MAY 2017: Honesty
Why do we lie?
Over the last semester, I have taken a class in conflict resolution at my university. In the class, we’ve taken an in-depth look at deception, studying why people choose to withhold or twist information in everyday life. Sometimes it’s about saving face, cheating to get ahead, or covering up unflattering details. The average person lies multiple times per day, and although we probably wouldn’t admit it, deception appears to be a part of everyday life.
What confuses me about lying comes from my personal experiences as a speaker and leadership program facilitator. Go into a room and ask people, “What do you value most in your relationships with others?” and I guarantee that “honesty” will be mentioned more than once. Honesty is a core value of many different organizations, including the Boy Scouts of America, Dale Partridge’s empire, and The Mighty. Even in a study from the Washington Monthly, it was found that most voters value honesty over intelligence in their political candidates. It’s clear that people value the truth--so why do we lie so often?
The discrepancy between our words and our actions makes me question the morality of people as a whole. When we lie, we are not only committing deceit through the act of fibbing, but we are also lying about honesty being one of our core values. This is why dishonesty is so powerfully harmful to our image--when we get caught lying, we’re not just exposed, we’re shattered, because we’ve lied about our biggest promise to others--to be real.
But honesty is more than not telling lies--I think Faust said it best when he wrote, “Honesty...it is truth telling, truth speaking, truth living, and truth loving.” It’s more than living with integrity--it’s having the courage to admit our imperfections to ourselves, expressing deep emotions to others, speaking out even when the truth hurts.
In my life, I have seen how avoiding vulnerability can cause destruction not only to our own lives, but to others’ as well. Honesty begins within ourselves; when we cannot admit our flaws or mistakes to ourselves, we stay in the same cumbersome place, beating our head against a wall. But when we swallow our pride, acknowledge our ugliness, and accept it, we gain the courage to radiate honesty outwardly. Hiding our true selves from others makes them perceive us as something we aren’t, and therefore treat us differently than we’d like to be treated. This makes us uncomfortable, but if we get angry about that, who can blame them? It’s our responsibility to show people how we want to be treated, and that means being up front about the love we want from others. And when we see the beauty of that love, we want it for others--and that means exploring honesty on a grander scale. It means speaking up for those who are too afraid to, through activism, empathy, and empowerment.
But hold up--acknowledging flaws, being vulnerable, standing up for ourselves--that’s ballsy! That could trigger rejection, ridicule, and disappointment! What?! Why would we ever encourage this kind of anxiety-inducing trauma?!
Because life begins at the end of our comfort zones.
Honesty is risk. It’s saying, “here is the ugly side of me, all laid out for you to see.” And that’s scary. The tricky part about honesty is that to get to a comfortable place, we have to get out of our comfort zone. Telling people what we want--whether it’s a relationship, respect, or rights--involves guts. But no one ever made a positive change by doing the same thing over and over again--if we want to grow, we need to speak up.
This is why we’re talking about honesty this month--because the longer we remain quiet, the longer we subject ourselves to a life that consistently disappoints. When we burst into words, we free ourselves from the burden of secrets, cover-ups, and tolerating what we hate. When we are unapologetically, radically, and deliciously real, we live our lives to the fruitiest, funnest, and fullest. This month we will tackle honesty within ourselves, in our relationships with others, and using the truth to change the world--and we will do it all with kindness, grace, and eloquence. This month will be one big, bold, beautiful bash--and I cannot wait to show you what’s in store.
Here’s to realness, boldness, fruitiness, and joy--drink it up!
Have an A+ Day,