- Others Know Where you Stand and Where They Stand with You; Credibility: Being honest in every situation helps you build credibility. When you have a solid reputation, people feel more at ease with being around you and receptive to what you say.
- Never Have to Look Back, There is Freedom in Truth: When you tell the truth, you never have to retrace your steps and wonder, “Did I really say that?!” If it isn’t the truth, you didn’t say it — easy enough! There is real freedom in being able to live without having to keep track of various storylines.
- Simplicity is Bliss: Being honest is about as simple as it gets. There isn’t any, “What should I say?” or “What story should I tell?” If you don’t want to talk about something or do something, you can just be honest! It’s that simple. No guessing games, no creativity needed; just raw honesty. And, always remember, “No” is a complete sentence.
- Confidence: Being honest helps to build confidence; you gradually end up realizing that people love you and are in your life because of who you are. And if anyone in your life falls away, you’ll be able to let them go with ease, knowing you’re truly in touch with yourself and surrounded by those who are, too.
- Honesty is Altruistic: People who choose to encourage and build up those around them are usually honest people. After all, you can’t really trust someone who isn’t honest with you, so how would you value such a person’s advice or encouragement? You are only doing people a disservice if you are not honest with them. Those that authentically care about others help them by being real with them, and allowing them to uplift their own lives through honesty as well. Lead and inspire others by example!
- Don’t Over Share; Great Truth Comes with Great Responsibility: When we talk about being honest, it is important to keep in mind that there are times when you can be honest without saying everything. I’m not referring to telling only half the truth, which is basically the same as lying. What I’m talking about here is telling the truth in such a way that it does not abuse the person on the receiving end. For example, let’s say you are shopping with a friend and she tries on a dress that is not entirely flattering to her figure. She asks you if you like it. You don’t say, “No way, you look like a cow!” What you might say is, “You know, I liked the first two that you tried on better. I think we can find some others that flatter your figure really well, too.” Both statements are true (in your perception, anyway), however one didn’t make your friend feel awful.
- Don’t Persecute Yourself: For those of you with an over-active guilty conscience, consider whether you should be sharing every misstep you feel you’ve made. Throwing yourself under the bus for some people is a way to “earn” forgiveness from those who ultimately weren’t involved and don’t need to know. Someone you just met doesn’t need to know about things you regret doing from 10 years back! Clear out that mental junk by forgiving yourself and just let it go. Wait until there is an appropriate time when your story may actually be useful — ie: when you are asked for advice from someone who made a mistake and you had made a similar one and learned from it. Wisdom is born from our painful experiences, but only if we let go of the pain first.
- What Motivates Your Honesty? / Honesty as a Tool: Sometimes people have a tendency to “be honest” and share information that ultimately didn’t need to be said and was only said out of anger or bitterness. Before you say something, consider why you are saying it. For example, let’s say your partner just came home and has obviously had a rough day. She/he isn’t in a great mood, doesn’t acknowledge the dinner you made, the new haircut you got, nor asks how your day was. The honest truth is that you really don’t like being on the receiving end of their steam… but why say it? Would this bout of honesty benefit you or your partner? I’m not implying you let people walk all over you, rather I am saying that honesty can be used as a tool. For example, why not spin the honest spirit into releasing tension instead of building it with, “Did you have a bad day? I’ll get out of your hair and let you breathe, let me know if you need to talk.” Then go do something that actually makes you feel good (bubble bath and a good book, anyone?). If you aren’t saying it out of love, don’t say it!
Guest writer/editor, Kelly, KellySays.com
Image credit, winnond, FreeDigitalPhotos.Net