack of punctuation.
I think we all like to believe that people are thinking about us more than they actually are. We like to think that there’s always something personal behind every decision, especially when it’s one we don’t particularly like. I think it’s easier to take. If the reason boils down to something personal, then there isn’t anything we can change. A personal reason absolves us of any accountability. Because you can’t change what someone might just personally feel, right?
But really, when you think about it, is anything really personal? I don’t think so. I think people are so wrapped up in their own lives, in their own thing, that there isn’t enough time to make things personal in 99% of cases. That the majority of the time, it’s not personal. It just is. And “is” isn’t personal. No matter how many ways you try to look at it, it’s just not.
4. I was never good at math in school. I now know that it can be easy for people to develop anxieties related to things they struggled with growing up, and math is a really common one. Even basic addition I still struggle with. I count on my fingers. “Calculator” is one of my most frequent Google searches. I triple check data before sending it out to anyone.
I was never good at math in school, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve realized how hackable so many things are. How they’re all just math. How everything can be broken down and solved if you really take the time to dissect them. If X percent of your following clicks on this specific type of content, posting X pieces of that content will increase your engagement by X percent over X period of time. And so on so forth.
Everything is hackable. And that’s equal parts calming and honestly, boring. Maybe I was never good at math in school because I’ve always preferred things that didn’t have a definitive answer. Or maybe I just really sucked at long division. (It’s probably that.)
5. Since 2016, I feel like both myself and so many of my friends have gotten bitch slapped with the realization that our families or people we know are blatantly ignorant. And what’s worse than that, they might be happy being ignorant. They might enjoy sharing things that are at best questionable and at worst completely fabricated on Facebook. They like not having to face the fact that not voting results in things like a Trump in office. They like burying their heads in the sand and saying things like, “Well politics shouldn’t be dividing people apart it’s just silly,” or just refusing to discuss them at all.
Over the last 6 months, a distance has started to be formed between some people and me. A distance that is undeniably created by difference. I used to be able to empathize. I used to be able to take a deep breath and be more understanding. But over the last 6 months, this willingness to be ignorant at best and apathetic at worst has started to take a toll. I am losing patience for it. I am losing patience for the willingness to not take a stand on things. I am losing patience for the apathy for issues that do not directly impact us but may be a huge deal for someone else. I am losing patience for having to empathize and take deep breaths and sit back when someone chooses to be ignorant.
Maybe this is me. Maybe the onus of my lack of patience is on me. Maybe this is indicative of some soul searching I need to do, some residual empathy I need to look for, some work I need to personally do on myself.
Or maybe enough is enough sometimes. And that, in and of itself, is enough.