You know what they say: “people never change.”
I’m not totally sure that I agree with that.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that the ex who you broke up with 2 months ago who is swearing that they’ve suddenly grown up has actually changed, but if people want to change and grow, they do!
Just think about it — are you the same person that you were 5 years ago? 10 years ago?
If you’re anything like me, your response to that will be something like “No, and thank goodness for that!”
We all grow and change. Our looks change, our relationships change, our interests change, and even our personalities change. Every new experience we have, person we meet, life change we experience, they all inform the person that we become, for better or for worse.
Becoming a fully mature adult who handles others’ emotions and confrontation well takes time. The vast majority of us don’t come anywhere close to being able to manage this until our 20s or 30s. Hell, some people struggle with it their entire lives.
I’ve written on here a bit about my high school personality and about how guarded I was as I entered my teen years. To be honest, one of the most pivotal parts of my teen years was when I realized how much of a jerk I was. Sure, I was proud and unwilling to be vulnerable, but unfortunately, I was also dishonest.
Because I was callous, I told myself and others that I was just “brutally honest,” happy to put anyone down when I deemed it necessary, but in reality, I was only selectively honest. I lied by omission for my own selfish reasons, stringing people in my life along in different ways. I made excuses for myself, but once I graduated high school and started really working on who I was becoming, I realized that I couldn’t face myself. For someone who was “brutally honest” I sure as hell wasn’t honest with these people. I apologized to the people that I wronged, but I knew that an apology wasn’t enough until I actually did something about it.
So I started working on being more honest. I turned on my “read receipts” so that anyone who texted me could see if I read their messages. I started telling people how I really felt and being forthcoming with my thoughts, even if they weren’t pleasant for others to hear. Unfortunately, being 100% honest all of the time can make someone be somewhat tactless. Because of this, this personal work really had to go hand and hand with becoming an empathetic person. I not only wanted to be honest with those around me, but I also wanted to understand when it was appropriate to share. I worked on understanding that my truth isn’t everyone’s truth, and that’s okay. If someone asked me how they looked in a new shirt, I learned that instead of automatically saying, “Oh I feel like it’s too tight/too loose/too blue/too short/too long…” I would ask, “How do you think it looks?” or “How do you feel in it?” The beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and my eye is not nearly as important as the eye of the person in the shirt and how they feel!
Now, the word “dishonesty” leaves a bad taste in my mouth. In typical Renata fashion, I have completely overcorrected. I strive to be as honest as possible at all times. This sounds great in theory, however, talking to me can be a complete nightmare. Because of this compulsive honesty, I tend to overshare because I want my interlocutor to understand the story from every angle. No story that I tell is straightforward and easy. You need to understand the backstory, and I mean every bit of backstory, which can make even the simplest of stories lengthy. “You see, I was born 5 pounds and 6 ounces on the morning of February 24th…”
I also strive to make sure that I am as clear as possible so that I cannot be called out as a liar on a later date. In order to do this, I obviously have to think about what I’m saying from every possible angle and the different situations in which that particular fact could come up. It’s a good thing that I was an overthinker already, because there’s no way I wouldn’t have become one with this approach!
I went from having no filter by way of being “brutally honest” to having no filter because I just tell everyone everything.
I am constantly going out of my way to overshare and be fully transparent. I am all about relationships, and I want to know who I am going to get along with right off the bat. What does that mean? Oversharing and giving way too much information and insight into my life so that we can see if we vibe, of course! How can you be close to someone if they don’t thoroughly understand your childhood trauma? You can’t, of course!
Of course, this classic Renata overcorrecting comes with some backpedaling. I’ve learned that not everyone wants to hear every intimate detail of my life. I’ve begun to understand that not everyone is mentally prepared to hear about my mental health issues at any moment. Honesty is great, but overwhelming everyone and non-consensually oversharing constantly is not. I can be honest and make those around me comfortable, but it’s taken me some time to find the right balance.
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