Radical Honesty is a concept described by a Ph.D. psychologist Brad Blanton. In 1996 he published a book called “Radical Honesty: How to transform your life by telling the truth”, which was translated into 7 languages and became a bestseller.
Last night I went to a local “Radical honesty” event, led by a coach who is coached directly by Brad.
Before yesterday I thought that Im honest, quite confident in my own skin, and totally ready for anything that may come up.
When the meeting started, I was the first one to introduce myself. The first one to say what I expect from this meeting. Because hey, I did it so many times, all those circles, gatherings and all that personal development stuff. Nothing can surprise me anymore. I am so freaking confident, and I love it.
5 mins later I could not believe what was happening. I thought that my personal hell arrived.
(Disclaimer: for the privacy purpose, I am not going to describe real examples from other participants, but rather their possible analogies).
The goal of the meeting was to tell each other what and how we feel right now towards others, and how it’s reflected in our body.
Nasty things were said…
– I felt negativity when I met you. I felt pain in my head
– I resent you for your language. I feel a tension in my chest and contractions in my stomach.
– I feel that you are lying and trying to look better than you are
– I appreciate you looking into my eyes
– I felt that you judged my feelings. You had a skeptical expression on your face. I feel the tension in my whole body
– I resent you for saying that only men do this. I feel the tension …
From “the most confident” I’ve become the quietest in the group. I wanted to run. I wanted to end that pain. I was questioning my sanity: Why the hell am I here??? Im not ready! Never again.
When one of those statements above was addressed to me – I couldn’t hold the pressure any longer. Tears filled up my eyes. I was shaking, tensed and jammed, barely speaking and not able to think clearly.
I felt as I am a plane which was hit by another plane. I was rapidly falling down, all alarms in the cabin went off, lightening and dangerously warning, and I could not do anything about it but accept and patiently wait for the final touch with the Earth’s surface.
Never again …
I told them I will never come again. I told them I feel not confident, uncomfortable and ashamed. I thought I totally screwed it up. So much work on myself and Im still so weak.
But then something, again totally unexpected, happened. The whole group, one by one, told me that they appreciate me for courage. That they felt they want to protect me. And how much they are thankful for experiencing these emotions with me. Everyone was concerned about me. Wanted to talk to me and say that it’s okay to express all the feelings honestly and that it’s not gonna be anyhow judged.
I couldn’t sleep last night. I was thinking how little I know about myself. I thought that after all this work I am honest and able to say what I think. And just within 2 hours, I realized how far it is from the truth.
I always wanted deep, intimate relationships. Whether romantic or friendship. I don’t enjoy any “surface” connections. When Im around protective people – I feel the disconnection and Im easily getting bored and want to go away.
So lately I started to cut down all the relationships where I feel this way. But at the same time wondering why can’t I find new people who will want the same level of intimacy?
Well, yesterday I received another confirmation that we attract what we are.
I am not there myself. Not yet as honest as I would like to be. Not as confident with speaking up as I want other people to be.
So of course, to have such honest relationships – first I need to become the one who practices it daily.
And also, what was very helpful in this experience – is to realize that any feelings are first created in the body, and then the brain quickly comes up with a label. “I am judged”. “I am rejected”. “I feel ashamed”. “He is attacking me (I feel threatened)”.
Our mind will avoid experiencing these labels in the future because it remembers the physical pain we felt last time. This is the root cause of all the disconnection.
When I separated someone’s actions towards me in the past from what I actually feel in my body -I realized that those people have nothing to do with what’s going on inside of me…
Today I’ve decided that I will try to go there one more time. After all, where can I train better than at the place which is created solely for this purpose?
As I summary I would say that so often we think we figured out everything. We think that life will always go our way. We think we know the best way for the best relationships, biggest fulfillment and joy in life.
I imagine that somewhere in the background the Universe is silently laughing at all our plans, throws them out to the trash bin and confidently, “not-accepting-any-objections” , presents its own version.
And there is nothing left for us but to trust that presented version is genuinely the best one that can be.