If honesty is really the best policy then why is there so much deception? And if we feel disrespected when someone isn’t honest with us, then how can we justify those little white lies and carefully crafted exaggerations?
If we expect other people to have the courage to be honest with us, then wouldn’t anything but honesty from us be promoting a double standard? Maybe it’s time to take a closer look at honesty and see if it really is the best policy.
Being honest about honesty.
On the surface, the concept of honesty seems simple enough. All we have to do is tell the truth in every situation, right? Then why is it that otherwise truthful people will justify distorting the truth in certain situations? If being honest makes life simpler then why would anyone purposely complicate things by being even slightly dishonest?
There are numerous situations that will quickly test our resolve to be completely honest. The tendency seems to start when we are children and we want to avoid punishment. Fear gets the better of us and we say something in an effort to avoid the consequences of whatever it was that we did. If it works, then we just saw proof that lying is less painful and requires less courage than honesty.
What a tangled web we weave, when first
we practice to deceive! ~Sir Walter Scott
Since moving away from pain is the strongest human motivator, we quickly learn to fall back on dishonesty anytime we think it will spare us from painfulconsequences. For some, this tactic is reserved for only the stickiest of situations. For others, lying becomes their strategy of choice and as long as they don’t get caught they feel no guilt or remorse.
Common justifications for being dishonest.
Besides avoiding the consequences of our actions, there are a wide array of seemingly more noble reasons to avoid total honesty, such as…
– Trying to spare someone’s feelings or pride.
– Not wanting others to think badly of us.
– Afraid that someone might steal our recognition.
– Thinking that we are protecting someone.
– Protecting our ego by avoiding embarrassment.
– An effort to help others save face.
– Our image or reputation is on the line.
– We dislike someone but don’t want them to know.
At first glance, we might feel that these are all perfectly legitimate reasons to bend the truth. After all, isn’t it for the greater good? Well, buying into that kind of twisted reasoning is the same as saying that the end always justifies the means. In other words, it is okay to do something wrong as long as it gets you the results you want.
Why do you think it’s called justification?
Anytime we need to justify our actions, we already know we are doing something wrong. Making excuses may soothe our logical mind temporarily, but it doesn’t do anything for the internal conflict that is created. When we deliberately do something that violates our core ethics, it sets in motion a destructive emotional conflict. The end result will be the slow erosion of our core values or the manifestation of some self-sabotaging behavior. Either way, we lose!
Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom. ~Thomas Jefferson
Justifying dishonesty for any reason is the same as lying to ourselves. When someone lies to us we feel insulted because they didn’t respect us enough to be honest. Do you really want to disrespect yourself by doing the same thing? Of course not because all it does is aggravate the problem. The next question we need to ask is: What does it take to avoid the self-deceiving temptation to distort the truth in these seemingly justifiable situations?
Honesty requires courage and tact.
Being honest requires courage because it makes us vulnerable and accountable. To avoid stepping on the feelings of others with our honesty also requires tact. Clearly, being truly honest involves more than just telling the truth in every situation, but for people of integrity it is the only acceptable choice.
Integrity is telling myself the truth. And honesty is
telling the truth to other people. ~Spencer Johnson
When it comes to being honest in all areas there is probably no one alive who doesn’t have some room for improvement. Here are a few practical strategies to help you fine tune your efforts to develop the courage to be both honest and tactful.
5 ways to become even more honest and tactful
1. Set the record straight. Are there times when you have been less than honest in the past? Having the courage to review your past offenses may cause some discomfort, but recognizing where you have tweaked the truth in the past can help you identify patterns and stop them from continuing.
2. Practice honesty in the little things. There is a tendency to think that it’s okay to add a little harmless flare to the little things where nothing is at stake. The problem is, if we are dishonest in little things it will carry over into more meaningful areas. It is much better to develop honest habits in the areas that require less courage first so we can build up our integrity to face the more difficult challenges.
3. Honestly emphasize the positive. Just because we are being honest doesn’t mean that it’s our job to point out the faults and shortcomings of others. If we focus on the positive then our honest evaluation of people and situations can be both refreshing and encouraging.
4. Don’t confuse preferences with reality. It is easy to color our view of reality based on our personal likes and dislikes. To be honest with others we need to recognize that our personal preferences don’t change reality. They only change how we feel about certain things. Being honest doesn’t mean that we are obligated to express every feeling we have on every subject.
5. It’s okay to say nothing. If someone puts you on the spot and being forthright is not in anyone’s best interest, what can you do? Have the courage to tell them that you would rather not say. This can be difficult when they press you for an opinion. Still, you have the right to speak or remain silent. This is especially useful if someone is trying to pull you into a pointless argument or when someone’sfeelings are on the line.
Always choose the high road
Being honest may not always be the easiest or most convenient course and that’s why courage is required. But honesty is the course of integrity. Regardless of the prevalence of dishonesty, we all have the freedom to choose to live by a higher standard. People of integrity will always recognize and appreciate your honestyand courage.
To be persuasive we must be believable; to be believable we must
be credible; to be credible we must be truthful. ~Edward R. Murrow
There is a strong and healthy trend toward transparency and honesty. People are tired of the cloak of deception that serves the selfish interests of the few while dragging down the many. We can all do our part by setting a good example, and by having the courage to be truly honest with ourselves and with others.
