How important is honesty to you? I suspect that most people would respond with a hearty, “Very important!” or something equally emphatic. I surmise every human being has been less than 100% honest at some point in their life.
As a kid you may have lied about doing or not doing something (albeit, you likely called it fibbing). As a friend or spouse you may have lied when you said an outfit or a haircut looked good on someone when it really didn’t (albeit, you likely called it a little white lie). As a discerning adult attempting to manage relationship risk in your life you may have lied by omitting mention of the fact that you saw an ex-girlfriend or boyfriend who gave you their new number and said with a smile and a wink, “Call me!” (albeit, you likely explained forgetting to mention it to your current significant other because it was of no consequence). Then there are the lies you told with fingers crossed behind your back – which somehow made them not lies based on the universal finger-crossing-absolves-lies code of the universe.
To increase belief in the level of our veracity when we are ostensibly telling the truth we often assign verbal or visual tag-alongs such as – “I swear to God…”, “To be honest…” or “I cross my heart…” – as indicators that now we are telling the absolute truth. Which I have always thought begged the question of whether the absence of these tag-alongs meant the like absence of the truth.
I assume that being less than honest at some juncture in our lives is part of being human and growing up. I think honesty as a characteristic of a person is something we seek to achieve and surround ourselves with increasingly as we grow older having experienced the fallout from moments of dishonesty (be it our own dishonesty or others).
Oprah is quoted as saying, “Truth allows you to live with integrity. Everything you do and say shows the world who you really are. Let it be the Truth.” I concur with Oprah; and, while I may not have always understood this tenet in my youth – I completely understand it now. Amazing what a handful of decades on the planet will do for your learning curve.
These days I would always rather hear the truth than a lie – even if it is unpalatable. When folks selectively tell the truth, I find that I only selectively believe or trust them. That is not the way I want to go through my life in the new forty.
So when I tell you something you can rest assured that I won’t be crossing my fingers behind my back – if anything I will be crossing my heart, more as a promise to myself and my own integrity than anything else. I am not perfect (I cannot lie )…but I am sincere in my approach. Honesty really is the best policy…even if I ask you, “Does this make my butt look big?” Of course, please feel free to say, “Yes, but…I like big butts and I cannot lie!” Yes, I know…I am a goofball…thank you for your honesty.
Day six hundred and forty-nine of the new forty – obla di obla da