We all like to think of ourselves as honest people. But the truth is, most of us could stand to be a little more truthful on a day-to-day basis. Why is it so hard to be honest? And what can we do to be more honest with ourselves and with others?
The first step to being more honest is recognizing when you’re being dishonest. We’re not talking about those little white lies that we all tell from time to time (“No, that dress doesn’t make you look fat”). We’re talking about the bigger deceptions that we often don’t even realize we’re committing.
For example, let’s say you’ve been promised a promotion at work, but it’s taking longer than you thought it would to come through. Instead of telling your friends and family that you’re about to be promoted, you might find yourself saying things like “I’m thinking about getting promoted” or “My boss is considering me for a promotion.” The truth is, you’re not actually getting promoted—at least not yet. But by suggesting that it’s a sure thing, you’re being dishonest.
Or let’s say you’ve been dating someone for awhile and you’re not sure if it’s going to turn into a serious relationship. Instead of telling them the truth—that you’re not sure where things are going—you might find yourself stringing them along with words like “I’m not looking for anything serious right now” or “I’m just trying to have fun.” But if you’re not actually looking for anything serious and you’re just trying to have fun, why are you dating this person in the first place? Wouldn’t it be more honest (and kinder) to just tell them that you’re not looking for anything serious and end things now?
These are just two examples, but hopefully they illustrate the point: we often deceive others because we’re afraid of being honest with them. But why is honesty so hard?
There are a few reasons. First, we live in a society that values politeness and tact over honesty. We’ve been taught from a young age that it’s impolite to hurt other people’s feelings or make them feel uncomfortable. So instead of being honest, we often find ourselves sugarcoating the truth or telling half-truths in order to spare other people’s feelings.
Second, we worry about what other people will think of us if we’re completely honest with them. We worry that they won’t like us if they know the whole truth about us—that they’ll reject us or judge us harshly. So instead of being open and vulnerable, we often find ourselves putting up walls and hiding our true selves from the world.
Lastly, honesty can be scary because it means admitting that we don’t have all the answers. It means admitting that we make mistakes and that we’re imperfect human beings. But guess what? That’s okay! In fact, it’s more than okay—it’s perfectly normal! everybody makes mistakes and everybody is imperfect. You don’t have to have your life together in order to be honest with yourself or with others; you can still be honest even if your life is a total mess!
So how can you start being more honest? Below are some tips:
- Make a commitment to yourself to start being more truthful in your day-to-day life—even if it’s just small things at first. Just start practicing!
- When it comes to bigger issues, try sitting down with somebody close to you (a friend, family member, therapist, etc.) and having an honest conversation about what’s going on in your life—no holds barred! It might be scary at first, but chances are it will feel really good once you get it off your chest.
- Practice mindfulness and self-awareness so that you can catch yourself when you start becoming dishonest. The more aware you are of your thoughts and actions, the easier it will be to nip dishonesty in the bud before it happens!
Being honest isn’t always easy—but it’s always worth it in the end. By recognizing when you’re being dishonest, making a commitment to honesty, and practicing mindfulness and self-awareness, you can start being more truthful in your day-to-day life today!