If honesty isn’t one of your core values: this blog post is not meant for you.
This post is for you people who value honesty and struggle to stand firm with honesty when there's so much fake around.
When you have to deal a lot with this trendy tendency of fake, false projections, make-believe games, and manipulation based on untruths: it's natural that at some point you question the value of honesty.
Those who occasionally question honesty's worth askingthemselves: if it wouldn‘t be easier not to value it so much? If it wouldn’t make more sense to go with the flow and play the game of fake?
This blog post is for those who value but are questioning: honesty.
1. Honesty: What Is It?
According to Google:
Honesty is a facet of moral character that connotes positive and virtuous attributes such as integrity, truthfulness, straightforwardness, including straightforwardness of conduct, along with the absence of lying, cheating, theft, etc. Honesty also involves being trustworthy, loyal, fair, and sincere.
Kind of strict, right?
I would say that honest these days, even sounds démodé.
Let’s be honest here: fake has turned out to be trendy. In the "game", we have to find what is and what is not true.
Fake news, fake profiles, fake nails, fake social images, fake smiles, fake happiness.
2. Personal Scenario. And How Important Is Honesty For You.
A few months ago, I was working on my self-development: a kind of self-coaching. At some point, the book invited me to make a 10 items list of my values. Among the first ones was
“Love”, “Respect”, “Mutual Communication” and the list went on. I‘m not going into details, because that is no purpose. Honesty was there: just not the first half.
How wrong I was.
Just a parenthesis: identifying the values that are behind any settled goal of yours is an interesting exercise. Worth making. Helps you get to know yourself a little deeper. Let’s return a little.
When did I realize that honesty not only was one of my values: it was one of the most important? Starting to observe me.
I had a harsh discussion with a person that used to be in the house. And that person was blatantly lying in my face. We’re not talking here about different perspectives. No. Basic lie. In my face. Knowing she was lying just to look good to whoever was witnessing the discussion.
And the lie felt like a spit on my face. I know: the metaphor is unpleasant and inelegant. But that’s what it felt like. I felt outraged.
Then I observed previous situations in the past: I felt the same outrage back in other situations where lying. That’s how I learned that Honesty was actually of the top five of my values.
Honesty was more important to me than I’ve realized before.
And the hardest lies to dismantle are those we might tell ourselves, to justify some decision we make.
Everyone lies. A little or a lot. Here are the main reasons:
- To look or feel better.
- To protect others.
- To themselves when the truth is too hard to accept or it would question a lot of decisions based on a lie-premise: they just don’t want to be wrong.
- To intentionally harm or deceive others.
- To omit: the omitters don’t tell the whole truth.
If honesty is one of your core values is important to really know HOW IMPORTANT is it.
So, on moments of decision making – and we’re making them in every moment, big or small decisions:
- make sure that you know if honesty is, or not a core value of yours;
- realize consciously if it is, or not, important to you.
Otherwise, you’re going to easily disrespect yourself, without even realizing it.
Deeply, when you make a decision that is conflicting with honesty (supposing it's one of your core values): you end up with a major internal conflict of interest.
And inner conflicts lead to dysfunctional being: even if you look good from an outside perspective, you’ll feel like a fraud, unworthy.
Might be the beginning of a long self-destructive path, self-sabotage. It just might.
Then, emotional unbalance or even mental disorder, might appear. Temporary or not. Depends on how well you resolve the inner conflict.
So it’s important to ask yourself: how important is honesty to you?
3. Benefits Of Honesty To Your Health
People who lie a lot started with white lies, small lies. Just because they don’t want to be unpleasant or deal with the disapproval of a person or a group.
But one lie follows another to justify the precedent lie… and what justifies a small lie, justifies an even bigger lie.
It can become easily addictive, that game of lying.
Sustaining lies demands a lot of maintenance:
- You have to remember all you say, and if it is contradictory, the lie comes on the open – there goes you’re approval (if you’re such people pleaser person)
Everyone knows that the best lies, the more credible ones, are the ones that contain a little of truth in the middle, surrounded by a bunch of lies. But it demands maintenance.
It can get stressful.
What are the gains of honesty to your health?
- More authenticity
First of all, being honest starts with being it to yourself.
Being honest to yourself is one of the basic traits of authenticity. It’s very fulfilling to know that you are loved for what you really are and not so much for what you appear to be. If you’re “loved” by who you appear to be, the avatar may even be convincing for some time, but at the end of the day: is you with you. And if you’re not authentic, that “love “ isn’t either.
But don’t get me wrong here: being authentic doesn’t mean you have to be completely transparent and say or show every tiny little thought or feeling out in the open: that’s not realistic in a social or work environment.
- Less stress and/or anxiety
By now we all know that stress literally creates disease: from hair loss to cancer.
When you’re honest you’re not stressed with being caught in the act of lying). Or what people would think of you if they find out that you’re lying. You don’t have to be always acting or wondering if you were convincing enough, worried if you were congruent.
You’re just you.
- Less harmful cognitive dissonance
Cognitive dissonance happens when two thoughts, attitudes, beliefs, don’t align with your behaviors: they are so out of harmony that they make you feel psychologically uncomfortable.
Example: Doing things because of social pressure or a fear of missing out (FOMO), even if it wasn't something you wanted to do.
4. Benefits Of Honesty In Work Environment
In a working environment, honesty builds trust.
What employer or boss is going to trust a collaborator that shows weak honesty or lack of ethics?
On the other hand which employee is going to give it all to a corporation/employer which word that has no value?
Very unlikely to committed working relationship environments with lack of trust. And if there’s no trusting commitment from both sides: it will compromise clients' trust. And without clients: there is no business.
If you want to have solid leadership, where your subordinates support you: honesty and ethics are of most importance.
If the trust was earned, your subordinates will have your back, whenever it’s needed because they trust you.
We understand that in a fast-moving world, where decisions have to be made fast, as well as results, jumping steps and surpass ethics and honesty, might be tempting.
But in the long run, a reasonable commitment, (and not too strict in a way that stops you from being effective as a leader) between these 3 spheres...
… might be a challenge and also a rewarding effective leadership:
5. Benefits Of Honesty In Personal Relationships
You do want to have real relationships, right?
Then honesty is imperative.
Is not like you’re going to be brutally honest, the offensive kind. No. There are many ways to say truths (as there are to tell lies).
But if you want to build a real relationship, what you say must have value. How you express yourself must mean something coherent. And it has, and it’s meaningful when is reliable and there’s trust. And trust can only breathe on honesty.
Besides, when you lie, even if no one knows: you know. You’ll feel the weight of conscious or unconscious shame and guilt. Next thing you know you’re going to project that shame and guilt to your relative, friend, partner, better-half… whatever.
Then suspicions rise from the shades of your guilt… And nothing good comes from guilt: it rots you inside.
When dealing with guilt the worst thing to do is to sweep under the rug.
The way I see it when dealing with shame and /or guilt?
- Redeem yourself, if possible
- Forgive yourself
- Learn from what you did and make sure it won’t happen again.
Quite simple, han?
Honesty is the healthiest. For you. For your relations.