The value of honesty gets downplayed in our society. We say
that honesty is the best policy and that we wish we didn’t spew lie after lie
to one another. But are most of us even totally congruent in asserting these
things? In other words, how many people actually live up to a policy of
Statistics are not my goal here, so, in a nutshell, I am not going to answer that question. What I do wish to do, however, is uncover the ways in which we let dishonesty run amok and point out reasons to be more honest.
Perhaps one of the more sinister ways we do the former is through witnessing another’s dishonesty. When we are spending time with someone and we then watch them lie off their butt to another person, we may become uncomfortable with our lying-friend. Maybe we don’t consciously articulate this discomfort at first, but I suspect that it takes some form a good deal of the time.
I know that some people might not be offset by a friend’s dishonesty toward others, particularly if this friend is close and seems to be honest enough the rest of the time. Just how often this happens, again, I am uncertain.
There are two ways, then, that dishonesty triumphs when we witness it in another person. The first is when we are discomforted by the act of dishonesty and say nothing about it. The second is when we are not discomforted by the act of dishonesty and say nothing about the act.
The first scenario is a pretty typical manifestation of dishonesty, in that we tend to hold ourselves back for the sake of politeness and so-called “social harmony.” We must remember that to keep quiet about another person’s dishonesty is to ourselves be dishonest.
Maybe it would be considered impolite to call out another person’s lies, especially when they make them in order to avoid discomfort (e.g. saying “yes” to something they don’t want to do). Maybe the liar would be annoyed and assert that you would do the same thing if you were in his situation. He would probably get really annoyed if you informed his victim about the lies.
Anything we allow to carry on will likely persist up to a point and may even get worse. But is it really necessary to make note of someone’s white lies, even if they are merely making up an excuse to not go to some party?
Living Dishonestly and Unadventurously
For one thing, the excuse probably was not needed. The unwilling guest could just say “I can’t make it” and be done with it. You don’t always have to provide an explanation for your actions. No one is entitled to one. For all you know, people might not even care to have one most of the time.
It would not be quite dishonest to say you can’t make it to something even if your schedule at the time of the event is “free.” There is no “free” time anyway. Life doesn’t deliberately award you with some opportunity to be aimless for a few hours if you finish your work early. All time is equally a part of your life, and some day you won’t get anymore of it.
Your time is yours and it is limited, so you shouldn’t feel obliged to follow someone else’s agenda for your time. There are plenty of people who would like you to do certain things with your time. To avoid being pulled in four directions by every limb, you may need to adhere to values; that is, values which you actually value. If you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything. If there are things which, by your standards, you must give your time to, then no one can infringe on the way you use that time. T
his isn’t to say that you should pre-plan the rest of your life: sometimes you will simply want to allow yourself to be taken anywhere you may end up. You’ll just want to follow a trail, unaware of what lies further down in the woods.
If going to some ritzy-ditzy party does not align with your values, then, it would not be dishonest to say that you “can’t” make it. You can’t go because it would be a waste of your life, and there are few things more disgraceful than that. Don’t worry about presenting some intricate explanation: focus first on making your life an exclamation for all the things you’d like to do, rather than an explanation for all that you’ve done wrong.
The basic structure of your life should be determined by you. There are plenty of people who are not the conscious architects of their lives. They go to work from 9-5, mostly doing as instructed there (or even as they assume to be instructed). Then, most of the time they have left is taken up by social obligations- things they have to do- like go to parties, drive their kids here and there, make dinner for the family, and so on.
Of course, many of these activities get way too much hype for what they are worth. I’m sure we’ve all had our share of parties at which we’d rather be somewhere else.
And what for? Some social obligations should be adhered to- especially if you have kids- but what good is there in inflating an event that you’ve merely been trained to care about? If you’re just going to complain about all the presents you have to buy at Christmas 10-11 months from now, what’s the point of going through the trouble? Will a child cry because they didn’t get your cheap, bitterness-infused present? Will you be evil, or just a guy who doesn’t want to do something he doesn’t see the use of?
In the previous article, Stepped on, Misused, and Thrown to the Curb: When You Can’t Win with Women, I wrote about how women tend to dominate romantic relationships even though it may appear that men do. When it comes to parenting, it seems this may be the case with children. We assume that we have to do all these crazy things for them because, well, I have no idea why. Probably to prevent tears. We have to feed them horribly because they’ll be mad if they don’t get McDonald’s. We have to put them on stimulants so they’ll maybe do okay in school. We have to put all our attention into watching television with them, because god knows what if we don’t.
