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The art of change is a tough one. I used to be the head captain and cheerleader of the School of Niceness, and was always there to cheer up a friend with kind words, or make sure my friends and family were always happy if they were facing an ordeal. Then I realized that I was often being taken advantage of, or my opinions were being ignored.

Over time, I noticed that going for the prize of the nicest friend and family member wasn’t the right move for me and those I loved, and vowed to become a more honest and truthful person about my feelings, and about their issues. I never thought my newfound honesty would be something I’d be lambasted for.

On one hand, there are people who can handle the truth, and then there are those who are terrified of it, so much so that they retaliate against you and make you feel like the bad guy. Here’s my current situation: I’m the youngest out of my four sisters, which makes me the go-to person for advice and moments of clarity. Recently, I’ve started implementing my new honesty-is-the-best-policy practice into the advice I give, but my sisters aren’t taking too kindly to it. I’ll hear, “You’ve become sassy,” or, “You’re starting to act like a b**ch.” But I don’t get it: If you’re telling me that you want to leave your cheating boyfriend and I tell you that you should because he’s no good, it’s mean? We create these filters in our lives that help us ignore the truth. Whether it’s obsessing over a fake fairy tale life that we want to the point that we’re ignoring the good advice we asked for, many of us want to wallow in mess until our lives are spiraling out of control.

For some, listening to honesty and a critique is an attack. We never want to hear when we’re wrong and some people are more sensitive than others. It gets a little frustrating for me and my sisters because I never know how they’re going to take the advice I think that I gently give to them.

Honesty in any relationship is important. Sure, “the truth” may seem like common sense, but we lie to ourselves every day, and that’s no bueno. In the words of Ms. Demetria Lucas (for my Blood Sweat and Heels fans), we have to accept that our truth may not be the truth.  Because of that, I say be honest with your friends. Let your man know how you really feel. Keep it 100 when it comes to your family. All in all, speak your mind! The longer we hold back the truth, the more we lose our true selves. What good are we to friends and loved ones if we aren’t honest with ourselves?

Fear will get the best of us if we let it. Yes, the anxiety of a bad outcome makes us apprehensive, but not letting yourself live the experience is even worse. For me, it’s what made me become more truthful in my relationships with friends and family. I realized that the approach really determines the outcome of any situation.  Being hard on someone who’s already down in the dumps isn’t a good remedy for anyone, but being honest yet understanding can go a long way.

It’s sweet to play cheerleader for a while, but it’s often more helpful when the people you care about learn from some good ol’ fashioned unfiltered advice (that doesn’t sound too judgmental). So I’ll take the Ls for now, but I know it will work out for them and myself down the road.

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