“Brutal” is such a harsh word. I suppose that’s really the point of it. Merriam-Webster defines it as “extremely cruel or harsh,” or perhaps even better for the purposes of this article, “very direct and accurate in a way that is harsh or unpleasant.” As far as adjectives go, this one is pretty powerful. It’s not one to be thrown around nonchalantly.
When put in front of the word “honesty,” though, what changes? Anything? Honesty is often seen as a positive virtue, something to be valued in others. We seem to have a mindset today, however, that people should only be honest when we want them to be. The infamous question, “Does this dress make me look fat?” had better be answered with a resounding “No!” if a man is to escape certain death.
Related:I Am So Much More Than Introvert
The fact of the matter is that human beings constantly seek the validation of others. Thus, we don’t want honesty in these circumstances; we want to hear what will make us feel good about ourselves. When we are confronted with the cold, harsh truth, that’s when this phrase makes an appearance: brutally honest. Anyone who would dare expose us to something unpleasant about ourselves is being “brutal” and, more often than not, is subsequently labeled as being conceited.
Here’s my question: Are we doing ourselves a disservice? Perhaps, we are. I’ve been telling people for years that I’m brutally honest with them because I want them to be brutally honest with me. If I sounded awful in that last concert, tell me. It’ll help me in identifying how I can improve. If the metaphorical “dress” does, indeed, make me look fat, well, tell me now, so I don’t embarrass myself in public.
With that in mind, I’m probably not going to tell you that you look fantastic if you don’t. I won’t say I loved the concert if it put me to sleep. Why should I? To make you feel good? I feel as though shielding you from reality is not the best choice. It can only hurt in the long run.
Also, here’s another thing to keep in mind: Being honest with you does not necessarily indicate that my intention is to be mean. Sometimes, a person really does just need a dish of cold, hard reality. In that case, I may have to be a bit brusque to get my point through your thick skull. However, I do it to help, not to hurt.
I can be a fairly blunt person. “Blunt” often translates in many people’s minds as “mean.” My honesty makes people see me as sassy, too. However, my response is always the same: I’m just being honest. I suppose what makes it “bad” or “good” comes down to motive. If your goal is to be mean, then it really is a bad thing. Being helpful, though, might not be so bad.If you want someone to lie to you all the time, I suggest you find someone else to whom you can ask your questions. Validation isn’t my strong suit. I’ll be more than happy to tell you things how they are, whether they be good or bad. In return, you’re allowed to do the same for me! Maybe this way, we can both grow as people as we point out each other’s flaws.