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The Practical Value of Honesty

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Most of us recognise and accept honesty as a ‘virtue’. 

But what are the practical reasons for this?

Most of us would agree that needing to be seen, heard and understood is of infinite personal value to us… particularly by family, friends and perhaps in the workplace too.

These things cannot be achieved without being ‘up front’ about who we are, how we feel and what we want. For example, in our love relationship most would agree that intimacy and close companionship are the lasting characteristics we want built into our relationships. Thinking that just sharing good times is the answer is fraught with disappointment. This is because the good times are transient. They come and they go.

Relationships that last the test of time need to support us equally in times of difficulty.

True intimacy, not just sexual, has its basis in honest communication. Pretence in all its forms is unsustainable and lacks the grace of simple, open and honest commune.  

So why are people dishonest? 

I believe that behind most dishonesty is a desire to make things easier for ourselves and sometimes to make things easier for someone else. 

To be honest requires strength of character. If we don’t practice daily, we may find ourselves feeling isolated and emotionally impoverished.  

To be honest requires a commitment to self knowledge. The outcome of this is our level of emotional intelligence. Being honest in our relationships generally causes a deepening and strengthening of our circumstance. To apply honesty in these situations, we must look sincerely at presenting who we are, not just how we wish to be seen by the other person. A failure to do so may lead to our relationships being affected in a negative way.  

For example, you may feel criticised by your partner but have failed to address it. Over time this criticism makes you feel badly about yourself and resentful toward your partner.  This resentment in turn erodes the love and generosity that are the glue that holds our relationships together.  

In the above circumstance you may have been avoiding the confrontation and the discomfort that comes from being honest about your needs and feelings. However in the longer term you pay the price with the loss of intimacy. If it happens that there are numerous places where you hold back on being honest, you may find yourself feeling stuck as opportunities to change and grow are lost.


To be honest with other people, we must start in our own backyard


To confront your partner about criticising you, you may have to look at the painful places that as a child you were rejected or abandoned around the issue of attending to your needs.   

So as you can see, we must first explore what is happening that causes distance in our relationships and then we must attend to our own part in this happening.   

Last but not least we need to take the risk of addressing the issue with the other person.  To go through this process you may need to have a counsellor or psychotherapist in your corner helping you to steer your way through this involved process as sometimes you may need to address issues that are unconscious in you. 

Good luck on your journey.