Dare boldly

A blog by Louise Gallagher

Let me be brutally honest — I don’t think so.


What do you say when someone says, “Do you mind if I’m brutally honest.”?

“Of course. Hit me with the truth! Go ahead. Fling your words at me and cut me to the bone. Beat me up with your need to be brutal.”

Or, are you more likely to respond along the lines of, “Well, actually, I’d rather hear loving honesty. Brutality just isn’t my thing, you know?”

It is such an odd phrase, and to me, a contradiction.

To be honest, I must not just watch my words. I must be accountable for every one of them, as well as my actions. For me, honesty is, by its very nature, loving. It is never brutal.

When I was a little girl my mother used to always say, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”

Now, for years, I thought that meant, “Don’t speak the truth.”

Finally, after years of learning how to discern my truth, and to recognize what it means to speak truth without fearing the outcome, I get it. It isn’t about not speaking truth, it’s about always speaking truth in Love.

It’s about always standing in Love and knowing that when I speak from that place my words are never meant to hurt or cut, they are always spoken with the intention of being kind, caring and loving — of all.

It doesn’t mean I swallow my feelings, my responses, my reactions to things that hurt or disturb or distress me. It means, I find the path to expressing what hurts, disturbs and distresses me in Love.

It doesn’t mean I accept other’s bad behaviour. It means, I accept my right to speak of those things that do not sit well with me with a loving heart and the intention to always ‘create better’.

And it means, I never ever beat someone up with my truth or what I perceive to be their truth.

Disagreement does not equal rejection.

It also doesn’t give me the right to be cruel, mean or ‘brutal’.

We will not always agree with one another, but when I ask to be ‘brutally honest’, I am asking to be unkind.

And I do not want to be unkind.

I want to create better in the world.

And to do that, I need to let go of being brutal and surrender my fear of truth, of disagreement, of darkness and of light to fall, In Love.

In Love, all things are possible,  including honesty without fear of being hurt or hurting one another.


This post is inspired by my friend MF who yesterday shared that one of her goals was to be brutally honest with herself so that she could grow in love and compassion. For me, being brutally honest with myself hurts the one I need the most to help me grow in Love and compassion — myself.

Thank you MF for shining your light so that I could see my truth.

Author: Louise Gallagher

I believe in wonder. I believe we are all magnificent beings of divine beauty. I believe we can make a difference in this world, through every act, word, thought. I believe we create ripples with everything we do and say and want to inspire everyone to use their ripple to create a better world for everyone. I'm grateful you're here.

23 thoughts on “Let me be brutally honest — I don’t think so.

  1. Agree.. hate that phrase -“to be honest.” Does that mean all the other times the person isn’t saying the truth?


  2. Honestly, Louise, this is a great post, which I loved.


  3. Thank you once again !


  4. Okay another one of yours that I will really about ten times. Bookmarking this one for sure!!


  5. Well said, and good to remember! I also dislike the expression, “To be honest with you…” Just as Lisa said, does that mean that the other times I am not honest with you?


  6. Speaking the truth in love. In the past I had such trouble speaking my Truth…I just wanted to be loving…all the time…even when someone crossed boundaries I didn’t acknowledge. Now that I know what my Truth is…….I can speak up (most of the time) in love. Great post.


  7. Ha the title led me to believe I was about to read a rant! What I read was way better though – love this post Louise.
    Diana xo


  8. This post made me think because one of my downfalls sometimes is to withhold the truth if I know it is going to hurt.
    I had been trying to learn techniques of speaking the truth without being hurtful and it is not an easy thing to do.
    Now I understand that fine line that it is not my fault when it is the truth that is the hurtful thing not me, and it is a matter of expressing the hurtful truth in a kind and caring way. Thanks for this post. It has helped me through this conundrum.


    • I think we all have a tendency to do that Elizabeth — in the misguided belief we’re being kind, we end up hurting ourselves, and possibly the relationship. I like how you distinguish ‘the truth that is the hurtful thing not me’.

      Glad to be of help! And that’s the truth. 🙂 Hugs


  9. Great post Louise. It brings our attention to the line between being honest and hurting others.
    The truth can indeed be brutal.
    Yet, as you say … Who are we to deliver that brutal message?
    Why are we wanting to deliver it anyway? Is it about us being right? … usually so.
    For me, I also aspire to ahimsa – in yoga meaning non violence. It is the overriding guideline in how to live a yogic life.
    Honesty is also an other guideline … but as long as we do not bring harm or hurt to the other. Non violence trumps honesty every time.
    Finding a way to share the truth without harm requires lots of compassion,understanding, patience and some good communication skills!
    We can find that space in the sacred pause and our middle ground.
    Val x


    • Hi Val. I love how you can relate this to yoga and ‘ahimsa’ and how it can move us to find sacred pause and middle ground. Love that — and the fact that non-violence is not just in my actions, but my words as well.

      Thanks for the light!


  10. If some says “to be honest” it makes me wonder if they are often not honest and usually tell me lies………………………..the truth can be delivered in either a mean hurtful way on in a nice kind way it depends on the person who is being honest


  11. Beautifully put; I so like your explanation of the old saw about saying only nice things. In Right Speech if you say something to someone else that feels brutal to them it isn’t right speech. I’m not so sure that brutal words can even be true…


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