Thursday, May 22, 2008

Honesty Is the Best Policy.........Or Is It?

I'm pretty sure that I have been hearing this idiom since I was little. Wanting to live by the golden rule, Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. has made honesty high on my list because I want people to be honest with me. I hate being lied to or cheated.

With my history I think honesty is something I have tried to live by because I was trying to prove that I am worthy to be taking up space in this world. I was always being referred to as a liar when I hadn't lied. I seemed to think somehow I could prove that I could be trusted if I was really truly honest. It didn't work but not because I didn't try.

Even after my therapy honesty has been important to me. It has helped me to identify people I could trust and those to steer clear of. I learned early on that those who could switch honesty on and off at their convenience were very likely to be people who would not think twice about me being a casualty of their making. It has definitely proved to be a good measure of someones trustworthiness.

I've been told that I live by a very high standard. That has never bothered me much although I suspect it makes me threatening to some people. That's where the trouble comes in I think. It's been my experience that people who take shortcuts around the rules and know that I don't are threatened by my presence. I find myself in awkward situations sometimes when I haven't done anything wrong.

People who chose to live by a lessor standard might manipulate their feelings to justify their behavior but underneath it all, they know they are "cheating." With that comes worry about being caught. Then instead of being responsible for their decisions, they find it easier to lay blame elsewhere. I seem to fit that bill.

Instead of being respected for my decisions sometimes I find that things can be tougher for me because of them. People in a position to help me or do business with me don't because they're more comfortable with those who manipulate and cheat and keeping their distance from me. The end result is it has affected my business.

It doesn't really make much sense. You would think that honesty would pay off but it doesn't always work that way. I know it sure hasn't for me. I won't change my standards just because others chose to be more comfortable with manipulators and cheaters. But it is frustrating that being honest isn't just hard to do but can actually make one less acceptable in some circles.

I guess that doesn't say much for the industry I do business in but I don't really think that it's different in other industries either. What do you think? What gets you the farthest? Being honest and straight forward or beating around the bush...

12 comments:

Lynn said...

Beating around the bush definitely gets me the farthest, but it is still to my detriment in the end. It gets me farther, but it gets me farther down the wrong road. I know that and see this clearer than ever before, so I don't play the game, either. Think of business circles and society as a whole to be a bigger version of a family. Some of the family members are dysfunctional and the system is flawed. Playing the game to get ahead is not beneficial, but certain members of the family would like people like us to believe it is and they will try to 'punish' us if we don't go along. I think, in all instances, we must use our own integrity when dealing with the family.

Patches said...

I very much understand what you wrote. We have noticed similar things ourseives in live in being honest.

In the long run, It is the honest person who wins. May not seem like it but it's how I see it.

Not only does playing the game get tiring, often people are caught in lies, and worry about keeping them straight.

All boils down to you, and who you are/want to be can live with.

I definatly agree with Lynn that some family members try to punish if you don't go along. It can be hard to stand your ground, but doing so is a battle won, and something to be proud of.

Kahless said...

RR, you are really having a tough time at the moment. I can hear it come through your posts. I value your honesty. Hang in there. I will be back tonight to answer your question. ((((Hugs))))

jumpinginpuddles said...

funny we have started to be really honest in therapy in life in marraige in friendship and in all ways we cant seem to be gaining. In fact our honesty is now making some people in our life back away. We also wouldnt change anything but its sad we cant live in a hionest society anymore. Not that it ever was but i think over the last ten eyars the lying has got more normal than honesty

Kahless said...

What gets you the farthest? Being honest and straight forward or beating around the bush...

A happier life comes with honesty I think. A freer life ultimately. As my T said yesterday; some people hate truth. It makes them uncomfortable. It shines the light on their dishonesty. But you have to live by truth.

keepers said...

being honest has shown us how few people in our life here where we live are honest also. They too pulled away as we got stronger, quit making excuses and spoke the truth. We would not change it either but it sure does show you how others are in their morals.

peace and blessings

keepers

lovelee said...

MiKael-
Your honesty and candidness is what draws me back to your blogs. I value it, and respect you very much for it. I too work very hard on it, and sometimes it seems more work than it is worth, but I think it is worth it.

Hugs to you, and you will be in my prayers.

silverylizard said...

beating around the bush ... now doesnt that conjure up a visual? what does one get when one beats bushes? things unexpected often.

i treasure honesty as you do. i guess i care more about what gets me the furthest with God than i do with people. honesty has cost me with people, but that is their problem. in the end, sooner or later, God is my champion, and brings me to those high places. when dishonst people shun me, it is always to my advantage later. always.
k├»rstin☼

Enola said...

