It almost obvious that the answer to the above question is likely to be a yes for everyone that it is asked of. Have you ever met anyone who said they like people to be dishonest with them?
Yet, every time you may have given an honest but unpalatable answer, there probably has been a rift in relationships or an awkward situation.
For those naïve about the worldly aspect of things, this can get extremely confusing. People who are unhesitatingly honest stand to be labeled as a rude, blunt, unsocial and uncouth. The question is whether these people learn their lessons and ‘shut up’ after a while? Shutting up, however, may not come easy to some (like truly yours!)
While I did manage to shut up, it was impossible for me to feign a palatable answer in situations that demanded a statement. I always ended up thinking of politically incorrect statements to make (I sure wished people stopped asking me).
I would surely have loved to acquire that skill and would have used it unabashedly; had I known how to avoid questions or distract people from the point at hand. Today, it is a survival technique one needs!
Recently, a talk show on television got me thinking. Aamir Khan, a famous Bollywood actor, stated that he stopped going to new release screenings because he does not want to hurt people by giving a bad opinion (in case he did not like the movie) since the press eventually pestered him for a review or opinion. I can so identify with this feeling!
It is simple to understand why we ‘say’ that we want the other person to be honest. It would be very funny if someone were to say to you, “Oh, please do tell me what you think but I don’t want an honest answer. You better understand what I want to hear and then say that.”
So, this is basically a game where everyone is supposed to guess what the other person requires – it could be pure and simple honest, a little honesty, honesty with a dose of humor, honesty with some sarcasm or honesty that is not honesty at all! So many shades of grey are making me swoon already!
I have come to the abject (but obvious to most) conclusion that most people really do not want honesty at all! Too bad for me since I just do not have the opposite to give! By the question that looms in my mind is WHY? Why are people so scared of honesty?
Lack of Confidence
It dawned on me that we don’t want honesty because we are not self-assured. Here is the connection. If we are confident and assured of our choices, decisions and actions, we would not be perturbed by someone having a negative opinion about us.
For example, if I was sure of the dress I am wearing, I would not worry if my spouse or friend felt that it was making me look fat. We start to dodge honesty when we are looking for assurance ratification from someone else – sometimes consciously and sometimes subconsciously.
It is important to understand that the other person’s opinion does not make you what they say. It is just that person’s opinion. If I am wearing shabby clothes and someone thinks I am a poor person, it does not make me poor. Wearing a designer dress that costs a lot does not make me ‘ultra rich’. I will still have the same amount of money that I had before (less a few thousands if I bought that designer dress). So, have some confidence in your own opinion and choose what is comfortable to you, what you want. It is your life after all!
Fear of Truth
The other time when we are afraid of honesty is when you cannot digest a truth. What is interesting is that people who fear a specific something are very much aware that it is not true. For example, if you love someone very dearly and wonder whether they he or she loves you back all the time, chances are you know the answer yourself but want to hear a different one from your friend. “Do you think he loves me?”, you ask. “Of course! Anyone can see it in the eyes”, comes back the dishonest obvious answer.
Do you want to wake up and accept things the way they are, or do you want to believe in a falsehood? The choice is totally yours and there is nothing wrong in wanting to live in a make-believe world; if that’s what keeps you happy!
We also dodge honesty because there are things about ourselves that we don’t want to see. These are things that may not particularly appear pretty to our own eyes. We want to assume that everything around us is pink and red and yellow and that there are no black or grey shades to our personality. In other words, what we are saying is that we do not love ourselves as a whole and can only love ourselves if we can fool ourselves into believing that we are ‘all good’.
No one is perfect and neither are you (there is my honest blunt statement of the piece)! So stop trying to paint a pretty picture for others and yourself. Accept ‘all’ your flaws, at least to yourself. This is the only way you can grow.
It is only when you know and accept what you don’t like about yourself that you will change it. This is what leads to mental and spiritual development.
Also, give the honest folks a chance – they are not all that bad! 😉