Monday, January 25, 2010

Honesty is Not Just the Best Policy, It's the Only Policy That Matters

“You can bend it and twist it... You can misuse and abuse it... But even God cannot change the Truth.” ~Michael Levy

“I love you, and because I love you, I would sooner have you hate me for telling you the truth than adore me for telling you lies.”

There are a lot of bullshitters in this world. That's for sure. I'm not one of them. Even in the real world, my non-anonymous state, I am probably one of the most honest people you will ever meet.

People say it's unwise to be so honest. I say that they are wrong. If anything, my life has been richer because of the honesty I give to others. And you know what? When I'm honest, that gesture usually gets reciprocated by others.

Friends have told me how much they appreciate me telling them the truth when no one else had the cohones to do so. Now granted, I'm not talking about being completely tactless or cruel in the delivery of the truth, or giving it when it's unsolicited. (I tend not to butt my nose into situations, but am there for my friends should they ask me for advice or simply need a shoulder to cry on or a supportive ear.) There is a way to be honest without being tactless or hurtful. I prefer that route.

Several people have told me how "refreshingly honest" I am. I hear that a lot from people in general. While I was sincerely touched by these expressions, I also find it troubling that this is considered to be such a novelty in the first place. Frankly, it's a sad commentary on how a lot of people choose to live their lives -- i.e., in a state of perpetual dishonesty. I don't know how they do it. Maybe these people don't realize how important it is -- to their own & others' well-being -- to be honest with themselves & the people who matter to them. Dishonesty is like acid; it corrodes everything it touches, & eventually will sap the life from people & crush their souls & psyches. Lying to oneself & others has a very high cost; it takes a mental & physical toll, as the concealment of truth requires way more way effort & energy than simply being forthright & honest.

Conversely, when a person is honest, they exude a certain fearlessness, & as cheesy as this probably sounds, "an inner glow." Of course, this is often not without hardship or struggle. The truth isn't often accepted by others. Justice, doing what's right. It's not always meant to be easy, but it can be felt so deeply. It can power us through the darkest days & nights. If we shine with passion & purpose, no one can stop us. Even if takes a while to get there. (As Confucius wisely wrote: "It does not matter how slow you go so long as you do not stop." Currently a favorite quote of mine.)

Honesty takes courage & conviction, & is character-building. It makes the statement, "I have the balls not to care what others think because what I've got to say is more important than other people's approval; this is what's right, so I've got to declare it."

[Please note that the above statement is NOT the same thing as what I like to call "TMI disease." :) No holds-barred personal self-disclosure about minor details of one's life is not the same thing as declaring the essential truths that matter.]

I believe so strongly in the principles of honesty, that I would rather be quiet than be dishonest.

We have much to learn from little children: Children are born into this natural state of telling the truth; it's time we all return to that state. "The truth will set you free."

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