Maybe I am not qualified to make this criticism, but “I have kids” appears to be the most common excuse in our whole society. People can’t eat healthier, get away from the TV, do work they love and value all because there are wee people in their homes (and I'm not talking about elves).
Again, maybe I’m biased since I am not a parent. At least intellectually, I know that having a child can be really, really hard and emotionally intense and unsettling. I know there is pressure from all sides to raise your children perfectly, and one small step in the wrong direction can unjustly earn you the label of “bad parent.” You may worry constantly about screwing up, and beat yourself up when you perceive that you do.
Still, I can’t help but point out what I observe here. Saying nothing never got us very far (well, most likely). Plus, it’s relevant to the point of this article. So I shall carry on. :P
It amazes me how people freak out when the smallest thing appears to go wrong with their children, yet once the level of “good enough” is reached they don’t care. It’s a tragedy if they don’t quite hit the ~1000 calorie mark by 5 P.M., but if they eat chicken nuggets and drink soda to get there then that’s good enough. It’s terrible if they didn’t get over an 85 on their last test at school, but getting addicted to amphetamines which are bound to cause weight changes Gnd god knows what else is totally fine if they can bump their grades up to 90.
The irony of the “I have kids” excuse is that it is inadvertently used to justify making the lives of kids worse. The kids have to be subjected to countless things they should never put in their bodies, useless activities they don’t enjoy, and sitting on their butts, ruining their vision all day because “I have kids”; on top of that, the parents proclaim, "I must also do these things with them in some fashion." Oops.
I suppose social- and child-obligatory-silliness exemplifies living dishonestly. In this case, living dishonestly is also strongly linked to living unadventurously. We try so hard to settle, settle, settle and make our lives predictable. We try to fix things so that nothing will go too wrong- at least, not in the near future. Keeping our children from the uncertainty of outdoors and problems which we tend to drug (anxiety, depression, supposed inattention) may weaken them in the long run, but it creates just enough “harmony” in the present- and it does so easily.
Sometimes I wonder if there is anyone on this Earth more deluded than the parent. When they make mistakes, they don’t tell their children. Instead, they try to keep up the act of self-righteousness, leaving the child in a perpetual state of wrongness. They appear totally blind to the influence they have on their children. At the end of it all, no matter how dishonestly or unadventurously they have lived, they tell themselves that they have done a good job—even if the child too is dishonest. At least it is safe.
Perhaps that is why we cling to dishonesty, both in matters of how we live and in witnessing the dishonesty of others. Dishonesty is that thin veil that makes all that is dark look just light enough. It is the glazed eyes and forced smile that passes as just good enough.
Surely in most cases there is no need to interfere with it. Maybe getting past dishonesty could make our lives better, but it might also make things worse. If we tear apart the veil, what would become of people? Would they even be able to handle the truth?
Well, I can say with relative certainty that most people probably would not do well with Truth- at least, not at first. Truth almost always comes as a shock at first, but it is that shock which tends to lead to something far beyond what we ever could have imagined. Sadly, though, it is that very shock which we try so hard to avoid, as we think it will end us.
Reasons to be Honest
Injecting honesty into your social interactions is bound to create some shock. Some people will probably be dismayed at some of the things you say or do. What you may also find is that the person shocked the most is you, at realizing that most people will accept you and even respect you more for being honest.
A classic example of this is coming out of the closet. Up until a year ago I was always certain that people would reject and stigmatize me if they knew about my sexual orientation. Every single time I have told people, I have been pleasantly shocked to find myself in the wrong.
As time goes on, it has become less and less of a big deal. People essentially don’t react now. The response is mostly one of, “Oh, you like women? Okay,” almost as though I told them what I ate for breakfast.
Perhaps my honesty in this situation has shown me to the truth that society’s beliefs are changing, possibly because there is nothing inherently wrong with being homosexual in the first place. On top of that, certain details such as this about myself aren’t a big deal, and simply being honest about them makes my life easier and better.
Being honest opens doors for you. When I was training to race 100K this past Summer I didn’t want anyone to know, mainly to keep the “peace” and not have to deal with stupid questions and criticisms. I reluctantly did tell a few of my friends, however- one of whom ended up letting me stay in her dorm room the night before and after the race and who drove my car (with me in it) after I finished running because I was unable to.
Keeping secrets definitely can seem to make things more fun. It has always been alluring to me to stay on the down-low about what I think, what I feel, and what I’ve been doing. Maybe keeping quiet about your life creates deeper intimacy with that life. It’s like having a secret lover. Plus, the less you speak, the less unnecessary ridiculousness you have to respond to. How can keeping secret not be a win?
