Brutal Honesty and Kindness

I’m a little late to this conversation, but I think I’ve finally pulled my thoughts together enough to write something cohesive. I’m sure that many of you have seen the video that was made by Nicole Arbour titled “Dear Fat People” and if you haven’t then I’ll just give you a quick rundown of what it said. This video was essentially a hate letter to “fat people” that was then played off as “humor.” I’ll be honest, I was pretty upset after watching this video. The thought that someone who has so much influence in the social media sector could just go and spew hate all over the internet and that it could get over six million views.

What I did think was amazing was the overwhelming number of responses to this video where people were speaking love and truth. I really loved what Tessa Violet had to say on this topic. Check out her video below.

What Tessa talks about is why we should choose kindness. And the position that she represents is not “Eh, we should choose kindness because, why not?” But she poses the question “Is there really any reason that we should not choose kindness?” And I think this applies to so much of life.

Since we were freshman in high school, Meesh has always told me:

I will never tell my kids to be nice, they will learn to be kind.

And that is something I will remember for my whole life. You see, kindness is not just an action, kindness is an indication of how you view and respect other people. When we look as all people as individuals and when we choose to respect them we cannot help but be kind. Kindness can be as simple as showing regard for someone’s feelings. Kindness is not always sunshine and roses, but kindness is always best. I read a lot of horse books when I was growing up (every little girl goes through a horse phase, OK? Mine was just longer than a lot of people’s) and there were many times when a horse was injured so bad that it had to be euthanized. The thing the vet would always say to the crying heroine of the book was “it was the kindest thing to do.” And this comforting, fictional vet was right. Kindness was the hardest choice to make, but it looked at the feelings of all those involved and decided what was best.

Whether or not we acknowledge it, we do this every time we speak or act. In a split second we catalogue the effects of what we’re about to do and then we decide. I know, sometimes you think before you speak (I am endlessly guilty of this), but typically we know what someone’s reaction to our words or actions might be before we do them. And here’s where I want to talk about Brutal Honesty.

Carrie Hope Fletcher did this amazing video on this topic.

Carrie’s main point is that there is almost never a time where you need to be “brutally honest” with someone. Now, there are a lot of people who have spoken truth into my life (often when I least want to hear it) in pretty straightforward ways: my mom, Meesh, Cindy, Penelope, Grace. And even though it has sometimes been hard to hear those truths I’d be willing to say that it’s never been “brutal” because I have always know that these truths are coming from a place of love.

Honesty should always be rooted in love. If what you are pointing out to someone is not so that you can see them become a better person or because you are honestly concerned about them then it’s not being honest, it’s being a jerk. It’s one thing to pull someone aside to say they have their skirt tucked into their tights (the number of times I’ve nearly walked out of the bathroom with my butt hanging out is ungodly) and another thing to yell it loudly across the hallway. Maybe you’re right in both situations, but one of them is showing kindness and the other is being an ass.

No person is perfect, and I know that I’ve been guilty of being hurtful in the name of “honesty” but this is something I have worked really hard to not do because I’ve seen just how damaging it can be. Maybe it’s really naive of me to think that all people should be in the business of building one another up, but that’s not going to stop me from trying to live like that. So the next time you go to say something “brutally honest” stop and ask yourself why you’re saying it in the first place.

Love you!

Abby

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