Can you imagine a world where everyone was perfectly honest? Do you know
what honesty really means? The dictionary defines honesty as integrity, truthfulness,
honor or freedom from fraud. Why are people dishonest? Fear of pain or discomfort
or the revealing to others that you did something wrong?! It was once said, that truth
can only be told when the person telling it feels safe. It's sad if true, but if you’re
filled with fear, you can’t feel safe and dishonest behavior often becomes acceptable.
Did you know that each of the emotions of fear, lust, anger and pleasure can easily
be found in the brain with an electrode touching a small specific section of the brain's
limbic system? Some brain experiments with monkeys and human mental patients in
the 60's uncovered this fact very well. On the other hand, the higher brain emotions
of unconditional love, compassion, happiness and courage cannot be found in the
limbic system or any other small area of the brain?! Why? Well, fear, lust, anger and
pleasure are the emotions we share in common with all animals that have a limbic
What makes humans different is the large cerebrum on top of the small limbic
system. When you experience love, compassion, happiness and courage, brain scans
reveal a wide area in the cerebral cortex lights up. In other words, a larger network
of cells in the higher brain centers are used to experience these higher emotions.
Most people have great difficulty with experiencing these higher brain emotions,
because their whole life revolves around limbic system reacting instead of conscious
acting. When you practice consciously using more of your brain, instead of less, you
begin utilizing more of your God given potential and honesty is easier to express as
Relationships suffer greater over the issue of honesty than any other. In
relationships, agreements are established, whether expressed or implied, that presume
that honesty will be maintained. When deceit, disloyalty, secretiveness, false
promises, half truths and the habit of saying one thing and doing something else enter
a friendship or a love relationship, real clarity about any genuine feelings is
immediately jeopardized. Trust is shaken, and reasoning is skewed.
How do you rectify dishonest tendencies? Whenever your focus is on the external
things of the world, dishonesty becomes acceptable. When fear, lust, anger or
sensory pleasures dominate your daily behavior, dishonesty becomes acceptable. By
changing your focus to internal growth and practicing courage, love, compassion and
happiness, honesty is easier to express. Pay attention to the little twinge in the back of your mind that happens just as you're about to say or do something dishonest.
Clearer thinking, sincere emotions and heightened senses are side benefits to
honest behavior. Muddled thinking, poor memory, unreliable emotions and dull
senses are the down side to dishonest behavior. Dishonesty also goes hand in hand
with a self-destructive body chemistry and ill health.
You get good at what you practice. If you decide that honesty has better
advantages, you must practice it like any other skill. By practicing honesty, you're
automatically practicing courage. When you practice courage, you get a better handle
on fear. When courage manifests itself more than fear in your life, real love is easier
to experience on a regular basis. One supports, complements and assists the other.
Saying one thing & doing something else or unfulfilled commitments, no matter
how well intentioned, are broken contracts and hardly honest. Get in touch with such
episodes when they happen. Recognize how they make you feel inside. Don't betray
in your deeds what you profess in your words. Not wanting to be responsible for
your words or actions brings about self-denial, which in turn begets dishonesty. Can
you feel good about yourself when your life is filled with deceit and dishonor? If you
can't, then honesty is logical for your emotional well being; dishonesty is not.
As an exercise, study your actions and motivations each day for honesty. At the
end of the day, write down the honest and dishonest moments you experienced
during the preceding 12 hours. Learn to acknowledge and recognize emotional
integrity in yourself. Consciously embrace it when it appears. If it feels good, treat
yourself to it often. Practice honesty in every way. Your physical, mental and
emotional health will respond accordingly.
As an exercise in correcting dishonest tendencies, stop exaggerating on incidental
matters in your life. The fish that got away is usually larger in the eyes of the
fisherman, but more realistic in the eyes of the onlooker. This same exaggerating
scenario follows many people throughout their lives as well. Whatever makes you
look better if exaggerated, will be exaggerated. Partial truths are by definition also
partial lies. Some people convince themselves that partial truths are NOT partial lies,
and then the difference between truth and lie becomes acceptably indistinct. Total
lying becomes easier, and internal conflict and confusion become pronounced.
By eliminating your half lies, full blown lies are no longer necessary either. By
being honest with others, you also become honest with yourself. Can you remember
a statement you convinced yourself was right when you knew it was wrong? Admit
to yourself this lie; then bring it to mind in its real and truthful fashion. Another
example of honesty is giving back a $20 note that dropped out of the pocket of a passing stranger, or reminding a grocery cashier she didn't charge you for a missed
To help children build honesty in their lives, eliminate the accusatory tone in your
voice when asking them about a mistake you think they made. Not doing so, only
encourages them to to tell you a false story because they feel unsafe. Let them know
that you accept whatever they have done and you forgive them, and whenever they
decide to tell you a truthful rendition of what happened, you will listen. Also,
remember, when you are honest, it sets an example for your children to be honest
You’ll also find that it’s good business to be honest as well. People respond to
honesty in business. Few people want to deal with a dishonest person, so it will
build your trust, give you consistency, open more doors and strengthen more
relationships to tell the truth than to fabricate a lie of some kind.
Is omission of the truth just as bad as a lie? Couples are faced with this question
when one is unfaithful. Is it truthful to keep silent? Isn’t the point of relationship to
allow the other person to know you as well as possible? If your answer is yes, then
you know the answer to the first question as well. What people often neglect to do in
relationship is honestly communicate to the other their feelings prior to infidelity. If
they practiced doing this, infidelity would not even come up. Getting to know and
truly understand the other is very important in any good relationship.
Omission of the truth is just as bad as a lie when an agreement, whether expressed
or implied, has been dishonored between 2 people. Honesty is not a matter of
convenience or something to ignore or forget to do. It must be practiced in every
way, so you can always feel good about yourself. Dishonesty cannot be rationalized
as OK in circumstances where you think it gets you what you want. It is wrong,
because of what it does to you inside. Your mental, emotional and physical health &
stability is always at stake!
Let me give you one final word on honesty. Does honesty mean telling everyone
you meet what you think about them every minute of the day? Obviously your
thoughts and emotions fluctuate throughout the day about many things and about
many people, so telling people what you think or feel about them all the time is hardly
sensible. There is a time to be silent and a time to be vocal. For better clarity in your
life, make sure that when you are vocal, it is the truth.
"If you tell the truth, you don't have to have a good memory."
......... Mark Twain