Well, you don’t have an obligation to share everything about yourself. In fact, you don’t have an obligation to share anything. To say that you cannot share something is not at all dishonest. It’s just like saying that you can’t make it to an event, even though your time then is “free”: if it would somehow infringe on the quality of your life to explain yourself and give people what they want, then there is no need for you to do so.
The problem seems to be that we can’t always tell ahead of time how beneficial or useless something will be to us. Sometimes you walk into a party muttering under your breath about how stupid it will be, and you walk out having had one of the best nights of your life. Other times your original judgment was correct, though you might learned a thing or two from the experience.
Likewise, sometimes when you reluctantly share your plans with others they offer to help you; other times they don’t care, and say nothing. You don’t even get a sense of relief from sharing yourself. “Damn,” you think, “I could have kept my secret after all!”
I’m not sure that there is a cut-and-dry solution for choosing your battles. I’d like to say that, generally, you should trust your gut and simply be honest. If you say that you can’t tell someone about something, you are still able to share it at another time with minimal issue (unless they get really upset that you “couldn’t tell them that”). Unless it is very important that this person knows this information now, you have committed no act of dishonesty.
On the other hand, if you make up an excuse you will have to push (and push hard) your way out of a web of lies and admit to dishonesty if you want to later share the truth. That, or you will have to continue to spin lie after lie to make your original lie “work.” If you get caught, you are bound to be met with some form of negativity, such as disappointment and distrust. The sooner you reveal the truth- even if you have first lied-, the less painful the effects of that truth will be.
Dishonest, or just Keeping Quiet?
Sometimes the lines between simply withholding information and being dishonest are blurry. When I told my parents that I was going to stay with my friend at her college for the weekend, I was not exactly lying. Neglecting to tell them that I would also be running a 62.1 mile race in that time, however, was undoubtedly dishonest.
It is difficult to say why, since all I did was withhold information. If I didn’t want them to know about it, what could I have possibly said that wasn’t unnecessary? “There’s a reason I’m going there, but I can’t tell you what it is”? That sounds silly.
Generally, I like to equate Truth to what works. Of course, these lines can be blurry also, since an alcoholic perceives that his habit “works” to keep his cravings in check. It’d be better to think of Truth, then, as what works best. We can never be totally sure of this, but we can certainly move towards it.
In that case, it might be useful to follow this rule of thumb: if it complicates your life to withhold information, then you are being dishonest by not sharing it. To be more specific, this does not include shallow social reactions of “Come on, why can’t you tell me!” It does include your mental, or “inner,” life.
Withholding my race plans from my parents definitely put unnecessary mental strain on me. The longer you have to live with the thought of “How am I ever going to tell them that?” the more it detriments you. The whole time I said how it was stupid that I didn’t just tell my parents, but I knew they would freak out and might even try to stop me.
Of course, I got a shocker: my mom was way more upset about my lying than my adventuring, and she said she would have liked to be there for part of the race. On top of that, I am trusted far less now. And all to avoid what might happen.
From this rule, we can say that dishonesty is measured largely based on how it affects you. You are the one who is hurt most by your dishonesty or helped most by your honesty. If something works for you, it is likely an act of honesty. Otherwise, it is dishonest.
I suppose this returns us to the original problem of making up excuses to not fulfill social obligations. However, I think I have resolved that already: if weaving the web of lies will ultimately make life more difficult for you, then don’t do it. If it serves you well enough to say “I can’t” without providing an explanation, then no explanation is needed. If it would be relieving and honest for you to be upfront and say “I don’t want to” or “I don’t like you” and “Don’t ever ask me again,” then go ahead.
As for pointing out another’s dishonesty, do it if and how you want to. I would focus more on confronting the culprit than the victim in this case (yeah, I guess the victim will just remain in the haze of lies. Sorry). If the liar is an important person to you, he probably should be made aware of your discomfort with his lying. If you can’t tell him that, how good of a friend is he really? How good of a friend are you?
When you strongly dislike someone, be honest with yourself and be aware of why. If you don’t understand why you think and feel the way you do, how can you possibly be honest? Being so harsh with another person, then, might not always be honest.
Sometimes, imposing your lack of self-awareness on other people will help you to become more self-aware. Action can provide clarity; but, typically this action must be reflected on. Get honest with yourself before you start taking too many bold swings of honesty at other people. Otherwise, people may shake their heads when they see how deluded you are.
