We all know the textbook definition of honesty: the quality of being fair and truthful. But what does it mean in everyday life?
Honesty is not a behavior or way of speaking – it is a way of being, a way of life. When you are truthful by nature, you don’t just avoid lying, you don’t even consider it. You live in reality, in what is, rather than creating a false reality with a lie. You live life openly without deception, and others learn that you are who you say you are and can be relied upon. You act and speak your truth.
Living truthfully also means living authentically (we’ve discussed this before), being honest with and about yourself. You make choices based on what is right for you, rather than what others may impose upon you. You take actions with integrity, so that your intentions and words match your actions (thought, word and deed). You feel what you feel, without judgment.
When you must say something truthful but potentially hurtful, you know how and when to be gentle but honest, with tact and discretion. And in turn, you can accept feedback from others, understanding their point of view even when it does not mesh with your own. You can honor the other’s truthfulness while honoring your own.
Honesty does not mean that you “spill your guts” and share everything you feel or think. It simply means that when you act, you act with integrity and truth. You have confidence in your good judgment about when to speak up and when to be silent.
Because “like attracts like,” living an honest, integrous life means that others with similar integrous values and an honest nature will gravitate to you.
Take a look at your life as it is. In what ways could you be more honest with yourself and others? How can you begin to “live honesty”? Most everyone is not able to do this all of the time, so please don’t expect perfection. But it is something to strive for.