In my profession it is the dishonest that far too often win. Those that manipulate the rules and hide the truth. I don't play that way. I have some clients that respect me for it and refer others to me. I've had others that have left me and gone elsewhere because I won't play the same games as others. I've learned to be up front from the beginning with my clients - tell them what to expect. It cuts down on problems later.

Nina May said...

I came across your blog in the last week while researching parentalization - I feel I haven't even begun to mine the wealth of insights and wisdom you so generously (and honestly!) offer out of your own experiences of suffering and struggling and healing. However, the title of this post caught my eye and I wanted to add my two cents (even though there are already many wise comments).

I love truth. I can't help it. It's been my anchor and my compass, without which I would be adrift in a capricious world, hostage to the whims of a fickle mind. Regardless of how painful it can be, truth (and God working through that truth and love) has kept me relatively sane. I cling to truth out of pure survival, not because it's nice or easy or popular. I don't think it's any of those things.

Thus I seek always to be honest with myself - again, not out of some high-minded ideal, but because the price to pay if I'm not is far too high. And being honest with others kind of just flows on from that - it feels too ugly to deliberately engage in dishonesty when I need so badly to be honest with myself. Although the impulse to white lie just to smooth the situation over is still there sometimes (not all that often anymore), I try to resist or rectify it when it comes up. Also because dabbling in dishonesty threatens such potential de-stablization.

So... I don't know what your experience of truth and honesty is, apart from this post, and I don't know by what criteria you measure getting ahead. For me, though, any gain that comes with the sacrifice of honesty not only ends up turning ugly and worthless in my eyes, but has come at the cost of something so intrinsically vital to me that I can only consider I've inflicted grievous further damage to myself. Perhaps this seems an extreme characterization, but then truth (and God) is the only thing (including myself) that's never, ever let me down.

Only it then becomes incumbent on me to remember the truth that most people haven't had the experience with truth that I have, don't love it and abide by it and cling to it. I can pity them, and have compassion on them, flailing in the murk of comfortable illusions, but I don't want to join them...

Sorry to go on at such length! I was inspired by this, and some other things, to post on the subject myself - only I managed to be much more compact on my blog! I hope the comments you've been receiving from everyone have been helping...

Cheesemeister said...

I agree that one would think honesty would pay off but sometimes it actually seems to make things worse! I pick my battles. I'm not going to be honest with my employer about having bipolar disorder for instance, because I'd probably lose my job. And I'm not going to be honest with my family about my real thoughts and feelings because that's a nightmare I just don't want to go through. I rarely directly lie, but I do have a policy of "don't ask, don't tell."

Heiddy said...

I am new to blogging and have been looking online for some comforting words about how sometimes being honest can hurt you. All my life I have witnessed the struggles my family has had to go through to make ends meet. And when I was little I promised myself that I would go to a really good school to get a great paying job so I could be able to help my family financially to make them happy. Some years later, I realized that money cannot buy happiness and living for others was not making me happy. So, I decided to live according to what made me happy. Because by taking care of myself and making myself happy first then I can set an example for my family. I also decided long ago that honesty is extremely important to me and that no matter what happened I would always try to be honest because knowing how I am and how hard I am on myself when I make mistakes, honesty just avoids problems and makes for a guilt free conscious (well, in most cases because we can never be mistake free). But, currently, I am stuck in my career and it seems that 99% of my colleagues get promoted or move on to better jobs by saying "white lies" and I, who choose to be honest, keep getting rejected. So it seems that life is punishing me for being honest. And even though life has never tested my honesty so harshly and I do not regret and don't intend to resorting to lying when convenient from now on, I have to admit that honesty is being my worst enemy right now. I know I have to hold on to the knowledge that I am doing the right thing by being honest and that good honest people always win in the end, but it is so hard not to lose that faith, that hope sometimes. And right now it is really hard for me. It is good to know that I am not the only one. And I wish someone could tell me that it is all worth it because all I am getting from people around me right now is that I need to change and that I need to learn how to pick my battles and learn when to lie and when not to. But to me, you can't be honest one day and dishonest the next, honest in some situations and dishonest in others and still call yourself honest. With me, you are either honest or you aren't. And if I give in to what they are saying then I can't call myself an honest person anymore and if I did that then I would be terribly disappointed in myself.