Honesty is something I struggle with and have for a long time, both with myself and others. Politeness was so ingrained in me as a child that I fear I have taken it to an extreme. In an effort to avoid displeasing anyone, I often find it easier to lie or withhold my opinion rather than speak difficult truths. My aversion to conflict is so strong in fact, that it often keeps me from speaking my mind or causes me to cave in to the will of others. Needless to say, this had led to many problems in my life. Certainly, I always feel terrible for it.
On the topic of honesty, Anne Wilson Schaef writes:
“Honesty is contagious, just like dishonesty is contagious. We need more honesty in the world. Many of us have prided ourselves on being honest. We have always tried to be honest and have believed that we were. It has been frightening when we have been told that we are ‘too honest,’ or when we have been told that we will not be able to get ahead if we insist on being so ‘brutally honest.’ Slowly we have learned to ‘compromise.’ We have learned to say what is expected of us and not to offend. We have lost touch with the awareness that we are being dishonest when we go ahead and agree to do something that we really do not feel right about doing. We have come not to expect honesty from ourselves or from those around us. We are even surprised when we encounter it.
If we want to heal, we have to start getting honest with ourselves and others.”
Honesty, like charity, starts at home. We have to be honest with ourselves before we can be honest with others. We must admit our feelings, thoughts, opinions and desires to ourselves in order to obtain the life we deserve. If you aren’t honest with yourself, how could you possibly be honest with anyone else? Denial of our truths comes from a place of fear. We fear being hurt. Similarly, a fear of rejection keeps us from being honest with others. Yet it is better to be rejected for who we truly are then to be accepted as someone we are not. When we allow ourselves to be honest about who we are (or are not) we feel far better for it.