What’s it about?
Radical Honesty (First published 1993, current edition 2004) is a guide to help you tell the truth. We all lie all the time, and only through extreme honesty can we free ourselves from the moralism surrounding us and indeed be ourselves.
About the author:
Dr. Brad Blanton received training in Gestalt Therapy and practiced psychotherapy for many years. In addition to Radical Honesty, her books include Practicing Radical Honesty, Radical Parenting, and The Truthtellers. He also conducts radical honesty workshops in Shenandoah Valley, Virginia.
What can I get? Discover the incredible power of truth.
When was the last time you lied? It hasn’t been the case lately, has it? Oh good. Well, congratulations on your honesty! If you are not, you are lying right now.
Regardless of how you answer this question, it is a fact: people lie all the time. At least that’s what author Brad Blanton thinks. We lie to others about how we feel and lie to ourselves about who we are and what we want. Learning to lie is just part of growing up.
But that doesn’t make him sane. All these lies are killing us inside, so how can this be stopped when lies are everywhere?
The answer is simple but very complicated: the truth must be told, oddly enough.
Moralism means your mind dominates who you are.
Let’s start at the very top: the uterus.
A few months after conception, consciousness begins to manifest, which is the first time you experience yourself. Everything seems eternal, timeless.
You may not consciously remember this experience, but to some extent, it is still with you. It is an eternal experience that you, like everyone else, yearn to return to.
But you can’t. Because when you are born, you will learn how you should behave with the world around you. As the author says, reason replaces being. And the innocence that was in your mother’s womb will be lost forever. It is the essence of religion and philosophy: in your efforts to reclaim lost purity.
It looks like a disease, says the author, and gradually kills all of us. He called it moralism.
Trying to do the best for their children, parents teach them morality. Lessons learned from past behavior help them stay safe and teach manners. But children also learn negative behavior under the guidance of their parents.
The author tells Stephen, a young man who started a riot while secretly preparing lemonade in the kitchen. When his parents found out, they got angry and punished him; In response, he blamed his parents and said he hated them.
It is natural. It is a survival mechanism. Blaming and angry, Stephen imitated his parents.
The problem is applying a fixed set of rules to the dynamic and complex world around us. Lawyers do this by trying to use the harsh provisions of the law for detailed factual cases. It is what is called field dependencies.
To understand this idea, imagine a sidebar within a square frame. The stripe and bezel become independent of each other, like the hands of a clock. The room you are in is dark, so the bar and frame are the only things that suddenly stop moving, but the panel remains. So when is the bar vertical?
According to the woman on the road, this is when the elephant is parallel to the frame. On the other hand, people independent of the field realize that structure is not a reliable guide and instead use their body for exercise when the bar is upright.
Ethicists are field-dependent, but there is a fundamental problem with this addiction: falsehood.
We all lie to each other, and it hurts us.
We all lie. We lie all the time. And not only about the little things. On a deeper level, most adults live the lies they taught themselves as teenagers.
Youth is the first time people ask me who I am? And, unfortunately, it is human nature to want a definite answer. So, you pretend that the reaction you give to yourself, to the person you adopted, is a true reflection of who you are.
It is not the only lie people make, far from it.
As a child, you learn to lie, that there are fixed moral rules governing your actions, then as a teenager, you know how to lie about your personality, and that it doesn’t end there, as an adult, you keep it a secret from others. Even the people closest to you.
Lying is both a survival tactic and a disease that is slowly killing us. Like moralism, it encourages the mind to dominate the ego.
No cure can completely cure it, but in truth, the disease can be dealt with.
It does not mean simply admitting minor flaws; it means telling the truth. The author calls this radical honesty.
There are three levels of radical honesty: the first is simply weighing the facts. Often people are held back by the secrets they hide from their loved ones. Relieving stress through admitting lies is good for your mind. and physical health.
The second level deals with emotional truth. People rarely admit their feelings because they worry about how you will appear to others, but it is not enough to admit that you cheated. It would help if you also were honest about how you feel. Keep lying.
At the third level of truth, you also begin to live the truth. It is where you can fully accept that your true identity, your being, is not the same as what you presented to the world.
It means realizing your vanity, your selfishness, your true desires in life. For example, the author admits that he wrote the book because he wanted to become a famous intellectual and help millions.
Complete honesty means telling the whole truth, no matter how offensive it might be.
Complete honesty is a simple concept: to stop lying and telling the truth, but it is difficult to put this into practice. For example, imagine this difficult situation: you slept with your husband’s best friend, and now is the time, to be honest. You might think that being fair means telling your husband this fundamental truth. They may argue about it later and end up resenting each other, perhaps forever.
But radical honesty is another matter. It means authentic, unpleasantly accurate, down to the smallest detail.
Complete honesty means sitting down with your husband and telling him everything, including how often he had sex, whether he had an orgasm, what his best friend did next, how much he likes it, etc. It is not enough if you do not have full pictures of the experience. You hide everything from him.
It is again because of moralism. Usually, when there is talk about this kind of thing, people use a review. They talk about bumps and falls. The most honest approach is to use descriptive language. Stop justifying your actions. or wait for your partner to rate you. Admit what happened and what you think about it.
It’s hard to do, but it’s better for your relationship and ultimately better for your stress level as well.
After all, we, as a society, are somewhat depressed. Sex is less taboo than it used to be, but we are still far from being open about our sexual desires. At the heart of all this suppression is neurosis, which the author defines simply as a refusal to accept what is happening as truth. If you are neurotic, you are demanding that your life be changed in some way. You can deny your sexual feelings, anger, pain, or whatever, but whatever it is, it is entirely unhealthy.
