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How to be honest without being harsh

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When you allow yourself to be honest, it can feel liberating. Honesty is the foundation for trust, it brings value to your relationships. What makes being completely honest a bit daunting, is that it can sometimes hurt others. This is how you could express yourself while minding other people’s feelings.

Start small

Sometimes petty lies add up and get in your way. Do you notice that you find it hard to answer sincerely when asked whether you’re enjoying your dinner? Or when you’re cancelling an appointment not wanting to share why? Would you rather be more honest? Practice by saying how you really feel more often. This can make it easier to be honest regarding bigger issues you face.

Emphasize the positive

Being honest doesn’t mean voicing your opinion always and everywhere, or going on about other people’s shortcomings. Emphasize what you do like and love, and others will probably not mind your occasional criticism as much.

Accept disappointment or hurt

Even as you try your best to combine honesty with mildness and warmth, the other can sometimes still feel disappointed or hurt. Accept that you cannot always prevent this. It is simply impossible to be completely sincere with people without this sometimes causing abrasion.