Honesty is best but there are times when you can and should choose to refrain. There’s always levels of complexity involved and there is the risk of appearing hypocritical. Also, you have to choose what to be honest about. I don’t think that your goal of maintaining honesty should mean a complete and thorough application of the principle regardless… although I realize that the more exceptions there are to the rule, the more the rule gets a bit hazy.
But here’s what I do know.
I have, to the best of my ability, tried to live an honest life, in that I tried to be true to my goals, desires and emotion. I worked hard at ensuring a meeting of minds between my mental and emotional state and the actions resulting thereof.
I had to. I could not live any other way.
As far as I could, I wanted to be authentic in my communications and relationships. It was necessary for me to be truthful, to the point of pain, about what I saw, what I felt, what I believed, even if it was at odds or brought conflict to bear in a given situation.
Honesty, in this case, was therefore merely an alignment between my thoughts and my actions. Living a lie, where what I thought was distinct from my actions, would prove too difficult to endure or to sustain.
I have, in recent times, been privy to two sets of close relationships where I see that honesty is critical to the nature of the relationship. I have seen how inaction or uncertainty about how to respond in a given situation can be taken as acquiescence of the current status quo. I have seen how silence can be taken as tolerance or worse still, willingness.
These situations and relationships, and how people make sense of it all, take years to develop. Like an onion, it is built layer upon layer and the demarcation is blurred.
You owe it to yourself to be honest. So that you can move on, so that you can achieve the life and relationships you deserve to have. Yes, it is scary to realize the potential negative reactions that we could be called on to face, and sometimes, we will need to face this, all alone.
But in our quest for a life that is true and authentic, for relationships that are based on something meaningful and deep, for decisions that are anchored in something sturdy and substantial, we need to aim for honesty.
If only so that we can reconcile our desires and needs with our actions.
If only for us to live a life with minimal regret.
If only to make real impact on those around us.
Rowena Morais is the Editor of HR Matters Magazine, a quarterly print publication aimed at Human Resource professionals. She is also the co-founder and Programme Director at Flipside, a business services company with offices in Malaysia and Singapore, providing professional certification training. Here, she provides strategic direction as well as oversight on client training and corporate functional areas. Rowena blogs about developing habits, execution, growth and personal development. She lives in Kuala Lumpur with her husband, two young kids and now, a newborn. Connect with Rowena at firstname.lastname@example.org.