Being Honest All the TimeOct 26, 2022
Honesty is the best policy, they say. And for the most part, this is true. There are a lot of benefits to being honest, from developing trust with others to experiencing less stress and anxiety. But there are times when honesty isn't always the best option. Sometimes, telling a white lie or keeping quiet altogether can be better. So when should you be honest, and when should you hold back?
The benefits of being honest
Honesty is a desirable virtue. Telling the truth most of the time can prove to be beneficial. It is an indicator of good character, and your relationships with people will generally improve. Some of the various benefits of being honest are the following.
- Honesty is the foundation of good character. People generally look up to someone honest because they feel more comfortable interacting with such a person and relying on them for things like keeping secrets or entrusting them to do critical work. A person who practices honesty can build a good reputation, allowing them to be friends with people more easily and open more opportunities.
- Life can get less stressful when you are truthful about what you say. However, fabricating lies requires an elaborate and conscious effort to be consistent with your details so that when concerned people ask you about something, you can consistently tell the exact facts you made up. And then, there is a risk of you slipping up over time, especially if you don't remember well the lie you mentioned before. If you tell the truth, you don't have to worry about such things anymore, and you can be consistent and maintain your integrity.
- Your relationships with people will generally improve if you are honest with them. Most people will feel uncomfortable dealing and interacting with a chronic liar because they never know when the person is telling the truth or not. As such, people will keep their guard up and possibly won't open up to somebody who often lies.
- Your conscience becomes apparent when you tell the truth. Lingering heavy feelings will stay in your mind if you keep lying to people, especially those close to you. People will have various reactions when you tell the truth, and while it may be painful sometimes, it's more hurtful for a person to be told a lie for a long time only to discover the truth later. Better to say an unpleasant truth to others than have them believe a lie.
When not to be honest
While it is ideal, to be honest, all the time, there may be a few times in our lives when we have to tell white lies. A white lie is still a lie; however, it intends to protect or avoid hurting another person, maybe because the concerned person or people are not yet ready to hear the truth or their lives might be in danger if somebody else knows the truth. Lies are generally considered immoral, and white is a color that is associated with kindness or purity. Therefore, a white lie can be understood as a good lie. It is something born out of necessity during tight circumstances, and one may choose to tell a little white lie if it proves more beneficial for the people concerned.
Telling a white lie can still be challenging for someone who is generally honest. One way of keeping the truth while not telling a lie is to be silent. People can get agitated when they know the truth about something. If you know people who react in such a way and have to know the truth but think they are not yet ready to hear it, you can keep your silence about some matter for a while, especially if no one is pressing you to tell them. Wait for the perfect time, to tell the truth, such as when the person is more emotionally stable or you have backup and support in case things become chaotic when the truth gets told. The same thing also applies when you are telling a white lie. When the right time comes, you can apologize and tell the truth to the people concerned, and the reason you told them a white lie is for their protection and benefit.
Generally, it is still better to practice honesty in our everyday lives.
Our society is rife with lies and deception. It can be challenging to know what's the truth from what is not, especially nowadays when disinformation can get prevalent. People may also not act according to who they are in front of others. So it is understandable why honesty can be such a virtue when not everyone generally practices it in their lives.
While it is ideal to be honest always, there will be times when we may have to tell a lie instead. Telling the truth can bring discomforting feelings, such as anger, sadness, or shame, especially if you have to say a wrongful act that can affect your self-esteem and confidence. Many people may resort to lies to protect one's ego and reputation instead of telling the truth. And that is why being honest can be considered a courageous act because you risk your worth and character for the sake of telling the truth. Some people may not take you kindly for telling the truth, but if you are a person of integrity and virtue, you will say the fact most of the time anyway. A generally honest person believes it is correct, to tell the truth, most of the time, and makes their conscience clear and guilt-free.