According to Websters Dictionary, Honesty is defined as fairness and straightforwardness of conduct.
Let’s think about that for a second. The definition of honesty has nothing in it regarding speech or verbal communication. It talks only about conduct, about behavior. What I hear you saying is “and…” OK, well here’s the deal. Being an honest person has nothing to do with the stories you tell nor the things you say. Being honest is about having your actions match your words in such a way that you are straightforward and fair. Another term for it would be integrity. Doing what you say you are going to do.
This is not a small order. There are a few things that you need to know before you start living the honest principle. First, you are going to mess it up. A lot. That’s OK. You are learning this new principle and like with all things we learn, you will mess up. The important thing in all of this is that you acknowledge your mistake, learn from it and keep moving forward. Secondly, you will soon discover that living honestly will cause quite the ruckus among people around you. Living honestly can be very intimidating for others who are not. This is not a place of judgment, but just a reaction to living by principles from those who have yet to understand. This is a great time for you to practice your principles! Be the example and if they inquire, share with them this blog and your own experience with living your principles. Thirdly, living principles can be like opening a giant window on your past behavior. If you are like me, you may lean toward bullying yourself for these past mistakes. The past is the past. Those were lessons you weren't ready to face yet, but that doesn't make them lost. If I have learned anything, it is that a lesson will continue to show up until you learn it. Just be patient and you will get the chance to grow from it.
Lets touch on fear of honesty for a moment. Yes, people are deeply afraid to be honest with their actions and there are also people who are deeply afraid of being around someone who is honest. I believe this all boils down to vulnerability. Being honest is vulnerable. What if people turn away from me? Or don’t believe my honesty? What if I get used because I am an honest person? Let me state very clearly here….all of that WILL happen. Some of your friends will no longer be your friends. There are others that will not believe anything about you and will take your honesty as manipulation. There will be moments where someone will take advantage of you and you will have to face some negative consequences due to that. And all of that will be OK. The friends that walk away will open space for friends that enjoy your honesty, who may even want to live the principles right there with you. The people who refuse to believe in your candidness are just people who cannot recognize it for what it is. And those that take advantage of you will have their own consequences to face. Just know that you will be far better off than them. The Universe will balance it all out for you. Whatever is stolen from you, will come back to you.
Beginning to be honest. You may face some fear here. There may be a little voice in your head telling you that because you haven’t been honest from the very beginning, that it is pointless to change your conduct now. Let’s just take a second to look at that statement. Really examine it. Is it possible to be honest in your conduct “from the very beginning”? The visual I have in my heard right now is of an infant calmly and maturely discussing why they may have been crying not be fed or changed, but simply to be held and engaged. Possibly apologizing for any misunderstanding that may have been communicated. When we examine our fears, most of the time they do turn out to be ridiculous. There is no better time than right now to start living the honest principle. So how do we do it?
Living honestly starts with very small steps. It includes not stealing pens off the counter at retail shops or restaurants. It includes going back to the store when you see something in your cart that you didn't pay for. It includes showing up on time for an event you have committed. It is not canceling plans at the last minute barring illness or emergency. It is paying your bills on time, because you made a commitment to pay them on time. It is showing up to work 10 minutes early and leaving 10 minutes after your set leave time. It is coming back from break on time. These seem so little and inadvertent, but the impact you will have on your life from living honestly will be immeasurable. People will begin to respect you, your work and your word.
Begin a journal in which you can write your honesty deeds of the day. Keep track of the smallest act of honesty. Focus solely on the times you successfully completed honesty. Each day continue your list. The key here is PRACTICE NOT PERFECTION. And remember to be kind to yourself! You are just learning these steps, allow yourself to stumble occasionally.
Honesty is ACTION. What you will find is that over time your actions will create honesty with your words. You will be uncomfortable when you are not straightforward and fair and you will be urged to correct your behavior to return your sense of peace. In a very short time, you will see such a vast difference between the life you lived before the Principles. You will hardly recognize yourself.
Stay tuned next week for the next direction on your moral compass....Hope!