Why Honesty Still Matters
By Charles Hopkins
Published 10/23/2007 | Self Improvement
Have you ever faced a situation where you know that you could get out
of some unpleasant circumstance, at least temporarily by lying? That is
a very uncomfortable situation not only because we know that lying is
wrong, but also because we know that lying is sometimes much easier
than telling the truth.
It seems that we live in a time where just being honest about basic
things is unusual. Most people consider themselves "basically honest",
but many of those same people will lie about the most mundane things
such as saying they have a doctor's appointment to get off work early.
A few years ago an accounting manager in a large state agency had a
problem with the temporary receptionist. The manager thought that
receptionist was sloppy at their desk and he was particularly bothered
by the crumbs and fingerprints on the keyboard. While the receptionist
was at lunch, the manager cleaned up the keyboard.
All this was perfectly reasonable, and several people witnessed the
cleaning. But then, when the receptionist returned, and in the presence
of three people who witnessed the cleaning, the manager said, "The
computer services people were here and they cleaned up your keyboard
for you. They said you should not eat over your keyboard".
The manager looked at each of the other employees in turn, tacitly
asking them to confirm his story. All three turned to walk away. They
did not back him up but did not disagree either.
While this an extreme example of someone telling a very blatant lie
to avoid discomfort, it is probably not as uncommon a story as we would
like it to be. Too often, we associate the idea of "discomfort" with
actual pain, and we do whatever it takes to avoid it. Often this
Becoming aware of the temptation to lie is the first step in being
more than just basically honest, and being truly honest, with ourselves
and with other people. Being honest with ourselves is important because
our feelings about ourselves reflect into our relationships with
others. If we know we are not always honest as we could be, we suspect
that others are not being honest with us.
Being dishonest with other people prevents us from being truly
honest with ourselves, and then the whole thing snowballs into a big
mess. The is very rarely a good reason to lie, and usually, we use the
little evasions we make up not because there was a good reason to do
so, but because we could not think of a good reason not to. So be true
to others and you will in the end, remain true to yourself.