“Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted in important matters.” Albert Einstein
Do you always tell the truth? How do you feel about little white lies? Are you the same person on the outside that you are on the inside?
Our Society Focuses on the External Self
Living in a world that focuses on the external rewards of achievement tends to influence us to think that how we appear is the most important aspect of self. Our image sells products and sells who we are. When I started learning about marketing for my memoir Awakening to the Dance: A Journey to Wholeness, I was startled to discover my name was my brand. With that concept, it seemed to me that the business aspect of writing separated me from the artistic aspect of me that came from deep within my core.
Writing inspirational material and poetry comes from a very spiritual aspect of my being. To quantify it and box it up into a presentation that would sell seems very unauthentic; yet, every writer wants to connect with the readers who will buy, appreciate, and perhaps benefit from her work. The question then became: How do I sell myself and my book with integrity?
This is not just a question for writers. Many people are daily faced with this question in business and in relationships. How can I be who I truly am and be appreciated and loved? At the core of the question is the issue of honesty.
We Are Often Dishonest To Protect Ourselves
Growing up in a family where my mother and father often argued, I became the child who wanted to keep the peace, but I was also taught that it was a very bad thing to be dishonest. Despite that, there were times when I pretended to agree with my parents or presented a situation as being slightly different from the reality just to keep them from getting upset. I didn’t feel good about it, but it was part of the survival pattern I developed.
One day when I was a young adult, I thought about my impending marriage and decided I would stop telling “little white lies” to keep the peace. It wasn’t right and I wanted an honest relationship with my husband. I knew I could be a better person than I had been and vowed to make this change. Putting a priority on communicating honestly greatly improved my self-esteem.
Being Honest May Be Challenging
But being honest isn’t always as easy as it sounds because the other person, a spouse, boss or colleague may not like our truth. There are times when being honest can create huge problems for us. It may jeopardize a career or relationship. It may displease people we need to support us in various ways, so we weigh the benefit against the loss.
As Einstein suggests, if we are careless in small matters about being honest, we are most likely to be careless with important issues, and when we have stepped over that line, it may be very difficult to return. We’ve seen this often in politics. Richard Nixon is one of the outstanding examples. Once you know someone has lied to you, it is difficult to trust them after this.
Honesty Is Basic to Our Spirituality and Wisdom
At the spiritual level, the damage we do to our souls is great when we lie or deceive others. Thomas Jefferson once said, “Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.” When we live honestly, there is a joy and energy that permeates our lives because we have no fear that our secrets will be revealed, for there are no secrets. We have nothing to hide. When we make a mistake, we acknowledge and take responsibility for it. We act with integrity so that our words and actions match.
When we model a life built on honesty, we inspire others who may be drowning in the lies and secrets of which they are ashamed. With these burdens weighing people down, how can they like themselves? The fear that these secrets will be discovered will always be the shadow that hides who they really are and separates them from the sense of being one with All.
Honesty Frees Us to Love Ourselves
When we accept our deep, spiritual self and feel connected with Spirit, we know that we are worthy of love and learn to love ourselves. When we love ourselves, we know we are worth more than living a life underground, and we have the courage to reveal our true selves, and clean up the messes in our lives. As we discard our camouflage, we find a freedom and joy that is authentic. We gradually learn to simply be who we are, and with the confidence that gives us, we no longer need lie or mislead.
What we put out comes back to us. When we are honest and have integrity, we will draw to us people and circumstances who will relish our honesty. Whatever falls away was an obstruction to our growth, no matter how painful that loss may be. It is all a part of the path we follow to wisdom.
©2013 Georganne Spruce ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5
Related Articles: Wayne Dyer: Trust Your Inner Self, Worldly and Spiritual Values: Humankind May Depend on Rediscovering a Natural Balance, Are You Being Honest With Yourself, Debbie Ford: Honesty and Integrity (video)