The Concept of Honesty
“Honey, does this dress make me look fat? ‘ “Ew, yes honey. It looks like you got a bit too much junk in the trunk for it to flt right. ” “Did you have to be so mean about? ” “Well, you asked me a ques-” “l asked you as my husband to give me an honest answer, not be a Jerk! ” “But that’s what I was do-” “Forget It, we’re not going out tonight. Im not In a good mood anymore.. ” Harsh, is it not? One simple answer toa question can cause a mountain of problems unforeseen. And yet, In this case, the wife was looking for an honest answer; she said it herself!
Why get so upset over it then? Why lash out just because it was not what she had wanted to hear? It does not make any sense, and yet this, and many other situations Ilke it, happens all the time. We ask for honesty, we crave It – until It clashes with what we believe in, that is. I am very familiar with this situation as it happens almost weekly at my house. Whenever my mom is getting ready for a party or get-together, whatever It may be, she will undoubtedly ask my father for his opinion.
And he gives it to her – one hundred percent honest one hundred percent of the time. Sometimes she will take his opinion and Just go with it, other times she gets upset and she argues with him, a lot. I often ask him why he does not Just Ile to appease her, make her happy so that he no longer has to hear her yell at him. His answer is always the same: “That wouldnt be very honest of me, would it? ” “l guess it wouldn’t, but at least you’d be out of the doghouse, right? ” “Until she finds out that I lied to her in the first place.
All lies come back to you in one way or the other, I can promise you that. And that lie, that betrayal, hurts much more than me simply telling er she looks fat In that dress. Which she does. If you haven’t noticed. ” His answer always gets me thinking about the consequences of telling the truth versus the benefits of lying (and, occasionally, how in the heck he had managed to charm my mother In the first place). If he lied to her right then In that moment, she would be happy, ecstatic even.
She would feel beautiful and loved – how could that be a bad thing? Especially when every time he tells the truth, her self-esteem and confidence take a little hlt_ She feels on top of the world only for him to shoot her down and uickly bring her back to reality. But then I realize, she would probably take an even greater hit if she found out he had lied Just to make her feel good. She would start doubting everything he said, even the very basic idea that he was indeed attracted to her.
That one little white lie would niggle at her brain until it encompassed every part of their relationship and quite possibly lead it to ruins. Yes, the truth hurts – buta lie can kill. Honesty Is defined as: a, fairness and straightforwardness of conduct and b, adherence to the facts (from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary). Spencer Johnson, well- nown writer of ValueTales, states, “Integrity is telling myself the truth, and honesty is telling the truth to other people. Another definition of honesty (geared towards children) is being sincere, truthful, trustworthy, honorable, fair, genuine, and loyal with integrity.
They are all slightly dfferent definitions, and yet have the same basic society, something to be valued. In psychology terms, “It is an important element in interpersonal relationships, particularly intimate relationships, and the social perception of dishonesty can seriously undermine Judgements of likability and social ttraction, leading to distrust. This is exemplified in my own musings of what could happen if my father decided to lie to my mother. As humans, most of us can all accept and relate to the concept of honesty, and yet putting it into context or action is very difficult. As stated by Alan J Butler in an article (Honesty is the Best Policy), “Honesty may be a simple policy but it is not easy!
There are positive and negative effects to being honest. It is often the negative effects of being honest that prevent us from stepping out in this noble quest. ” You’re probably thinking, “Duh, could you be ny more obvious? I completely understand that this is common knowledge; however, the thought of the consequences of honesty is what continuously drives us to lie and we often do not see that the long-term consequences of lying far outweighs the short-term benefits. For some, accepting honesty can be Just as hard. Whether it is having to hear that the person you love hates an outfit you would Just die without, hearing that someone cheated on you or was using you, or even Just knowing that a person you are supposed to trust has other nefarious schemes of their own.
This rings up the question of how to tell the truth in such a way that it does not hurt, or even how to avoid the truth altogether. The term brutal honesty, the truth delivered in such a way it is meant to hurt the one receiving it, comes into play here. It is one of the biggest reason people like to reject honesty and to reject the truth – simply because it is not said nicely enough. Then there are those who sugarcoat the truth to such an extreme it is Just not the truth anymore. Finding a balance within the two is the only way to build a bridge between easy truth-telling and easy truth-receiving.