Being Honest

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People often use ‘being honest’, as an excuse for insult without repercussions.

I wonder, just how many times have we taken this new liberation, new guise, to say what we know will hurt. People have taken ‘truth telling’ to a whole new level.

” Oh you’re a bit chubby aren’t you? and have a large nose…” or “Hi… you have an overbearing personality…”

“Don’t be insulted, I was just telling the truth…” says the honest one.

Well, the honest truth is, there are a billion and one ‘truths’ in the world. The sky is blue = truth. The grass is green= truth. It doesn’t mean we go out spewing ‘GRASS IS GREEN!” or “SKY IS BLUE!” at every random turn. It doesn’t mean we go out and keep on saying ‘Hey you are quite fat hor?” at every turn either.

I am all for truth, for honesty, but who are we to be the self-proclaimed liberators of people living lies?

Most of the time, people are aware of their physical properties, they are aware of their flaws. We are our own worst critics after all. So do we really help them further by pointing it out? If anything, we increase their insecurities.

IF the argument is that truth telling leads to ‘helping’ others realize their mistakes or negatives, no one is really that ‘nice’ and ‘helpful’. People make claims to their good intent, but the question here IS this said intent. Is your ‘truth’ coming from a place of love, or from nothing more than nasty criticism? And its almost impossible to prove ‘intent’, other than our own gut feelings.

There needs to be a very wise, very discerning practice on helping others by pointing out truths. There is a very fine line, and what separates the line remains still, blurred.

We cannot begin to exercise our judgement on other people’s lives, it is just not our place.

p.s./ This is a reminder to myself, as much as it is a post for the world.

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7 comments

  1. yknow what gets me everytime?
    ‘no offence but…’ whenever someone starts a sentence like that, you KNOW that they intend to offend you.

  2. I think people have a misconception on honesty; people are starting to think it’s an obligation, something they need to do to everyone just to prove how genuine and un-superficial they are, although they’ve misused it as some sort of justification for being a dick. Politeness isn’t just a bunch of empty gestures – they’re designed so we err on the side of caution, and gradually, when we get to know a person, we get a hang of what’s acceptable to say and what’s not.

    Anyone can be honest, but being honest sincerely – in a way that doesn’t come off with a condescending attitude, is not something everyone can do right off the bat. You need to EARN that right to be honest. Honesty is NOT an obligation, it’s a privilege. It’s one thing to meet you for the first time and say “God, you’re fat.” and another thing to have known you five years, understood your problems, and go, “Listen, I care about you, and we need to talk about your lifestyle choices.” The same way I’m not obligated to tell you my problems the first time we meet; you need to earn my trust to earn the right to be honest and harsh with me.

    I think this quote is relevant – “People won’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care,” – John C. Maxwell.

    1. how superb-ly expressed khairie.
      i agree. you should be honest i believe. with those that youre extremely close to and know you dont have to hide behind tact and stuff, you can say whatever you want without metering any thought of yours. but with those you dont know so well, there is an employable tactic called tact. people ought to use it. say what you want, just the way you want, but never forget that you ALWAYS have the option of being nice as well.

  3. Hi Jowee, thank you for writing this post. I’m an anonymous reader but I was truly blessed by it. I think you’ve brought up some great points. A person who regards himself as honest may simply say “But I just am and therefore I speak.” But we forget that those on the receiving end may not be hurt or receptive to the honesty that you have highlighted in your post. That is, most people do know their own flaws (but whether or not they are making a conscious effort to improve or are just too proud to accept it, this is another discussion for another day.)

    We have to ask ourselves what our underlying intentions are when we say something about and to someone – will it build the person up? Even if our criticisms were out of good intentions, we need to know the other person well enough to discern what to say (and what not to say). Otherwise those good intentions fall flat. So many relationships (in all kinds) are destroyed by what people say to each other because of a lack of understanding and a lack of discernment. The bible says, “Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue.” (Proverbs 17:28)

    1. Christine, thank you so much for your comment, you have no idea how much I needed it today (bad day, long story, heh heh). I am greatly encouraged and greatly blessed by the scriptures.
      Hope to hear from you again. πŸ™‚

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