I am wondering at this point just how valuable secrets are. Does it make an ultramarathon more enjoyable that no one knows I am doing it? Is the strongest kind of love secret love? Or do such secrets lock us in a mindjail which keeps us disconnected from other human beings and a more enjoyable, honest life?
It certainly seems reasonable for a pregnant woman to keep quiet about the situation in the first trimester, when miscarriage and “cold feet” are most likely. There is no need to rile everyone up and get them excited to start making plans, gossiping, and buying presents for the whole thing to just go caput. Certainly I can identify with the desire to avoid stupid criticisms, questions, and other qualms.
On top of that, if someone asks whether she is pregnant and she says “No,” the other person seems to be understanding once the truth is later revealed—and, that is, without an erosion of trust. If it does not unnecessarily complicate the woman’s life to keep quiet, then there should be no problem with this deliberate and temporary “dishonesty”.
If she experiences mental strain, however, then relieving that strain will likely outweigh her having to deal with stupid criticisms and qualms.
Radical Honesty: What if you are Always Brutally Honest?
It looks like Honesty is largely a game of weighing and considering what is in your best self-interest. I’d like to say, of course it is: your best self-interest can very well overlap with the collective best-interest. Certainly we are not, in essence, totally separate from one another. If being truthful serves me, it will likely serve you somehow, too.
What I’ve talked about so far, however, is mostly tactical-honesty: being honest when it appears it will serve you- which is likely most of the time-, and strategically withholding information otherwise. I haven’t said much about being 100% honest all the time.
Okay, is that even possible? Well, I have written it before: Honesty, like the other Realness principles, is a process rather than a static state. If you make a conscious effort at it you will become more honest as time goes on, though there is no point at which you hit 100% honesty because honesty evolves as you do. Its definition is ever-changing, just like you are. In that sense, you could say that honesty is more of an idea than a thing. But, it is a very important idea.
So in absolute terms, no, it is not possible to be 100% honest ever. But that’s okay, because we’re concerned with relative terms. Absolutes are typically theoretical, and pure theory usually doesn’t match up with reality anyway. Relative = reality.
It would be more practical, then, to ask, “What is honest for me right now?” Again, as time goes on living honestly will take on a different appearance for you as your interests change and you learn more about yourself. But, all you have access to is what you know to be true right now, so start there.
This might be a good point to note that the term “mindjail” is used by Dr. Brad Blanton, who wrote a book called Radical Honesty. I have not read it- and in all honesty, I feel uncomfortable with talking about people whose work I have not read- but I do know that Blanton has some fabulous ideas about honesty.
And that may be a funny way to put it, because “fabulous” is probably the last word which describes this guy: Blanton considers himself to be “white trash with a PhD.” On top of that, his policy of brutal honesty doesn’t exactly make him into some polished-image of so-called “beauty.” I suspect he is just the opposite.
If he truly is radically honest, I’d like to think that whatever image people may have of this man doesn’t matter, as it would only fall apart in the face of his noble, honest wrath. I’d also like to imagine that he doesn’t deliberately try to follow or project some image he has of himself. Of course, this would make sense because a self-image is the epitome of dishonesty, and it cannot persist in the face of honesty.
Blanton appears more concerned with speaking honestly rather than living honestly, though the two are by no means mutually exclusive. Certainly working on one will enhance your ability to do the other. I tend to focus more on living honestly, though I’m not sure that you deliberately have to place your focus on either one or the other. It might not even be accurate to consider them separate. Just work on both and you’ll be swell. :P
In speaking honestly to others, Blanton suggests starting some of your sentences with, “I appreciate you for” or “I resent you for…” So if you feel my article helps you, for instance, you could contact me saying, “I appreciate you for helping me to live more honestly.” Otherwise, you could tell me that “I resent you for wasting my time.” All I ask is that you be honest.
What I know of Blanton is that he doesn’t play games. If he wants you to stop talking, he’ll tell you that he wants to do something else, or that he stopped listening a minute ago. I’m definitely a novice at getting people to shut up.
However, I’m not comfortable with shutting people up too early. Probably at least once a day I assume someone is going to say something stupid to me, and then it turns out to be relatively important or interesting. So maybe it’s not dishonest for me to keep listening; rather, I have a faulty way of how I relate to other people. My map of reality is inaccurate. Perhaps I could say that I have an issue with thinking honestly, then.
