Being honest is a way of life

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Robert Maurer

Being honest is a way of life

To practice sincerity towards others it is necessary first of all to be sincere with ourselves. Having clear what we want and don't want will save us time, preventing us from falling into highly stressful and emotionally costly situations. Honesty, therefore, should be a way of life.

Written and verified by the psychologist GetPersonalGrowth.

Last update: 15 November 2021

Being honest saves us time and cleans up relationships. Making good use of honesty and integrity towards oneself, making it clear what we allow and what we don't want to happen, what is correct and what is not, makes coexistence easier and avoids embarrassing situations and not at all positive. However, it is not that simple to make use of sincerity.

Confucius said that the sincere person who always tells the truth has already built the path to heaven. Yet, let's face it: many of us have been raised to be fair in all circumstances, to maintain that careful respect for others. We often make little lies our lifeline, for fear of being rejected or pointed at.

Let's say yes to that party with work colleagues so as not to be outdone. We maintain friendships that have been emotionally out of date for years for fear of hurting the other person. We support our partner in certain decisions while knowing that they are not the right ones and we do it so as not to extinguish the enthusiasm of someone we love.

There are numerous situations that arise in which we choose to tell a half lie or that half truth that - even if moved by good intentions - can attract, in the long run, situations that are anything but advantageous. Being sincere (but without practicing sincericide) should be that recurring cog in our own ego with which to build a healthier reality for everyone.

Sincerity can be humble, but it cannot be servile.

-Lord Byron-

Being honest with ourselves

Nothing can enclose so much harmony as practicing that transparent form of communication in which armor, falsehood, fear and condescension fall. There are those who pride themselves on being always correct and respectful, when in reality they are an expert in the art of hypocrisy: that is, he pretends feelings, behaviors or ideas contrary to those he really thinks or feels.

There are many who go around the world without a line to follow. Those who think one thing and say another, those who feel a specific reality and end up behaving in the opposite way. Living forgetting certain thoughts, desires, actions and communication generates a profound malaise and in the long run it can foster situations that cause deep unhappiness.

Research studies such as the one conducted by the University of Southern Denmark, led by Dr Stephen Rosenbaum, make it clear: honesty should be a rule in our society. Making use of sincerity saves costs of all kinds: emotional, relational, work, and so on. It is a principle of well-being for ourselves and for others. But how do you practice honesty? How do you start putting it to good use? Here are some tricks.

Start being honest with yourself

There are inner voices that reinforce our fears (tell your boss, your friend, your father this or they'll get mad at you). There are defenses that erect real barricades that prevent us from saying and doing what we really want. All these inner psychological universes not only prevent us from being authentic, but also make it difficult for us to grow.

We must have this very clear in mind: anyone who wants to be honest with others must first be honest with himself. And this requires training the inner dialogue, in a sincere and courageous way, where we ask ourselves what we want and what we need.

Lies or lack of honesty make you a prisoner of unhappiness

Being honest saves us precious time. It prevents us, for example, from devoting time and effort to people, activities or dimensions that distance us from our desires or values. If we were able to practice true honesty, we would gain in terms of trust in each other, because nothing is as good as being able to count on that advice or comment from someone who, far from trying to be compliant or make a good impression, risks speaking to us from the bottom of their hearts.

But there is another aspect to keep in mind. The lack of sincerity leads us to utter lies that in a short time require bigger ones so that the sand castle stands upright. The psychological effort to avoid the collapse of so much falsehood is immense and, in a short time, we realize that that practice is neither useful, nor logical, nor healthy.

Being honest is an act of courage with great benefits: put it into practice and your world will change!

Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman, two child education psychologists, indicate in their book that children lie to their parents more often than you think, for a very basic reason: they choose to resort to lies to make their parents happy and not to disappoint the expectations they have of them. They think they might disappoint them if they tell them what they really feel.

In a way, this is how that frequent need to not always be completely honest begins. We are afraid of being able to disappoint, we are afraid not to be like others think, it scares us to distance ourselves or lose certain relationships. However, it is good to keep in mind that by doing this we are actually betraying ourselves.

Being honest can have some impact on the other person or generate surprise. However, in the long run it prevents us from creating clearer, happier and more meaningful contexts, sharing life with someone we care about. So let's practice honesty.

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