Psychotherapy is one way to relieve neurosis, but the author recommends the same approach even in the sessions he conducts. To solve problems like this, honesty is just the solution.
Of course, one of the biggest things we suppress is anger. So let’s take a look at this.
Holding back anger is not a noble sacrifice. It is just suppression.
You’ve probably heard several versions of this story: An enemy soldier threw a grenade into a camp. The soldier throws a grenade, first putting on his helmet. He died, but the others survived.
He’s a hero, isn’t he? Of course, but not every act of self-sacrifice is heroic.
Like a soldier covering a grenade, you can sometimes cover up your anger by absorbing all of its power as it explodes inside you. It seems noble as if you forgive others.
But unlike the heroic soldier, you are a fool. It would help if you vented your anger not only for yourself but also for those around you.
As you build up anger, you will inevitably begin to resent your friends and family. You think you are doing them a favor by hiding your true feelings, but the opposite is true in reality. No one likes to be lied to or to hide their feelings. So, suppressing anger only makes the situation worse.
So you have to leave that aside. It means that you have to make it sound like it is without making it logical or morally correct.
For example, during a therapy session, a couple had a falling out with the author. Ann accused David of never listening. For instance, he mentioned a case where she came home from work stressed and didn’t turn off the TV. David said he just asked her to wait until the ad stopped working.
At the time, both were looking for the author’s approval, they wanted him to judge who was right and who was wrong, but that didn’t matter. The main thing was that she was angry.
Finally, Ann expressed her anger by scolding her husband for annoying him because he did not turn off the game. Simply put, it was liberating: It made him realize that 30 years ago, his father did the same as David did. If he doesn’t allow himself to be annoyed enough, he will never make this breakthrough.
Sometimes Anna’s anger is even less justified. Is it wise to resent a parent for getting old or a child for making noise? Not really. After all, they cannot avoid such things. But you can still get angry and allow yourself to feel what you are feeling. Don’t let moralism tell you otherwise.
Suppressing anger is dangerous and can destroy relationships. Please don’t leave him. Tell the truth instead.
Telling the truth – the whole truth – is essential for any relationship.
The author has been married five times, and it sometimes jokes that four failed marriages hardly show that he knows what makes a relationship successful.
But he said yes. Not only does he believe that every one of his marriages is booming, but his divorces are also successful, and he maintains a good relationship with his ex, a friendly and productive relationship. He is tuned to address this issue as a joint upbringing of children.
The real tragedy, he said, is not that there are many divorces these days, but that most unmarried couples have bad relationships.
We have seen several examples of communication in relationships, but what is the basis of this type of communication?
The philosopher Martin Buber suggests that people have two basic attitudes that they can manifest when they speak: first, he calls it “I Thou,” and the other, “I Thou.” And in fact, these are different versions of yourself.
Although you would use the word “I” in both cases, this word can mean two different things. If you say, “I,” you are telling your partner, acknowledging that this is who he is, with your complex emotions. If you say “I,” it is as if you are related to an object instead of a conscious subject.
It is why the author recommends using explicit and declarative statements such as “I am angry with you” or “Thank you.” It encourages people to view their partner as a whole and not as a thing. When you communicate in non-me mode, you rarely do anything other than combat.
Being honest with your partner is a significant challenge, and the author recommends that you take steps to make sure you know everything you can about each other’s existence, so sit back and tell each other what’s going on. Your life story, including your complete sex story, does not omit details. In addition, the author recommends being completely sexually honest when masturbating in front of each other. And as soon as you do that, take turns chatting for half an hour, without interruption, about what you think about each other, good and evil. Be honest with each other.
Loving someone is lovely and magical, but it means that you will allow your personality to be a part of something greater. If you do not let your whole being be a part of it, you are doing it wrong.
To get rid of moralism and start living with complete honesty, take responsibility.
Nowadays, the pace of life is breakneck, and we are constantly inspired. Therefore, it is not surprising that many of us are under stress – our bodies are not designed for constant busyness. Moralism only makes things worse.
So, how can you get out of this stressful state, free your mind and return to a condition in which you can realize who you are? Yes, problem-solving is learning to speak the truth. A psychotherapist can help people with this. But it doesn’t always work. Ultimately, it’s about taking responsibility and making plans.
Your mental and physical self is connected in more ways than you can imagine. That is why the author began to treat his patients with body therapy. Physical disciplines like yoga help people tune in to how they feel. They promise to get in shape through exercise and healthy eating.
It is because you have to be responsible. The author likes an episode from John Steinbeck’s novel “The Grapes of Wrath,” in which Tom Joad meets a bitter and depressed mechanic with one eye. He complained that people mistreated him because of his appearance, but Tom held him back, pointing out that the master did not cleanse and cover his missing eye.
Here’s a simple truth: It’s okay to blame the world around you when you haven’t done your best, but the mechanic’s attitude also says something about it – inner conflict.
Deep down in most of us, there is a tension between our desires and our beliefs. On the one hand, we feel something – how people relate to us, to our work, whatever – but on the other hand, we apologize for why this is the case. We have two voices within us arguing on opposite issues.
It is again the mind playing with us. It wants hope and change in the future, but he also wants confidence in tradition.
What is the way out of this paradox? Truth. Only without being afraid to admit this contradiction and accept it within ourselves can we resolve it.
- Stop making moral judgments about whether things are right or wrong.
- Just describe how you feel.
- Tell the truth. You will be surprised how far this will take you.