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Honesty - 4 Levels At Which To Be Honest

Updated on November 5, 2010
Pure Honesty
Pure Honesty

How honest can you get?


Honesty is one of the virtues, most people agree, that is necessary to apply if we want to feel good about ourselves and our actions.

But how honest can you get?

I have always regarded myself as an honest person, in fact very honest, in fact probably more honest than “polite”. But that is another article’s subject. For now let’s concentrate on the following.

Honesty comes in different gradations.

1 Being honest with other people regarding your actions. From owning up that it was you who ate the last biscuit as a child (and for some even when a grown-up) to admitting openly that you made a mistake that caused a certain negative outcome.

2 Being honest about your opinions and feelings. From being willing to show other people that today is maybe not the best day for you, to standing up for your believes rather than letting your heart-felt values being comprised by conforming to someone else’s opinion or the most accepted way by society at large. The “ it must be correct because everybody says so/does it this way” approach without considering if it really agrees with you.

These two are the most commonly known forms of honesty. However, more honesty levels reveal themselves once we decide to be more deeply authentic in our attitude, actions and relationships and start the inner work this requires.

3 Honesty with yourself. It is really quite amazing how good we human beings are at keeping ourselves from really acknowledging how we truly feel or what we really think about things. It is this third honesty gradation that is often not apparent to people due to subconsciously held beliefs that cause us to turn away from anything that we ourselves may think or feel that might cause some inner turbulence if we were to take a closer look. Combined with this very often is wanting to avoid feeling any pain or uncertainty, “wanting to keep the peace” to express it in another way.

4 Honesty now becomes trickier as we can be honest on levels 1 to 3 and still not completely on level 4. Level 4 is also much more complicated because as our inner life becomes richer and more elated it also brings up “stuff”. It is now possible to be completely truthful in experiencing several simultaneous inner states that seem to be contradictory. Such as inner happiness, inner knowing, strength, clarity, etc and at the same time feeling inner disturbances in the form of for instance anger or sadness or frustration or feeling challenged, etc. When we experience that we are in fact being honest. However, if we cling to only the “good” states and try to ignore the “other” states by for instance putting effort into concentrating on that which is making us feel elated and pushing anything else into a little corner because we are concerned that we might have been lying to ourselves or have “fallen from grace”, then we are no longer completely honest.


As I have grown more honest with myself and as I reach higher consciousness levels I have realised that just like enlightenment, being completely honest is a process. The more honest one gets the more there is to be honest about. It does become more and more of an “in-house” honesty than a “between me and the rest of the world” type of honesty.

Does that make it sound hard or a rather not start on it sort of thing? Then know this, that as one becomes more honest one becomes richer. Life really takes on another dimension one that I would not want to do without even though at times it might be tricky and I might feel for a temporary superficial moment that I am going backwards. There are now more layers active simultaneously. It is possible to be both at peace and at war and truthful in both. However, the war does not run quite as deep as the peace even though at times it might take over temporarily.

Our work lies in staying conscious, forgiving (especially of our own mistakes or outbursts) and authentic while learning from that which is causing the turbulence the lessons that help us evolve further.

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