• Stress, Anxiety, Social Anxiety, and Phobias
  • Depression
  • Shame, Guilt, and Low self-esteem
  • Personal growth challenges
  • Issues related to one's work environment
  • Loss and Grief
  • Healing from trauma
  • Relationships
  • Pre-Marital Counseling
  • Marriage / Couple Counseling
  • Recovering from infidelity
  • Separation, Divorce, End of Relationship Transitions
  • Parenting Issues

THE ‘HONESTY BAT’ aka Being Authentic

One day my husband was riding the train and as all commuters know one must adhere to the sanctity of the quiet section. Well one pour young girl was not aware of the rules (clearly not a regular commuter) and so her sin involved a loud conversation with Grandma who was obviously hard of hearing, since the conversation was held in a rather loud voice. People in general were quite irritated, I guess, some more than others. As my husband was getting off the bus, two burly construction workers were getting off right in front of him, and as they passed by the girl one leaned in and loudly shouted “SHUT THE F&%$ UP!” The girl looked so stunned and scared my husband though she may pass out. As he continued off the bus, the guy who yelled turned to his friend and said “I did right…right?” The other guy responded “Loui, you did what you had to do!”
“But I had to tell him what I think…right?” or “I’m entitled to my point of view right?” or “I’m supposed to be honest …I mean I would appreciate everyone being honest with me right?” If I had a penny…

This is one of those common themes that are constantly brought up in therapy. Whether in marriage or in individual therapy, I often come across the need for people to bash others with an ‘honesty bat’. In existentialism we describe it as our need to be AUTHENTIC. Heidegger (a well-known Existential philosopher) said that authenticity is choosing the nature of one’s existence and identity. In existential philosophy (which is what I practice), authenticity is placed on a high pedestal. While I love the power that Existentialism lends to individuals in therapy (being in control of your emotions in the now and thereby being in control of your choices), there are some things I have a hard time resolving myself to. As humans are we bound by our nature? Or is being human enable us to choose our thoughts, words and actions, while controlling our nature? I truly believe that the goal of therapy, and maybe TRUE AUTHENTICITY is knowing your nature and then knowing WHO you choose to be.

Is it worth destroying someone’s moment, day, mood, breakfast because I need to be honest? Or can I put my honesty in a box for the moment because it will have no positive value. Is it considered being inauthentic when you put someone’s self-esteem or ego ahead of your view? Or perhaps we can be truly authentic if we take a moment and consider our own flaws and weaknesses.
I believe in choosing your words carefully (although I have a hard time doing it myself at times as I’m sure my family can attest to). I don’t think that being kind with words is a weakness nor do I think that succumbing to our frustration and being cruel is anything to be proud of. Our fellow pets act ‘NATURALLY’ and authentic in their own right all the time, and if that’s our barometer for authenticity we are no better than animals.

So don’t be afraid to drink a bad cup of coffee, laugh at a joke that’s not funny, or speak softly to your spouse even if your blood is boiling… in my book that is being true to yourself.