Can I be honest for a second? True honesty is hard. Like that deep down, nitty gritty, coming-from-your-core kind of honesty. It’s so much easier sometimes to stay floating at the surface, to keep conversations within the realm of the expected and conventional, to forgo vulnerability in order to keep ourselves and others comfortable.
I’ve been seeing all sorts of stuff online lately about honesty in the digital realm. The consensus seems to be that we don’t know how to be (or at least we don’t practice being) fully honest online. This isn’t a new idea, of course; one of the chief complaints about social connection since...well, since the dawning of social media...is that our online personas lack authenticity. You’ve heard the refrain, I’m sure: social media is a highlight reel, not a real glimpse into a person’s life. When we don’t feel like we can be honest, we just post what everyone else is posting, and social media becomes a cyclical and predictable loop of op-ed articles, short-form videos, witty memes, and posed smiles. (Side note: there’s nothing inherently wrong with these things! And also, I post and share stuff like this all the time! I’m just curious if we’re losing something human in the process.)
I think this whole idea of not practicing honesty may go deeper than just social media, though. And perhaps dishonesty may fester particularly rampantly around the holiday season, so there’s more of it to notice these days. There are so many expectations, traditions, bids on our time and energy, obligations, and established behavioral patterns to live into. Some of them are joyous. Some...not so much. Sometimes, we forget (or intentionally decline) to be honest with ourselves about how these patterns affect us and those around us. Which ones still leave us feeling renewed and full of life, after all these years? Which ones are more burdensome or draining?
Around the holidays, there is often a tendency to shift into muscle memory. Maybe pulling out the same decorations, maybe heading over to the same Aunt’s house for the same meal she’s been making since the 70s, maybe listening to children sing the same songs in their annual pageant. Sometimes, that shift into muscle memory is smooth, joyous, nostalgic, and frictionless. Other times, shifting into time-worn patterns feels like being in the backseat while someone attempts to drive a stick shift for the first time. More often than not, I’d wager, it’s a bit of both.
Of course old patterns and traditions sometimes feel irksome. In each moment, we are growing into the people we have yet to become, whether we are conscious of it or not. And like any physical growth, this personal and collective growth is accompanied by out-growth of that which is no longer capable of holding all that we are. How insulting to our abundant, divine nature to insist that we squeeze ourselves into what no longer holds us.
I’m not sure that social media will ever be capable of holding all that we are and all that we have yet to become. But I do believe that we must have some containers, practices, and relationships in our lives that can easily envelope all of ourselves without fear of spilling over; without the shame of being perceived as “too much.” Because if we’re honest, there have been ways that each of us have been “too much” for someone or something at some point. And that person or place or thing probably would have preferred our dishonesty--our choosing not to reveal all that we are so that we better fit into the expectation of who we “should” be.
It takes honesty to discover and cherish all that we are and all that we are becoming. It takes both honesty and courage to share our discovery and self-cherishing with others, even with those we love and trust the most.
So, for your reflection as we barrel towards the end of this year:
What does honesty with myself mean to me? Honesty with others?
What am I personally outgrowing? What are we collectively outgrowing (whatever “we” means to you)?
Where, how, or with whom do I feel empowered to be honest about who I am and what I’m experiencing? How might I express gratitude for these people and places? How might I create new opportunities or containers for honesty?
May you go into the coming days with elation and lots of love, and when honesty knocks on the door of your soul, asking for a moment of your time, may you be ready to welcome it in.
Comin’ through my speakers:
lo-fi music playlists on youtube for peaceful background sounds, like this one
What’s resonating with me lately:
seeking out laughter and lightness when i’m feeling stuck
One thing I’m creating these days:
a mess in my studio and a stitched custom portrait of a lovely family
A Visio Divina card for today:
Take a moment to simply gaze at the card in front of you. As you take in the colors, textures, and imagery on the card, ask yourself: what reaction or response does this card spark in me? What divine wisdom might be beckoning to me through this artwork?
You can find more about me and my work at molliedonihe.com, and you can subscribe to this public journaling practice at molliedonihe.substack.com. You can also find me @molliedonihe on Instagram and TikTok. Glad you’re here!