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Where has Honesty Gone?

Updated on January 17, 2014
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Where has Honesty Gone?

By Tony DeLorger © 2011

At the risk of sounding arrogant, I believe myself to be an authentic human being. In other words, I believe what I convey to people is real and not tainted by ulterior motives or lesser truth. Being aware of one’s ego and motives is a useful tool in determining the reasons behind our actions, and I can say on the whole I am honest about what I say and do.

Instilled into my psyche as a child, honesty, particularly about ones true feelings, has been a constant companion in my own development. My mother was a righteous person, not religious, but with a definite moral compass that she passed on to me, by her words and example. The penchant for truth, justice and what is right has infused my life and driven me to pass on those ideals to my own children.

The problem has always been the truth, if told, can often hurt people unnecessarily. There are some things that need not be told to protect someone from pain. A classic example is a woman asking her partner...’does my bum look big in this?’ This of course is the ‘man trap’ above all man traps. Regardless of how you view the subject, you would have to be a halfwit to say...’yes, your bum is huge and there really should be a law against people like you wearing something like that.’

That answer, apart from self-preservation, has neither kindness nor any understanding of the real question. So, saying... ‘Don’t be silly, you look great Honey, ‘ is not being dishonest. Your partner didn’t ask if her bum was too big, she wanted to know if you still find her attractive and love her. Your response is simply answering her real question honestly.

You see, what honesty is, is often not obvious and needs some understanding. Of course I think kindness is a consideration when answering a leading question like the above. So what about having a sick day from work? You may have a hangover from a heavy weekend and just can’t face a day of constant stress at work. What do you do then? Do you tell a barefaced lie to your boss? Surely that’s dishonest? But how many times have people done this? Maybe you have done this many times to your boss, in fact so many times (on Mondays) that your boss may well be about to fire you.

Let me put this to you. If you value your job, you understand that a prerequisite is being there and doing your job. If you are loyal and work hard, your boss will know it. Use this as an alternative. ‘Hi boss. I’ve had a bit of a heavy weekend and I don’t feel well. I’d just be useless at work and wouldn’t be productive. Would it be all right with you if I have the day off and I’ll make it up sometime when we are busy?’

Here there is no dishonesty and this communication just improves your relationship with your boss. There is 'give and take' in all relationships and being honest can only improve your work environment.

These days not many people have that relationship with their boss. Because loyalty is less important to employees, they do just about anything they like. The boss can see this and doesn’t trust his staff, knowing that they could let him down at any crucial moment. This has become a trend in society, not just with work relationships but all relationships. There is a general lack of trust that has become imbued in our attitudes. This is all because we have chosen to be dishonest with our true feelings.

The sad part is that we lose from this attitude, and the answer is so simply. Honesty is the Best Policy.


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    • Tony DeLorger profile image

      Tony DeLorger 7 years ago from Adelaide, South Australia

      Appreciate the comment Sembj.

    • Sembj profile image

      Sembj 7 years ago

      You sound like a really nice guy and I liked how you handled the topic. And lying is a tricky topic since I'd argue that intent or motive play a large part in determining what is truthful or not. If you answer someone truthfully knowing that person will misinterpret what you've said, your intent is clearly to deceive although telling the truth. Politicians are quite good at employing this technique since there is often a need to put a spin on a story so as not to offend supporters. This isn't in the same class of lie as a white lie that is told not to offend a loved one since the intent is kind rather than malicious, deceptive or self-serving. And what role does self-deception play? It's called self-deception because it describes something we don't recognize in ourselves. There's a great quotation that says something like: No man is a villain in his own heart. In any event, I enjoyed the article so much because I've spent a great deal of time reading and thinking about these topics and am always interested in reading more. Thanks