Are there things we just shouldn’t say? I’m known for my bluntness and also feel the need to articulate deep dark thoughts that others might find shocking.
But, even as I grew up and learnt to hold my tongue, I began to wonder. Are there some unworthy thoughts you just shouldn’t voice? If you know that they’re “not nice”, even if you feel them. Prejudices that you know are irrational but that you feel anyway.
Once a friend told me she didn’t like old people. She didn’t like the way they smell. She found them boring and tiresome. I must admit that I am not as enthused by old people as some people seem to be and that may be because I have not met that many fascinating old people, plus I shared a room with my grandmother growing up and it was not pleasant. However, I also think that we need to be compassionate about (not pity) their physical failings and try to see what about them we can like.
I think it’s okay to be honest about your feelings, even the less palatable ones, the ones you feel guilty about, and rightly so.
Once. That is, it’s okay to voice them once. Or twice. Then, keep them to yourself because after that they stop being honesty and start sullying the air.
I have noticed that if these feelings get voiced more than a couple of times, something strange happens. The first time they are voiced in an apologetic voice. You, the recipient of the confession, nod and concur that you’ve felt that way too (if so) or that it’s okay to feel that way. The next time, it’s said a little more boldly, only slightly embarrassed. Soon, it’s repeated without apology, like these thoughts are perfectly justified and reasonable. This is who I am, hater of old people, fat people, dark-skinned people, people with a Southern accent, etc. Accept me because I am discriminating enough to know what I like and do not and honest enough admit it.
It’s like Harry Potter said, when you say something, you lose your fear of it. But this can be a double-edged sword. The utterance can become justification.
As a grown-up, I have a problem with too much honesty because I have noticed it becomes self-serving. Thus, the man who confesses his infidelity to his wife. The burden is lifted and transferred. At least he was honest. Right?
Wrong. Sometimes STFU works very well. Let’s use it.