So many times, over the last few weeks honesty and it’s importance as a personal value has caught my attention; leadership situations with clients, organising events with friends, personal relationships and giving constructive feedback to coachees. It caught my attention several times but what also caught my attention is how others react to the presence of honesty. This has prompted me to write this piece.
I am not only talking about telling the truth or colouring the truth per se, I’m also talking about asking honest questions to get more information, more clarity and more understanding. I’m talking about personal growth, understanding and being understood. So, what are the benefits of being honest?
It promotes authenticity. Honesty is a reflection on your own thoughts and feelings, so if you want people to know who you really are be honest in your self-expression.
Honesty shows that you care. Being honest with yourself and others demonstrates self-respect and respect for others. A caring attitude makes people stop and think.
Honesty shows maturity and self-acceptance. There can sometimes be hurt, and pain associated with honesty, but a mature person conveys honest expression in a style that minimises the painful impact. When the other person is hurt, they will stay in that relationship to work through any pain experienced.
Honesty attracts honesty. If honesty becomes an unconscious habit, you will become very attractive to other honest people. A life filled with authentic people is enriching. It will foster a connection in the workplace and of course create a circle of love in your personal life.
Honesty fosters courage. Courage is not an absence of fear. It is doing what you know you need to do, despite your fear. There are times when it takes an immense amount of courage to say what you feel. It is often difficult and takes practice and patience, but the payoffs are huge.
Honesty can keep you out of trouble. We all know how you can dig yourself deeper into a hole with lies and deceit. So, from the start, don’t even go there! Keep a clean slate by staying honest, especially when you fear the anticipated consequences.
Honesty eliminates rubbish! Hiding your true feelings or withholding information creates emotional baggage. It requires a lot of self-defeating energy to deal with this baggage. Staying honest will feel exhilarating because it is so freeing.
But how should we manage those who don’t appreciate our honesty? Who feel threatened by our questioning or who don’t value honesty? WE DON’T!
We manage ourselves! if we can stay present, stay honest, stay with our own thoughts and feelings, listen, and accept the other’s thoughts and feelings, seek to clarify, understand, and accept, we will grow. Grow as a person, a friend, a colleague, and a leader. Easier said than done I hear you say! Indeed, it requires courage, but the trick is to stick with it. My honesty over the last few weeks has been met with successes, resolutions, progress, honesty, challenges, tears, aggression, nasty comments and everything in between! Will I keep going? Hell ya, in the long run my honesty delivered from a place of love and light, giving the best of me to every situation, authentically me. Accepting that everyone else is on their personal journey, and I am on mine. It is a constant work in progress for all of us.
So how does honesty sit with you? My wish for you today is to think / discuss / journal your thoughts and feelings around the following questions;
- Are you trustworthy?
- Under what circumstances do you lie?
- Is your behaviour consistent with your values, even when no one is watching?
- Do you take responsibly for your mistakes and shortcomings?
- How do you treat information received in confidence?
- How do you react to others thoughts and feelings in any given situation?
- How would you rate your honesty on a scale of 1-10 in the following areas of your life? family, friends, significant other, community, work colleagues and in relationship to leadership roles.
If you can sit with the answers, consider who you truly are, don’t beat yourself up about difficult situations / relationships or regrets, remember all those choices have brought you to where you are today. Offer compassion towards yourself, gratitude for your new found information on this path of growth and perhaps feel a little more enlightened the next time you find yourself needing the courage to remain honest.
I would love to hear your thoughts, comments, or feedback. Wishing you a lovely weekend, full of freedom, honesty, and fun! Máire x
© Smaoineamh 2020