I've always handled telling someone I love something I think will hurt or disappoint them by telling the minimum and softening it, then after gauging their reaction, going on to explain more (or not).
So far I have about three friends in the whole world who I am completely transparent with. I have had dozens of friendships/relationships that I have sustained despite the fact that I think that if I was absolutely authentic they would reject or at least be disappointed in me. Why?
Fear, of course. I have been willing to live in a whole fucking lot of fear as the "cost" of being loved. I don't know if this is true for everyone, but I can say that it would not be a hard decision to lose my life while saving the life of a loved one. That, for me, wouldn't take a lot of courage.
The very bravest thing that me, Cheryl, could do, would be to be absolutely authentic all the time. It is easier for me to want those close to me to understand me when we're talking about the good things about me or even the things that make me tick in my quirky way. But then when it comes to my foibles, I am terrified of telling people exactly who I am. And then actually WANTING them to really understood what is inside of me is a whole other level.
But I know that every way I cover up, mask, hide, soften, or leave out the truth of who I am in a friendship or relationship is a time bomb I'm planting in the foundation. All relationship built on that foundation is to some degree a lie.
Though it's scary as hell, I want to be brave enough to give to people I'm close to a bright, crisp, clear picture of who I am. From the beginning on.
I've known I wanted to be that brave and that open since I was a child, I realize. I didn't think I would be loved unless my faults and errors were minimized and I was the victim, and therefore less at fault, in every situation, even the ones when I really fucked up. I definitely did NOT think I would ever have the courage to bare myself and really allow the other person to see the truth of who I am.
The irony of all this is that I can see clearly that the ONLY way I ever feel loved and accepted is by those who I know really KNOW who I am and love me in spite of that. So by hiding in fear all these years I have been setting relationships I'm in up to fail. They don't stand a chance if I have to walk in the back door, sneak into the dressing room, put on a costume and have complete hair and makeup done before I make my appearance. If I have to be something other than authentic to be part of a relationship it is doomed.
But so many friendships and even marriages are forged while one or both people is presenting themselves as different than they are, even by shades. We can see it when others do it. If you've ever watched someone YOU know really well start a friendship or a romance in some sort of posturing, you know what I mean. It's actually really irritating to watch, for example, a person you know start dressing completely different and in a way that "matches" the person they are wanting to impress. It can be nearly nauseating to watch someone close to you "change" their belief system, lifestyle, desires for the future, etc. overnight, then change them again the next time a new relationship begins.
The prospect of living absolutely authentically, without the fear of the other person rejecting me, and completely free to be completely my self, is .... Well .... Exciting! And it makes me feel like I have a fresh page in front of me. Like I'm somehow starting over in a way. I know this is one of those "next steps " I'm being invited to take. And I'm going to take it.