Honesty Is Such A Lonely Word These Days

Honesty Day is marked in some parts of the world on April 30 of each year.

M. Hirsh Goldberg, former press secretary to a governor of Maryland and author of five books, created National Honesty Day in the early 1990s after spending four years researching and writing The Book of Lies (Morrow). This book has been translated into Japanese, Korean and Chinese.

Goldberg created this day because he felt that the month of April, which begins with a big day of lying (April Fools Day), “should end on a higher moral note.

Honesty? No, Many Prefer Lies

honestyI am fast coming to the conclusion that many people prefer liars.

Storytelling is my hobby, craft and may even be my sole livelihood one day. It, however, has not and will never be the means through which I get a lover, a job or wealth.

My “stories” are about my journey. Frankly, there are enough twists and turns in my life’s plot thus far for me to bother embellishing.

You would think the same is true of the man sitting or languishing in prison. What of the woman whose car was repossessed? Take for instance, when a house sold from under someone to pay their debts? Would not that person have every reason to face the truth?

Is it denial or some misguided understanding of the “positive thinking” philosophy when a person tries to convince another of their wealth while driving a taxi for a living?

Why Bother With Lying, Bro?

No, I am not suggesting that a Taxi driver cannot amass wealth. Most certainly she or she can. That is especially true if they have great money management skills and investment advice. However, take the guy who tried to give me this story. It was told to me by a Jamaican taxi driver years ago on one of my visits to the island.

liesHe said that he owns a multimillion-dollar property. The property he claims is rented out and earns him a couple of thousand US dollars per month.  This man was driving an unlicensed taxi. Given his age and the overall state of the Jamaican economy at the time and even now, I asked him how did he come into this property.

The story that followed was so outrageous! It was so thickly coated with lies to the point of extreme annoyance. To top it off, this grown man was unable to put more than a few litres of gas in his car. The fellow invited me out. While I am far from the type of woman who needs to be regaled at anyone’s expense, my ‘well to do’ acquaintance could only buy a bottle of water!  He most certainly needed it more than I did, as his throat was parched, for all the tales he was spinning.

Honesty is In Short Supply

Do people lie and pathologically so because there are so many who listen and unquestioningly accept their stories as true?

Personally, I have done so in the past. Fearing that I might lose a ‘friendship’, a relationship or even a job, I accepted the stories. For instance, I turned a blind eye to the misdeeds of those in authority. Said nothing to contradict the fable being told by politicians and friends alike. Fear immobilized me and zipped my lips.

Later on, I swung to the other end of the pendulum. You know the saying, “brutally honest?” Well, that is what I became. Sparing no words, I would tell you and you and you as it is. Calling anyone to the mat became my hobby until I noticed a couple of things.

It made no difference!


Be The Change

honestyPeople will do, say and be what they want and for as long as they wanted. That was the first thing. Secondly, I was the one being hurt and angered by the brutality of my honesty.

Mahatma Gandhi’s famous words were my saving grace. “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” When that sunk all the way down into my heart, my silence and my brutal honesty ended.

Some think that I have lost my fire. Maybe I have.

I am no longer interested in debating the rightness or wrongness of anyone’s behaviour or words. My interest lies solely in my own words from which my deeds flow.

Did I lie and engage in dishonesty with abandon? Yes, it is a process that took me many years to learn. So, it took quite a while and lots of practice to unlearn. With time, honesty, full disclosure, complete truth-telling and open communication became my hallmark. Inner peace has come along as a constant companion.

Another thing that I have noticed is that those would be liars who come into my experience, attracted by any remnants of my own dishonest behaviour, are soon repelled. Their true colours are more easily spotted and I more quickly ask them to leave my space or I walk away.

Is truth-telling an important factor in your decision to be in a relationship with anyone? Are you a truth-teller?

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