Today I am reminded of what it feels like to be honest, or rather, to be on the receiving end of dishonest behavior. Why is it that people have a hard time being honest? What keeps people from being honest with themselves and others?
I had an experience yesterday that bummed me out. Frankly, it had to do with another person’s dishonesty. As I took some time to think it all through and learn from this experience, I began to call to mind one of Michael Josephson’s “Character Counts” radio programs I used to listen to during my dark-in-the-morning commutes (well, it didn’t really matter what I was doing, I always had time for Character Counts!) While his messages on the program tended to focus on the character building of youth, they were just as applicable for adults … if not more so. They provided reinforcement of timeless truths of a life of moral character through inspiring, captivating stories. You can read more into his work here.
As I went back and reflected on my own truths and those spoken in those radio programs, I began to do a little research on the topic of honesty. Spurred by my curiosity of wanting to understand people better, here is what I found.
What it takes to be honest and what it means if you’re not:
Honesty sometimes requires risk. Honesty sometimes means you have to put your ego in check. Revealing yourself and making yourself vulnerable can be challenging and can come at the most inopportune times. Honesty takes personal growth and the more honest we are the more we grow for ourselves and in our relationships.
Maybe you made a promise and suddenly find you can’t keep it. When do you come forward? What happens the longer you wait? It can really become a burden and a reality that if left without taking quick action creates an even bigger problem for you. It weighs heavy on your mind, starts to distract you from your work, your relationships, your short or even long term goals. Some people can even find you out before you have a chance to be honest, and that leaves you with other challenges like the question of your integrity, or your trustworthiness. And can I be honest? Dishonesty downright hurts!
I could go on, but I think you get the picture. Growth in life, relationships, work and your community takes honesty. Among other things, an honest look at who you are, where you are, where you want to go, and how you are going to get there. Sometimes honesty takes forethought for how you want to share a message – I put that under the heading of emotional intelligence – and honesty can take assertiveness with yourself and others. Honesty can be scary, but more often, honesty feels good. It can really lighten your load and take pounds off of you in a second.
I am following my own advice today to see where I can be more honest. What is sitting on your plate that requires honest communication? Resolve to take care of that one thing today and see how you feel. Check in with yourself tomorrow and take another step toward your personal growth.
Enjoy the journey, it’s worth it!!
PS: If you want more inspiration here is an excerpt pulled from the Michael Josephson Institute Center for Youth Ethics:
Be honest. Don’t deceive, cheat, or steal . Be reliable, do what you say you’ll do. Have the courage to do the right thing. Build a good reputation. Be loyal — stand by your family, friends, and country.