Truth, Honesty and Other Forgotten Things
I suppose it is easy to berate the entirety of humanity for being liars. I mean, it is always easier to see the flaws in other people than it is in yourself. I’d be the first person to admit there have been times where I have lied, for any number of different reasons.
Before I launch full-throttle into a tirade against the dishonesty that permeates our society, I should probably first define what I consider a lie. The most obvious kind of lie would be an instance where you knowingly tell someone something that is untrue with the intention of deceiving them. Do note that I point out it MUST be to your knowledge; ignorance, in this case, is an excuse.
I would, however, also like to include lies of omission in the category of dishonest evils. I don’t mean for everyone to overshare every detail with every person they meet, but come on! Something are quite obviously either important or relevant to other people. Withholding information that may affect a person is definitely dishonesty in my book. This information could vary from person to person, but it should be pretty obvious whether you think they would want/deserve to know or not.
People can come up with all the excuses that they want to tell a lie. “It’s only a little, white lie.” is one of my personal favorites. A lie is a lie! I don’t care if you think it won’t cause any problems, if you think no one will find out or if you only did it to make things easier for one of you. Don’t lie! If you honestly though that it wasn’t a big deal, you wouldn’t have felt the need to lie in the first place. You obviously know that it will either negatively impact you or hurt someone else to know the truth, this means they should have the right to know.
“They would have over-reacted.”
“It didn’t really hurt anything.”
“I was just trying to spare their feelings.”
No matter how you try to ease your guilt-ridden conscious about it, you are lying to deceive someone. This person might just be a co-worker you have to spend a good bit of time around or it could be someone you claim to care about.
To a certain degree, we are all taught to hate the truth from the time we are small. People only want to hear good things about themselves and you are being cruel or acting like a jackass if you say anything mean. No one wants to hear the truth. That is what we are taught, and as a result that is how we act. That being said, I don’t think this is true in the slightest, it is just an expectation in our current society.
Though we might be hurt by the truth, we can learn and grow because of it. If someone looks horrendous in the clothes they are wearing, just think the long time embarrassment they could be saved if someone told them when they left their house in the morning? If you are a bad kisser, imagine all of the partners who would benefit and like you better if you learned to do it better and with less slobber?
We have become hardwired to value the immediate effects of a decision over the long term ramifications and that is not a healthy or productive way to live.
Down to a very real example, especially for those perpetually single individuals out there (like myself.) When it comes to dating and courting (if people even still do that?) a potential mate, honesty really is the best policy, no matter how much it sucks. Human emotions are far to intense and flexible to respond well to deception. If you know that someone “likes” you and you don’t return those feelings, just tell them. Don’t avoid the subject or put it off to “spare their feelings.” You won’t. The longer you wait the more invested they become in the idea, even if they kind of know you don’t feel the same. Without a solid answer, people are capable of too much hope to ever really give up.
You will only end up wasting their time and hurting them more in the long run (potentially making them feel used). Like a band-aid, the pain will be fast and then they can heal from the shallow wound.
The moral of this is simple.
TELL THE GODDAMN TRUTH.