Have you ever noticed how much some people just habitually lie? It can manifest itself in small things, like telling “white lies” about “not being able to make it due to work” when they don’t feel like attending a friend’s birthday party, or it can manifest in dramatic acts of betrayal, like cheating on their significant other, or stealing from the people who care about them the most.
There’s a general wink-wink-nudge-nudge view of lying in society at large. People treat it like it’s an understandable, cheeky vice, that doesn’t do any harm, as long as you don’t go overboard with it.
But there are many, seriously good arguments to be made that any kind of lie — even those “small white lies” — are destructive, to yourself and to others. Consider this example — your girlfriend asks if you like her new dress. You think it looks absolutely disgusting, but you say “it’s really hot on you!” She then goes out and wonders why people are snickering about her. Weeks, or months later, or even years later, she finds out that everyone’s been gossiping about her awful dress. She’s crushed.
You thought you were being kind, but you just distorted reality and allowed her to suffer pain that could have been avoided if you’d been tactfully honest.
Here are some other ways that honesty can improve your life.
By “unifying” the different parts of yourself
Speaking about politics on Facebook, or even just in public, is often looked down on — in large part because many of the most vocal political “commentators” are overly aggressive and confrontational.
As a result, many people essentially hide their political views to avoid upsetting others or stirring up controversy.
Of course, however, your political views are a part of yourself. Being honest about your views and expressing them — whether that means commenting on the Reagan election or on immigration policy — means that you’ll be “unifying” the various parts of yourself, instead of keeping them scattered in the dark.
By improving your self-respect
Have you ever actually felt good about yourself after telling a lie, even a small one?
There’s a compelling argument out there that each time we’re dishonest, we send and reinforce subconscious signals within our own psyches that we’re scared, weak, and corrupt.
Repeat this often enough, and you simply build a weak, lowly, and dissolute moral character, and feel consistently bad about yourself, too.
Being honest — not being needlessly rude or cruel, but being honest — can help to seriously boost your self-respect and even increase your productivity, too.
By helping you to communicate with the people around you
There are many important discussions that couples may need to have in their relationships in order to keep things on an even keel and resolve issues, but it’s far easier to shrug something off and decide it’s not worth the argument than it is to have a difficult conversation.
The same goes for family, friends, and anyone else you’re close to in life.
A policy of honesty doesn’t give you the luxury of saying “I don’t mind” when you do. It forces you to communicate your feelings and worries instead, and can, in turn, help to address small issues before they become major ones.