How honest are you?
To be honest, means that we tell the truth. If we are really honest we tell the truth in everything. Have you ever been brutally honest with someone? How did that go? Was it well received? In our culture, most of us believe that “honesty is the best policy”. However we also think it’s ok to tell little white lies for fear of hurting someone’s feelings. Wait, isn’t that a contradiction, I can tell you the truth sometimes but when it comes to hurting your feelings I don’t really want to tell you the truth. How then, can we say we’re really honest when we make exceptions for honesty, again isn’t that a contradiction? I believe it is and I think this world is full of contradictions that everyone just accepts.
Aren’t we also told to “speak the truth in love” to one another. Does that mean making exceptions? I don’t think so. I want to be known as someone who is honest in my speech and that I don’t make exceptions for honesty. I am straight up honest with you. If we hold back in what we want to say to someone how does that benefit the person? I know that when I am talking with someone I sure hope they are being honest with me. I would hate to find out they had held back. Perhaps then it’s time to have a different conversation with that person and get honest.
Depending on the relationship you have with someone I think you need to carefully think through your delivery when speaking honestly with another person. Especially when you may have to have a difficult discussion with the other person. The method of delivery is probably the most important part. This is no easy task, especially when you feel passionate about something and need to discuss it. I believe that being a real man means you are aware of how you come across to others or how others perceive you.
So what about being honest with yourself. Most of us are our own worst critics. Do you really check yourself and your actions? Are you brutally honest with yourself? I am, I find myself evaluating my thoughts and actions all the time. I am incredibly hard on myself and probably harder than I should be. However, because I have lived a majority of my life not being honest, I feel like this is what I need to do, so I don’t go back to my old ways. I find myself saying things like – man you’re an idiot, why did you say that, what were you thinking, couldn’t you have done that better, are you ever going to change, is this really the best you have to give.
When it comes to my kids I have chosen not to perpetuate things that I believe are lies. The Easter Bunny, Santa Claus and if my wife hadn’t done it first I wouldn’t have perpetuated the myth of the tooth fairy. Now you can disagree with me on this, that’s fine. I have no problems with it. My philosophy on this is that I want to always be truthful with my kids in all areas. I don’t want my kids ever coming to me and saying, you said this was true and now I found out it’s not. What else haven’t you been honest about with me? I want my kids to know that my word is my word and they never have reason to doubt anything I say.
I think it’s absolutely ridiculous for people to throw out classic questions like “Do these pants make my butt look big?” No your butt is big and you aren’t going to be able to do anything about that. Come on this is an unfair question and probably the reason little white lies got started. Don’t ask me questions like this is you don’t want my honest opinion and I believe you already know the answer to that question. You don’t really need me to affirm that for you, do you?
I believe that as a mature man you need to recognize what buttons you have that get pushed and what’s going to be your response when those get pushed. Am I going to be able to have a conversation with the person who has pushed my buttons with honesty or am I going to let it pass or just make some off-handed comment. I believe approaching them and sharing how you honestly feel and allowing them to respond is a great way to do this. This allows you both to engage in a real open and honest dialogue and it doesn’t happen easily, it takes continual practice to do it well. I don’t feel like at any time we, as men should step away from being honest. I believe we are responsible for every word that comes out of our mouths and that our words can build up or destroy others. As a mature man I want people who know me, believe beyond a shadow of a doubt I am honest in all that I say and do.
For myself as someone who wasn’t very honest and spent many years telling lies, I gotta say it gets tiresome and I often felt someday these lies are going to catch up with me and then what am I going to do. I guess I will just tell more lies to cover up all the other lies I told. At some point someone is going to find out and I know I am going to be screwed but I will figure it out then. Once you start speaking lies, you have to cover up more and more and it is a tiring process. Once people find out the truth about you and realize how many lies you have told, they aren’t always so forgiving. I have a friend whose life was destroyed by this and he’s sitting in prison. It’s hard knowing him and having done a lot with him to sort out what were lies and what was the truth and not question him to this day. Being honest means living a life of freedom. As a real man I don’t want to be a slave to all the lies. I want the truth to always come out of my mouth.
I have challenged myself to be really honest with people. I find it’s so easy when someone says, “How’s it going?” to just give a quick response “Fine” or “great”. That’s been my go to answer for far to long and frankly I am tired of it. Maybe it’s just me, but when I ask that question of folks I really want to know how they are doing. Are things in their life going well or are they falling apart? I genuinely ask that question because I care and I want to know. It’s time to stop and just be honest. If I had a bad day, just admit it. If I am struggling with something and it’s got me, be honest about it. If I am excited and happy share it. On the other hand, don’t ask the question if you don’t really want to hear my honest answer. A simple hi or hello will be fine. That’s real honesty.
So how would you rate yourself on this?