Focusing only on tactical honesty still makes it too easy to compromise yourself and instead heed so-called “politeness” and “social harmony.” Aiming to be radically honest, on the other hand, will wedge out all the garbage you’ve been hiding-- in particular, things you’ve been on the fence about sharing. That is, unless you really and truly don’t want to share, in which case you can keep quiet with no problem.
Becoming Radically Honest
Though it scares me, the premise of being radically honest is one I can’t get out of my head. If it’s even possible to do so, I love it and I fear it. Just imagine how much more relaxed my life could be if I stop worrying about what will happen if people find out certain things about me…
Of course, I generally like to think that living a Real life means that your life is more exciting than it is easy. Certainly, though, some of that excitement arises from banishing unnecessary difficulties, such as the effects of lies. In that way most of the challenges you face are Real, as opposed to trivial and artificial. Realness is the absence of unnecessary triviality and the presence of challenge- even if your challenge is to stop buying into the trivial.
So I write enough about being Honest, and I’ve said how I value it so much because I struggle with it. Well, if I really value Honesty then I will become more Honest, no? Might it be time that I stop holding back not only in how I live, but also in how I relate to others? If I become more Honest with other people, won’t it follow that I will also become more Honest with myself?
Of course, I am not fearless about this premise. If I was then I’d be a darned radically-honest woman already.
For one thing, I don’t even want to think about all the conflict this could create. How the heck am I going to tell certain people that I don’t like being around them and I don’t like when they do certain things? Do I really need to do that? I don’t like unnecessary arguments in which I go around what I really want to say… But of course, if I’m radically honest there will be no need for that. Hm.
I think this “experiment” will reveal to me just how petty a lot of my so-called “problems” are. It amazes me how much more people seem to fear social sanctions than anything else. If you ask almost any girl on a high school track team what her biggest fear is about this race, it’s that she doesn’t want to come in last. The reason: it would be embarrassing.
Are you kidding me? You’re about to go lay out your maximum potential doing something amazing, and you’re worried about embarrassing yourself? You could have an asthma attack! You could break a leg! You could stop breathing and die! Who cares what other people think?!
Alas, few of us are much better. I caused a minor car accident the other day (actually two, to be honest), and my highest concern was legal issues and how the other person would react. As though a few conversations are more frightening than the premise that I could have killed us.
The physiological fears certainly still do come to mind, but they don’t seem to have as strong of a hold on us as the social fears.
What’s the deal here? Why does the premise of running 100 miles in sub-zero temperatures bother me less than how I’m going to tell people about it (although, the tables are quickly turning here, with only 10 days to go).
It might just be, as always, plain ol’ social conditioning. Somehow it gets into our heads that appearing in a certain way to others is the most important thing. Doing what seems to be expected of you is more important than your growth, fulfillment, and health. Of course, it might help to ask what is expected of us every now and then, but we tend not to do that.
So it seems that if we were to stop fearing the social sanctions of our actions, most of our “problems” would disappear. Then we can focus more on life’s Real challenges. I suspect that having the audacity (or ballsiness) to be Honest can help immensely with that.
And really our social fears are, in essence, the only block to being Honest. To crush these fears, then, we must confront them directly through being Honest. This is how we must face most fears: to resolve the fear, we must do what we fear. Otherwise, fear will persist.
When you are radically honest, you are bound to scare and shock some people. Some may even tell others to avoid you or call the police, depending on just how batsh*t crazy you are.
At the same time, all the nice things you’d like to say but normally hold back will now come out. Finally, you will freely tell people if you think they are beautiful, just as you will let them know when you are ignoring them. Just as you stir fear in some people, then, with others you will forge love. Honesty tends to polarize audiences.
It seems to me that, by the process of Honesty, your life steadily unfolds. You become Honest about what you think and what you’d like to do, and life takes off into some madness from there. In this regard, Honesty tends to be much more powerful than dishonesty. Honesty propels you forward into adventure, whereas dishonesty locks you into stagnation. You are not a spider: when you weave the web of lies, you become trapped in it.
Surely there is a more effective way of playing out this process than revealing one somewhat-significant piece of information at a time, doing so maybe every few months. What if you put something on the table almost as soon as it came up? What if your default was to act on Honesty? How quickly might your life move- and your growth happen- then? How many amazing opportunities might flood you?
I’ve been concerned that making a shift to radical honesty will put too much mental strain on me going into a 100 mile race. However, the overall “theme” of my life since I signed up seems to be getting rid of things I don’t need, and surely I don’t need all the garbage I’ve pent up in my mind, both big and small.
