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How to Tell The Truth Successfully in 6 Practical Steps

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Leah Nguyen 18 September, 2023 5 min read

We all know lying just digs you deeper into problems, but fessing up isn't always easy either.

Whether it's a little white lie that got out of hand or a full-blown secret you've been hiding, we will walk you through the do's and don'ts of honesty hour.

Keep scrolling for the formula on how to tell the truth.

How to tell the truth AhaSlides
How to tell the truth

Table of Contents

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How to Tell the Truth in 6 Steps

If you're tired of living with that weight on your conscience or wanna start fresh, this is your sign to get real. We promise - the relief of truth will outweigh any temporary pain of poor judgment.

#1. Be direct yet compassionate

How to tell the truth AhaSlides
How to tell the truth

Be specific about the facts of what happened without exaggerating or leaving anything out. Give all relevant details concisely.

Clarify exactly which parts were your responsibility versus external factors. Take ownership of your role without blaming others.

Express that you understand this might be difficult for the other person to hear. Acknowledge their perspective and potential hurt.

Reassure them that you care about the relationship and their feelings. Convey through tone and body language that you mean them no harm.

#2. Admit mistakes without excuses

How to tell the truth AhaSlides
How to tell the truth

Be specific in acknowledging each thing you did wrong, without glossing over or minimising any parts.

Use "I" statements that put the focus solely on your own role, such as "I made a mistake by…", not broader statements.

Don't imply other factors contributed or try to explain away your actions. Simply state what you did without justification.

Admit the full severity of your mistakes if needed, such as if there were ongoing behaviours or serious consequences involved.

#3. Explain your view without justification

How to tell the truth AhaSlides
How to tell the truth

Briefly share what you were thinking/feeling in the situation, but don't use it to downplay your actions.

Focus on giving background on your state of mind, not blaming others or circumstances for your choices.

Be transparent that your perspective doesn't negate the actual impact or make it acceptable.

Admit your perspective was flawed if it led to a clearly wrong decision or behaviour.

Providing context can increase understanding but requires balance to avoid using it to deflect real accountability. You want transparency, not justification of mistakes.

#4. Offer a sincere apology

How to tell the truth AhaSlides
How to tell the truth

Look the person in the eyes when apologising to convey sincerity through eye contact and body language.

Use a serious, sympathetic tone of voice, and say "I'm sorry" directly rather than vague phrases that skirt responsibility like "I apologise, ok?"

Express regret for how your actions made them feel both intellectually and emotionally.

Don't minimise the impact or demand forgiveness. Simply acknowledge you were wrong and caused hurt.

A sincere apology owned fully through words and follow-through actions can help those affected feel heard and start to heal.

#5. Be prepared for reactions

How to tell the truth AhaSlides
How to tell the truth

You'll need to accept that negative reactions like anger, hurt or disappointment are understandable and don't try to deny them.

Allow them to express their emotions freely without rebutting, making excuses or jumping in to re-explain yourself.

Don't take criticisms or insults personally - understand strong words may come from that specific moment when they feel hurt.

Respect if they need time or distance to cool off before discussing further. Offer to chat once tensions have eased.

Taking the reactions calmly will help you address them constructively rather than being in defensive mode.

#6. Focus on your resolution

How to tell the truth AhaSlides
How to tell the truth

After giving space for the initial airing of feelings, it's time to shift to a calmer, future-oriented discussion.

Ask what they need from you going forward to feel secure/supported again in the relationship.

Offer a heartfelt commitment to specific behavioural changes rather than vague promises, and ask for input on future actions you both agree.

Come prepared with constructive suggestions for making amends or rebuilding lost trust over time.

Repairing trust is an ongoing process - entrust yourself that with effort over time, the wound will heal and understanding will deepen.

Bottom Line

Choosing not to deceive anymore is a commendable act, and we hope with this guide on how to tell the truth, you will take one step closer to lifting this burden off your shoulders.

By admitting fault clearly yet with compassion, you will pave the way for forgiveness and strengthen your bond with the important ones through vulnerability and growth.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to tell the truth easily?

Start with small talk and be casual and calm. By keeping it low-key and solution-oriented versus defensive or emotional, you will feel a tad bit easier to tell the truth.

How do you tell the truth even if it hurts?

Being honest requires courage, but it's often the kindest path if done with empathy, accountability and a willingness to heal fractures caused by reality.

Why is it so hard to tell the truth?

People often find it hard to tell the truth because they fear the consequences. Some think admitting faults or mistakes can bruise the ego, while some think it's difficult since they don't know how someone will respond to the truth.