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Honesty - always the right decision?

04-Aug-2017

Honesty - always the right decision?Goodness, this is a potentially very controversial statement. Most people, if asked, would put honesty high up on their list of values and how they want to live their lives. But, if I were to ask people if they had ever lied, the person who says, 'No', is in fact - lying!

We have all been economical with the truth at some point in our lives. To be honest(!) it is impossible not to be. And, sometimes, economy of truth is the right decision. Most people have, at some point in their lives, been on the receiving end of someone who has been brutally honest. This is not a particularly pleasant or empowering experience!

The total lack of diplomacy or any hint of emotional intelligence will create a person who speaks their truth regardless of the impact or outcome. This is not a humane or compassionate way to live. Sometimes, just sometimes, words need to be phrased in a way that is supportive of where someone is in their lives and the brutal truth is likely to do far more damage than good.

People who live their lives hiding behind the belief that honesty at any cost is right are, actually, bullies. And we all know that bullies are the biggest cowards. The coward is usually living in fear so will 'lash out' to alleviate the risk of being on the receiving end of similar treatment. Speaking the brutal truth to others is seen as a way of living authentically by bullies, but actually can be demoralising to the receiver and 'feeds' the giver.

The brutal truth is a way to bolster up the ego of the communicator. A much better way to build relationships and communicate with people is to ensure we use our emotional intelligence as much as our intellectual intelligence. This means we communicate from a coaching and empowering head space not a command and control head space. The brutal truth bully is coming from 'command and control'. It is far better to empower someone to take responsibility and ownership for their lives by phrasing the truth in a way that they will hear and will open them up to positive action.

Honesty is also about trust, and we know that trust is crucial as the strong foundation upon which all relationships are formed and become sustainable. To break that trust with dishonesty usually witnesses the beginning of the decline of that relationship. So, I would never advocate dishonesty and breaking trust in a relationship, that is disrespectful to all parties. There are, however, levels of honesty.

Being dishonest with your conduct and treatment of someone is never acceptable on any level. Being dishonest with your business dealings is never acceptable on any level. Being economical with the truth when you have the feelings and emotions of someone you care about in the palm of your hands is a decision that has to be made in the moment with care, consideration, compassion and love.

Only you can make the decision. At the end of the day, if you can look yourself in the eye and be comfortable with the person looking back at you, and confident that the decisions you have made are in the best interests of everyone and no-one is hurt, then a certain level of truthful economy is what keeps us going and helps to maintain balanced relationships.


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