Growth and success tend to have a lot to do with taking out the trash. Being able to love and to go on adventures unabashedly, for instance, requires that you remove the blocks you have to doing these things. I suppose this idea just seems more potent to me now than usual.
Maybe, then, it would help my race efforts to attempt radical honesty. I’m sure that after the initial shock I will be able to think much more clearly. Few things could be more important to running effectively than thinking clearly.
I suppose a 30 day trial might be an effective form for this. It’s not that I’m uninterested in permanently becoming more honest: it’s just that it might be easier on me mentally if I see this as temporary. Additionally, seeing that my effort is constrained by time will likely push me to make a better effort. The body does less to reserve energy once it sees the finish line. There will certainly be more races, and life doesn’t shut off after this race is “over,” but the appearance of an ending better allows me to do my best right now.
Running two trials at once could get a tad overwhelming and make both changes all the more difficult, but An Unusual 30 Day Trial is pretty low-maintenance. Unless you’re eating non-nutritious junk, it’s not that hard to eat until you’re full. I could argue that eating as much as I’d like to is a form of living honestly anyway. :P
The Rules of being (sort of) Radical
So, any effective trial must have rules. It would probably help a butt-ton to read Radical Honesty first, but I don’t want to put this off anymore. Nevertheless, this is probably the hardest part.
So, let’s see here: if I don’t want to talk to someone, I don’t have to tell them that. Unless saying something would be the only way to get them to shut up, I don’t have to say anything.
Whatever is on my mind, I must say. If I want to talk to someone about subjective reality, then I must do so. If I’ve been considering telling someone about a plan I have, I must share that plan with them.
I can freely tell people about this trial as I wish to. To not do so would be dishonest.
Honesty generally requires that I share complete thoughts. This means that instead of just saying “I don’t want to do this,” I add “and I’m not going to” or “but I’m probably going to anyway,” or any other appropriate ending.
To use words that are vague would be dishonest. If I call someone a dick, I have to elaborate. I have to define what I mean by that. Otherwise, the only dick in the house will be me, and I don’t even have one. To be honest, I think the previous sentence is stupid. Whatever that means.
If it isn’t viable to talk to someone, such as during an exam or when they’re lifting a mega weight, then I am excused from speaking to them for that time. I have to be careful not to lean on this rule too much, though, since I always look for an excuse to keep from talking to someone.
If I’m harboring Anne Frank in the attic, playing poker, or in a life-or-death situation, I can lie. Interactions with the government will be taken on a case-by-case basis (but I’m unlikely to have any of those).
I don’t have to act on the instantaneous abstract thought-feeling that arises out of nowhere, as that could too easily become talking nonstop. Remember that Honesty is meant to serve us, though this doesn’t mean that it won’t result problematically sometimes. I can take a moment to mill over something that seems really ridiculous, but not too long- that will too easily become excuse.
I can’t force this rule on to you since you’re not me, but if you think I’m walking on eggshells and bullsh*tting around, I would like you to let me know somehow. I might squirm, but don’t worry about my feelings: as long as I am Honest I can handle my own psychology. If it looks like you are causing me to struggle, you are actually helping me to be more successful. Keep calling me out. The more people who hold me accountable to this, the more likely I am to be successful.
I can tell that a policy of honesty will require me to talk quite a bit more than usual. Way, way more.
Getting through this trial may take a lot of reassuring myself. I will have to keep in mind the benefits that Honesty often brings and the unnecessary trivialities that tend to come with dishonesty. If I am Honest, other people are more likely to be Honest. If I change myself, then my reality- or, if you rather, my world- will change as well. There is no way I can effectively preach Honesty if I am not first Honest myself.
I don’t want to deal with the difficulties of lying anymore. There are probably few things I do that are worse for my life. There is probably nothing more stupid that I do than act and speak dishonestly. There is no easier way to ruin your life than lying. If you’re more interested in the path of personal degradation than the path of growth, start with lying. It will do you wonders.
So, without further ado, I think you’re probably an idiot, but that just reflects how I think I’m an idiot. And that is a stupid and useless belief to have. Saying this probably won’t work, but to Hell with it. Hopefully this trial will help me to think less stupid things.
And so it begins. ;)
"I Think You're Fat" by A.J. Jacobs: http://www.esquire.com/features/honesty0707
Update, 8/20/2017: I never actually did do this 30-day trial. It was too scary, but it's probably for the best that I didn't. See my follow-up piece, Radical Honesty, Part Two: Liberate Yourself.
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(Written on 14 January 2015)