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What Is Honesty?

Guilty boy looking at broken window

We human beings are very clever! From a very young age we quickly learn that telling lies and exaggerating can not only prevent us from being punished for something that we should not have done but telling lies can also help us to get some of things that we want. So what difference does it make if we tell a lie from time to time? The odd ‘fib’ once or twice a day …. a little exaggeration now and again …. blaming others occasionally …. can’t do any harm surely? One big problem with being dishonest and exaggerating is that it is a very easy habit to start and continue but a very very difficult habit to stop; and as we get older the consequences of being dishonest increase significantly.

There are many reasons that we might tell a lie, exaggerate or make excuses. Here are a few for you to think about:

  • avoiding punishment,
  • avoiding embarrassment,
  • avoiding conflict,
  • avoiding doing something that we do not want to do,
  • to get our own way or to get what what we want,
  • to be accepted or liked,
  • to make ourselves feel equal to others,
  • not wanting to hurt others’ feelings,
  • not wanting others to dislike us or think less of us.

It can take a lot of courage to tell the truth particularly when we fear consequences or some form of punishment. (It can also be difficult to hear others being honest about something that has happened particularly when we have been involved and would rather keep the truth hidden!) However, as we grow older and take on more responsibilities and commitments it is very important that we stay aware of what we are saying and how it affects ourselves and others. It is equally important that we learn to admit our mistakes and take responsibility for the things that we have done (or maybe failed to do). It is very easy to blame others (or blame the situation) when things go wrong which can often mean that we are trying to cover up our shortcomings and weaknesses; hearing ourselves blaming others but then correcting ourselves or apologising is a big step towards living a more honest life.

The famous author Mark Twain once said “If you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything” ….. spend some time thinking about the meaning of this. Is he right? Being honest not only gains us a healthy reputation for being a truthful person but also protects innocent people and allows us to live our life without worrying about being ‘found out’ at some time in the future. When we lie or deceive or exaggerate we are not being our true self; instead we are wearing a mask which conveniently tricks other people for our own purposes and gains.

IMPORTANT NOTE: We have tried to give you a few pointers about honesty and telling the truth but do please remember that we are talking about everyday situations. There may be times or events in your life when you may have no choice but to tell a lie or deceive somebody to protect yourself or somebody else from harm or danger.

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IMPORTANT WARNING & DISCLAIMER: this site is many many MANY YEARS OUT OF DATE and is no longer being updated or maintained. It is provided free as an ARCHIVE ONLY.
IMPORTANT WARNING & DISCLAIMER: this site is many many MANY YEARS OUT OF DATE and is no longer being updated or maintained. It is provided free as an ARCHIVE ONLY.
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