Thursday, June 28, 2012

Honesty is the best policy, true or false?

So, I've been thinking hard about honesty; honesty in personal relationships, teaching honesty in the classroom, and how honesty turns into being a truly authentic person.  And not just honesty in general, but but how to be honest when it is hard. There are a lot of situations when it is easy to be honest. Most people would describe themselves as honest. But I think most people have a very loose interpretation of honesty.

I am glad that I have a reputation for being honest and sincere. I don't even like saying benign tripe just because society says we should. There are people that when I greet, I am happy to say hello, but I am not going to ask "how are you" because it is a dishonesty question. If I don't like the person, I really don't care how they are, so asking the question is dishonest. It is designed to show interest in the other person. If you don't like the other person, then the question is dishonest, because you aren't interested. See?

I'm also thinking about the different parts of honesty. For instance, being honest with oneself. Please see exhibit A. Buddy who is working to convince himself that if he can't see me, then I can't see him, and therefore I would not be dragged out of the car. I think a lot of people choose to lie to themselves sometimes because they don't want to face who they really are. I also think people lie to themselves because they aren't emotionally prepared or willing to face themselves. It's a shame because I think there is a lot more to be gained by being honest with oneself than by lying to oneself. I decided long ago that I wanted to authentic and true to myself. Part of that means facing who I am even when I'm not pleased with the image.

Of course, honesty is very tricky in the South. Poor Desi is trying desperately to not acknowledge Buddy. Everybody knows if you don't acknowledge the unpleasantness, then it must not exist. It is very difficult to deal with this southern trait. Because if people aren't willing to even acknowledge a problem or an emotion, then how can you possibly deal with the situation and move forward? This kind of dishonesty I loath. It is so frustrating.

There are times when honesty isn't wanted. I get that. My opinions about how someone dresses or does their work might not be appreciated. So, if it isn't requested, my opinion, though honest, isn't appropriate.

On the other hand, when someone doesn't dress appropriately for work, it is that person's bosses job to discuss "appropriate work wear."

Mean honesty isn't necessary either. I probably get in trouble with this one. Not because I am trying to be mean, but because I have a tendency to be blunt. Blunt is sometimes seen as mean. I don't want to be mean. This is an area that I hope to work to improve.

Revealing information that isn't one's to reveal isn't a good honesty either. In those instances, silence probably is the better part of valor, and the right choice to make.

Honesty when ending a relationship, sadly isn't helpful either. That's been a tough lesson to learn. Rather, simple honesty is better. But there is no good ending to a relationship. There is no explanation that makes it ok. And, whatever reason is given, there is absolutely no guarantee that it is the truth (there might be a guarantee that it isn't the whole truth if nothing else.) There is nothing to be gained from that honesty, there is just hurt.

I think that when being honest is the most uncomfortable is usually when it is the most important. 

When one of my editor's spoke to me at Christmas because she was upset and concerned about how the yearbook was progressing and things that were happening, I was really impressed with her. It took guts and inner strength to confront a teacher and say her piece. And, we were better for it afterwards. I don't think we would have ended the year on a good note if she hadn't done that. She was very honest, and she needed to be.

I want to be a better person, and I want to have the best relationships possible, and if honesty will help achieve my goals, that I want honesty. Knowing that someone has chosen to not be honest, either lying or just not speaking the truth, changes things. It takes away from the realness of the relationship. There is suddenly an ocean of space that is filled with what hasn't been said or the lies that were spoken.

I think honesty helps us to move forward, deal with problems and grow as individuals. I want to be kind and polite, but I want to be those things within the context of honesty.

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