The Risks And Benefits Of Being Honest

I see myself as a person who values honesty. Still I find myself not being completely honest a big part of the time. I have been thinking about that a lot the last couple of days. What is it about honesty that is so complicated?

So many people in the world, probably most people in fact, lie and cheat their way through life to some degree. I can understand that sometimes we might have to tell a little lie in order to get what we want, but what about all the times when the truth is the thing that would give us what we want, and we are afraid to say it? What’s up with that? Shouldn’t the truth be the most easy thing to say? Truth doesn’t need any imagination, it doesn’t need any making things up, or good memory (so you don’t screw it up later), and it doesn’t need any hiding. Truth is just truth, right, it’s there within all of us, it should be easy to just admit it and say it out loud when needed, and still most of us don’t.

I am a terrible lair. Most people who knows me, knows that. I think it’s mostly because I always feel horrible about lying, even if it is meant as a joke. When ever I try to pull off a poker face, in order to go along with some prank, I end up giving it away. In my head I just can’t help but thinking about the negative feelings the subject of the prank might experience as a result of it, and then I just can’t go through with it. Oh, am I not pathetically empathetic sometimes. I kind of wish I was better at that. We all want to be good lairs, don’t we. So many possibilities for those who are good at keeping a face and playing a role.

On the other hand, there are also so many possibilities for those who are able to be honest. I talk about myself as an honest person, terrible at lying, but in fact I do lie quite a bit. Mostly to myself I think. You have to be pretty talented to keep the truth from yourself, right? Because who is supposed to know you better than you?

What I realized is, that most of the time when we say we never get what we want, it’s because we are never really honest about what it is we want. Not to ourselves, and not to the people around us. We want people to treat us in a certain way, but we expect them to figure that out on their own, to read our minds if necessary. Half of the time we don’t know what we want, but it’s okay to expect from the people around us that they will figure that shit out and then give it to us so we can be happy and satisfied. So here’s a thought. What if we first figure out for ourselves, and admit to ourselves what it is we want. And once we have that sorted out, maybe we try sharing that with others. Be like, in the name of honesty, this is what I really think and feel, and this is what I really want. If we do that, we make the life for people around us so much easier, because then they know, they don’t have to guess, and then it’s up to them to take a stand about what they want to do about it, if they want to do anything about it at all.

I think the biggest and hardest step is to be honest with yourself. Then the second hardest step is to put it in to words and communicate it to other people.

I do however find it very interesting that such a seemingly simple thing, is so hard. We have no problem making stuff up and convincing ourselves that it’s true. Also I, even though I keep saying I am a bad lair. Doesn’t it seem like making things up would need a bigger effort, than to just stick to the truth? Doesn’t it feel like the truth, logically, would be the easiest way, the way most easily accessed?

Probably it has to do with vulnerability and fear of being rejected. Once we put our true desires and wishes out there, the risk of getting hurt gets bigger, because if we are rejected, it’s our truth that is being rejected. However, if we make things up, and then only show that to the world around us, we are in no risk of being rejected, because the only thing that can ever be rejected that way is our lies, and they are not really us, so we are safe. So we win safety, but how much do we miss out on? How many chances do we allow to pass us by, how many opportunities do we throw away, how much love and happiness do we miss out on, just because fear of getting hurt or rejected is standing in our way? Maybe a little pain and rejection can be all worth it, for the things we have to gain, if we let truth and honesty guide our way.

honesty_in_salesWhen ever we are standing at that crossroad, trying to decide if to go with the truth or with the lie, maybe it’s worth asking ourselves first; what to I have to gain here? (And answer it truthfully)