Don’t worry. That picture of me is not staring at you judgingly. I used it in a previous blog post. This is a picture of me at one of my most vulnerable moments. I thought it would be fitting to the topic I’m about to discuss. Honesty.
Why do we go through the hassle of being untruthful towards each other? Sometimes I feel as if honesty has become disvalued in modern society and that hurts. Some of us, and even me sometimes, are thinking, “Sometimes it’s just more comfortable to tell/receive a little white lie than the painful truth”. I can humour that. Of course we don’t want to hurt others, but sometimes we just have to take into account that another persons experience of the truth is not our responsibility. In the long run, being honest with each other will help both parties mature.
Think about it for a moment. Say that we have a musician up on stage and the performance is terrible. Your honest opinion is that his showmanship and musicianship could use more work. It feels a bit half assed. Now say that the musician walks up to you after the show and asks for your honest opinion. He seems like a nice enough person, but fragile. After all, a musicians work is something he holds close to him right? The answer is more often than not a yes. We can’t possibly discourage him from continuing to enjoy his craft so we lie. We tell him that we thought the gig was amazing and he’s a great performer even though we really didn’t think so. The musician continues to perform poorly until someone finally walks up to him and tells him the truth. When he hears the truth he’s broken for a while. Unfortunately, there’s nothing that the truth bearer can do about that. The way that one takes the truth is not the responsibility of whom tells it. It’s our choice if we take the truth personally. It never is though. Fast forward a year or two later. The musician has worked hard on his performance and is now more than capable of blowing an audience’s mind. Why? He finally heard the truth which lead to growth as a musician. The truth offers you two things. Denial or an incentive to move forward. We know that if we’re not moving forward, then we’re either jogging in place or moving backwards.
Now what about more personal issues? The only thing that changes is the information being relayed. That and the situation the truth bearer can put himself in. I completely understand that sometimes people can become violent due to hearing the truth, and I’m not encouraging people to put themselves in danger. Before we decide to tell someone a harsh truth we need to take into account what situation we will be putting ourselves into. In those cases its better to not put ourselves in danger and say nothing rather than to lie.
We need to choose our words wisely though. A harsh truth is one thing, but turning it into something venomous defeats the point of everything gained by hearing the truth. Some people are blunt, but that does not mean we should go around waving our honesty bat, beating everyone up and any given chance. Some of us might think, “Well, it’s not my problem how said person reacts to the truth, it’s theirs”. This is true. When the person decides to attack us orally or even physically then it becomes our problem. We should not be using honesty to inflict pain on others.
Instead, we can think of honesty as giving someone a gift. We want to give people gifts that are well thought out. Designed specifically for them. When we give a gift without having put any thought into it, the receiver thanks you for it, but usually disregards the gift. Sometimes they even throw it away. Giving a well thought out gift, however, calls forth gratitude in the mind of receiver. They are thankful for the gift we put effort in choosing just for them. Often, people will carry these gifts with them for a long period of time- if not for their whole life.
Here’s the thing though. The most important person to be honest with is yourself. We can all give ourselves a beautiful and well thought out gift. We need to practice being honest with ourselves. If you’re not okay then own it. Accept that it’s okay to not feel okay because if we lie to ourselves about our well being- we will never be able to move past those feelings of not being okay. The most common lie anyone tells is when they’re asked, “How are you?”. We always answer, “i’m fine thanks!”. Even when our lives seem to be spinning out of control. Try answering this question honestly from now on. From my own personal experience I can say that it’s helped me achieve more happiness than anything else. Do not lie to yourself or about yourself. Just like when we told our musician friend the truth and he moved forward and matured. When we are completely honest to ourselves then we start to mature. We become a better version of ourselves and that means we are better equipped to spreading joy and positivity to those around us. We’re not saints and we will slip up. We’re all human, and that’s okay. Honestly.