Do you think honesty requires courage?
Is life without dishonesty possible?
The lines are open!
This article originally appeared on AdvancedLifeSkills.com
When it comes to manifesting our dreams and accomplishing our goals, there are three vital components that deserve our attention. Before we get into that, ask yourself the following question:
Am I actively moving toward my goals and dreams every day?
Everybody has dreams and most people have goals. If you want your goals and dreams to become reality, you must move toward them consistently and purposefully. By nature, we always begin with distance between where we are and where we want to be. Our job is to narrow that distance until it no longer exists. To accomplish that, we need to draw our goals and dreams closer to us, while simultaneously moving toward them.
Some people attempt to attract their goals without taking much action. Others choose to act on their goals, but without the added advantage of also drawing those goals to them. Action alone can bring positive results, but it is much faster to combine the two techniques.
For the sake of clarity, let’s differentiate between dreams and wishful thinking. In some conversations, the two might be interchangeable. Not so in this case. When I talk about dreams, I am really talking about highly desirable goals, future realities that we fully intend to realize. For our purposes, a dream is something that we are willing to work toward, and are determined to manifest, just like a goal.
What kind of dreams and goals do you have?
When you project your thoughts into the future, how do you see things? Do you see a variety of positive changes across the full spectrum of your life? Do you see yourself healthier, wealthier, and wiser? Are you willing to move toward that vision in order to realize it?
If so, then this is really a highly desirable goal, and that is exactly the kind of dreams we are talking about today.
3 ways to move toward the realization of your dreams
1) Total clarity. Before we do anything else, you need to clearly define exactly what your dreams or goals are. This is not the time to deal in generalities; you need to be very specific. One of the best ways for you to get really clear is to write down a detailed description of exactly what you want to accomplish.
Writing things down requires that you get a well defined mental image first. The very process of putting your thoughts into words creates clarity. This clarity will help you form a vivid mental image that you can carry around with you 24 hours a day. Most of the time your personal reference to your goals and dreams will be that mental image, but you will also be able to refer back to the written description to help you maintain clarity.
One of the most powerful things you can include when writing down your goals and dreams is how they make you feel. The feelings you attach to the things you intend to accomplish are your greatest source of motivation and energy. So, be sure to include your feelings in your written description. Think carefully about each aspect of this future reality. How does it make you feel? What emotional anchors resonate with each detail? Write them down.
As you read back through your written description, allow yourself to experience those feelings and get emotionally involved in the picture. When you conjure up this mental image of how your life is going to be, fully experience it on an emotional level. This is the true power of having clearly defined goals and dreams, and identifying your emotional attachments to them.
2) Take action. Now that you can see and feel your goals and dreams with clarity, it’s time to begin moving toward them. What steps do you need to take to move you closer to realizing these dreams? What sequence do those steps need to be in to produce your intended result? What action can you take each and every day to keep you moving in the right direction? Once again, writing these things down will produce clarity. It is much easier to take action when you know what actions need to be taken.
Reaching your goals means that you need to take the proper actions at the right time. There is a natural sequence that will produce your intended result. Following the right sequence allows events to unfold in a very productive way. Always take time to create an action plan. Not only will it keep you moving in the right direction, but it will also allow you to anticipate what comes next.
Of course, we can’t anticipate everything, and we need to be willing to make adjustments along the way. That’s the beauty of having an action plan, it allows us to be flexible without getting too far off course. So, even though we will need to make minor adjustments, a plan keeps us heading in th direction of your dreams until we reach them.
3) Attract your dreams to you. Now that you know exactly where you are going, how you feel about it, and how you are going to get there, what’s next? When we started out there was distance between you and the dreams and goals you are working toward. You have been actively closing that distance by moving toward your vision for the future. Now, it’s time to draw your dreams toward you.
How can you do that? It’s really just a matter of perspective. Up until now, you have been projecting yourself into this vision that exists in the future, but let’s reverse that. Instead of projecting yourself into a future reality, allow yourself to receive that reality in the present tense.
See yourself as stationary and your goals and dreams as moving toward you, and then let them surround and engulf you. Wrap yourself up in them like a giant blanket. Feel the joy of receiving that vision. Imagine how wonderful it feels to have the reality of that vision totally permeate your life right now. Feel your dreams realized in the here and now.
Here are a couple of examples:
*** If part of your dreams was a beautiful new home, don’t see it from the outside; see yourself in the middle of that beautiful dream house. See yourself living there, going about your daily activities, feeling completely at home and comfortable. See yourself as a full participant, not a spectator.
*** If you have been actively moving toward a new career, visualize yourself actually performing the duties of that career. Again, don’t see it from the outside as a spectator would. If your new career involves a desk, a computer, and a telephone, put yourself there. Look at the screen, answer the phone, lean back in that amazingly comfortable leather chair – participate!
Always harness the power of a 3 dimensional approach
By employing all three of these techniques, your dreams will become your realities much faster than you may have thought possible. Nothing in life is one-dimensional. The quicker you shorten the distance between where you are and where you want to be, the more empowered you become. This approach allows you to override the perceived limitations of time and space, and to more fully comprehend your own ability to manifest your dreams and goals.
What do you think about this approach?
Can you see yourself living your dreams?
The lines are open!
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