Many people consider honesty to be somewhat flexible according to the circumstances. Others look at honesty as an inconvenience, an impediment to getting things done. How firmly do you embrace it? In which areas of your life do you feel honesty strays the most?
Children have very fertile imaginations and quickly learn that shifting the blame or denying any knowledge of an incident can often get them out of trouble. With proper guidance, many are taught the importance of honesty while others learn that, with practice, you can get away with an awful lot in life.
It was through this second method that I faced the world. When I was a boy I sometimes brought a garter snake to school in my pocket. From my seat at the back I would release it and give it a nudge forward. It was all I could do to contain myself as I awaited a girl to spot it and start screaming. The spotlight of suspicion was directed towards several boys but never on me. I was the quiet one who always did well in school, I was the model of politeness, of good behaviour, and honesty (or so they thought).
Outsmarting others became a game I played that empowered me. I learned to fake sincerity and to never show any emotion that would let people know what I was thinking. I got away with many things in my life, or at least I thought so. I was smug, self-centered, and indifferent to the feelings of others. My lack of honesty gave me a twisted feeling of superiority. Without realizing it, this little game kept making life more difficult to manage and set me adrift from others – adrift in a sad and lonely world.
To rebuild my life and start over again, I came face to face with honesty. There was no getting around it.
Honesty was required at every turn – at this personal level, in my dealings with others and in coming to grips with a power greater than myself. I learned that when I tore down the tight, defensive shield that I had built to keep out the pain of living, the world was there to greet me – a great big, beautiful world full of promise.
As Lao Tzu stated, When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.
Along with honesty, I have learned respect, honesty, forgiveness, gratitude, responsibility and how to live in the present moment. I also learned they are all aspects of love. Amongst the skills I had acquired during my first thirty years, few had anything to do with how to love or how to live a decent, productive life. This life transformation also brought my self-esteem up from the depths it had known, taught me communication skills which gave me a voice and a purpose, and wrapped it all up with a bright, shiny ribbon of happiness.
Truthfulness transformed me. Being truthful with yourself is integrity; being truthful with others is honesty. How do you embrace the truth about your life? Go and have a really good look in the mirror and then give yourself a smile. It is never too late to start your life over again.
“We tell lies when we are afraid….afraid of what we don’t know, afraid of what others will think, afraid of what will be found out about us. But every time we tell a lie, the thing that we fear grows stronger.” ~ Tad Williams