To be honest…

TBH, a prefix so commonly used it even has its own acronym. I have used it and heard it more over the last few years, and it made me think ‘why do we use it’? Do our conversations with one another have a built in level of deciept or distrust or censorship requiring us to clarify when we are telling the truth? Is the truth not a given?

To be honest, brutally honest, is a concept reserved for a utopian existence. I think perhaps we are emphasizing our openness, or expressing our passion on a given topic, whilst at the same time conveying a lack of confidence in the interaction taking place due to self-censorship. I feel to be honest is now associated with negativity and criticism. It alienates and offends. When being honest you are perceived as confrontational. It is far removed from the virtue it is intended to be.

In a world dominated by social media, we rarely want to see or hear the truth. It makes us uncomfortable and irritated. To express your thoughts and feelings is socially unacceptable. Not mention the repercussions it comes with! We have all heard the expression “the truth hurts”…

It can hurt your friendships, working relationships and have lasting ramifications. This blog has been stagnant for a long while because I have imposed a publication ban on myself. The Dream Chase has been successful, I am currently in Greece living the dream. I have however published nothing on the journey that got me here because I genuinely thought that it would offend someone!  the modern world talks about free speech.  Having talked with other people, it appears not to be a mirage.  Writing about your life and experiences will offend someone, a fact! 

Since I have been out here though I have realised I’m not the only person who feels the need to self censor. When you decide to blog, it is about your opinions and thoughts, and feelings. You take into account the repercussions of family, friends, colleagues, employers and the judgement of strangers and self sensor! Is there a tactful way to write about the less favorable elements of your life without incriminating any of the above? Do you need permission to talk about your life as you see it? Are the perceived fears relevant it you commit and publish for the world to see?

So many questions. I don’t have the answers but welcome your thoughts if you are reading this. Writing this has made me wonder if the ‘white lies’ we use to nuture our relationships with are acceptable? Why? Because – the bible commands that we do not lie, to be honest, a lie is a lie; right? Also, is self-censorship unhealthy? Life goes on irrespective of the truth. I personally, prefer the direct approach, however, it has no always worked out. Hence the censorship. Life is more agreeable without the honest truth.

I find this moral conundrum interesting and note that it is not confined to Christianity. Really the lack of the whole truth is based on interpretation and perception as well as influence. We tell white-lies to prevent hurting the feelings of the people we care about. We tell them so we do not damage further the person, situation or outcome. The boundaries are shifting constantly. I don’t think life gets to be black and white. Hence the existence of white-lies.

I’m not sure I will see the ‘honesty utopia’ in my lifetime, but if we cultivated an honesty culture (like we have with quality, health & safety) we could actually be honest with each other. Practice honesty with respect and tact to cultivate authentic relationships that value your words when you speak.

I leave you with my favourite quote from an unkown author:

It s funny how everybody considers honesty a virtue, yet no one want to hear the truth”