I recently read an article about the importance of honesty in a relationship. It’s one of those “duh” things (like the need to communicate or be nice) that you know is important, but it’s something we sometimes disregard. The article made me wonder: am I really being honest with those around me?
Here are four ways I have been more honest in my everyday life, and four ways you can, too:
1. Tell the truth to yourself.
2. Be honest in your relationships.
3. Be open about your feelings.
4. Don’t lie to yourself about what you want/don’t want to do.
I recently came across a blog post on Medium titled “Be More Honest. Get Uncomfortable.” The post was about being honest in your everyday life and the rewards that can come from it.
The author does a great job of describing what it means to be honest, the challenges of being honest, and how honesty can improve our lives. I particularly liked his 4 practical suggestions on how to be more honest in our everyday lives. So I wanted to summarize them here:
1. Tell someone you trust when you have been dishonest.
2. Be honest about what you’re thinking in your head.
3. Talk about your moral failings in public and with friends and family.
4. Tell the truth even when it would be easier to lie.
Recently, I got into a conversation with a friend about honesty and how we are oftentimes dishonest with ourselves.
I asked my friend, “how honest are you on a scale from 1 to 10?” He answered without thinking, “9.” I then asked him why he didn’t give himself a 10. His response: “well, I guess there is still room for improvement.”
I immediately started laughing. He asked me what was so funny about his answer. I explained that if everyone is honest with themselves, they would all answer the same way, regardless of their self-perception of their honesty. Everyone can be more honest; therefore 9/10 is the most accurate score across the board.
The truth is, we have all been dishonest at one point or another in our lives. We have all lied big or small and we have all told white lies to protect others or spare someone’s feelings. We dress up our honesty in different clothing to suit our needs but as long as you’re lying – even by omission – it isn’t real honesty.
1. Be honest about honesty.
The most important way that you can become more honest is to admit to yourself that you lie. Honesty is a practice, and if you want to practice it, first you have to acknowledge that you need the practice.
One of the most common lies people tell themselves is that they’re already honest enough. I don’t lie—I just withhold information sometimes; I don’t cheat on my taxes—I just take all the deductions that everyone else takes; I don’t lie to my spouse—I just don’t tell him everything I do. But these are all lies, and as long as we insist to ourselves that they aren’t lies, we won’t be motivated to change our behavior.
2. Donate what you owe.
If you realize that you owe someone an apology or a thank-you, give it before doing anything else. If you realize that something isn’t yours, return it as soon as possible (if it was online content or intellectual property, delete it immediately). If someone has given you their trust, take care of it first. No matter what the situation is, if there is some lingering debt of honesty that needs
This post is dedicated to all of you who have begun your journey towards a more authentic, genuine and full life. I know it’s not easy. I know that you are hearing messages every day which tell you that to be honest is not a good idea. You may be told that your family and friends will be upset with you for being so “honest” or “blunt” and that you should stop being so open about your feelings. This is because many people are afraid of honesty and live in a state of denial about their own lives.
To be clear, I don’t advocate telling your friend that her new haircut looks awful. And I also don’t believe in pushing your political views on others unless asked for an opinion.
What I do believe in is talking openly about issues which concern us all, such as the environment, politics, war, poverty and human rights violations. If you feel strongly about these things then it’s important to express yourself, even if it means upsetting some people along the way. To do otherwise would be dishonest.*
These are all great tips. However, I would add a fourth.
4. Be honest about your expectations of others.
This is something I think we can all do better with, and it can make things much easier for everyone involved. Instead of expecting someone to do something, or act a certain way, and then becoming frustrated when they don’t live up to your expectations, talk to them. Tell them that you had hoped they would do something different and ask them if it is possible for them to change their behavior in the future. If they can’t or won’t, you have some decisions to make about whether you will continue the relationship under these terms.
This becomes especially important in romantic relationships. For example, let’s say you really wish your boyfriend would do more around the house without having to be reminded all the time to clean up after himself.
If you stay quiet, because you don’t want him to feel bad or because you’re afraid he will get defensive, then nothing changes and you become more angry at him over time.
If you speak up, there are two outcomes: either he changes his behavior (and maybe he didn’t realize his actions were bothering you), or he doesn’t change his behavior but now at least the two of you
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