My mom babysat a few kids when I was 5. If memory serves, there was a little girl named Rachel, a chubby toddler whom we called Shawny Boy, and a very busy little boy named Matthew. There were others, but I don’t remember their names. I also don’t remember whose diaper it was that I flushed down the toilet and lied about. What I remember was the spanking with the fly swatter that the lie earned me. That was my first memory about on the importance of being honest.
Honesty is the fastest way to prevent a mistake from turning into a failure. James Altucher
Certainly, it’s important life lesson that parents seek to teach their children at a young age. We teach it to them early, because it shapes our interactions. You can’t be kind without being honest. Moreover, honesty breeds respect and trust, and we know those are important traits in a fully functional adult. Something most parents are hoping is the outcome of our efforts.
As for its ability to increase happiness, I believe it does so because being honest is less complicated. There’s no story to remember. Honesty feels lighter in the soul. Dishonesty is an unstable position, and thus anxiety inducing.
Let’s go deeper than not lying, though, to truth telling. We are no longer children. We know that “honesty is the best policy,” but honestly, we all probably do it from time to time if we look at it as acting, living, speaking, and being consistent.
Honesty is more than not lying. It is truth telling, truth speaking, truth living, and truth loving. James E. Faust
We are dishonest as adults for the same reason that I lied to my mother when I was 5 years old, self-protection. See, she told me to throw the diaper in the trash, and I put it in the toilet, which then overflowed. I didn’t want to get in trouble for disobeying and causing a mess. I told Mom Rachel had done it to protect myself.
That’s why we fail to be honest in all areas of our lives as adults, to protect ourselves. To make ourselves look better than we are. But why pretend, when we can grow? This is what I love about growth mindset. In a growth mindset, I’m not deficient and in need of a little embellishment, I’m growing and learning and improving. That is, if I am.
“[A] dedication to honesty motivates us to strive to become all the good things lying helps us pretend we already are.” Alex Lickerman, M.D., https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/happiness-in-world/201402/why-be-honest
So, let’s take these times when we’re tempted to aggrandize to make ourselves look better as our signal that we have identified an area of lack, which needs attention. We either need to work on that part of our life to improve it or accept it.
What do I mean by accept it? Well, if I lie and say I’m a smaller size than I am, I may not really need to adjust my pant size. If I’m a healthy size but just not accepting that I’m not a model, the signal is that I need to accept my body. The signal is to grow in self-love and acceptance.
A third thing these signals could mean is that we are with people that make us feel that we are lacking. That’s a problem too, and a failure to be kind to ourselves. We’ve already decided we need to make kindness a habit, so this will require some attention. Now, it’s not their fault if we choose to lie about who we are to them, but it may mean we need new people. People that motivate us to grow. More on this on June 28, when the topic is “Select friends that lift you up.”
We have to stand up for what we believe in, even when we might not be popular for it. Honesty starts with being ourselves, authentic and true to who we are and what we believe in, and that may not always be popular, but it will always let you follow your dreams and your heart. Tabatha Coffey
For more on this topic, I recommend a recent post by a blogger than I enjoy and follow. https://theheartsphere.com/2018/05/30/how-authentic-are-you/