Friday, December 27, 2013

Honesty 2.0

I wrote a post on honesty as it relates to recovery at one point. Here's the link:

I'm revisiting this issue in a different way, because I'm starting to realize that the world is made up of all kinds of people, both honest and dishonest. When I was younger, I always assumed that everyone wanted the world to be a better place with everyone getting along, a world in which people would strive to do the right thing and be real. Obviously that's not the case. Whether people lie for selfish reasons or are sick and can't control it, lies, unfortunately, occur all over the place. Of course, some of the reasons why people lie are more understandable than others.

When it comes to being embarrassed about addictions or behaviors, lying makes at least some kind of sense, or when someone lies in an effort to avoid hurting another person, most people can understand it, even though it's not exactly appropriate or just. I have to admit that I don't get why people are dishonest for selfish purposes, especially when the untruths are so easily exposed as such. Don't they feel icky when they engage in this kind of behavior? Don't they have trouble sleeping at night?

What I find baffling is when someone is caught in a lie and, instead of acknowledging it, sticks to the story, sometimes getting deeper into the dishonesty hole by creating new stories in an attempt to cover or support the first one. Either that or the person clings to the lie, insisting it's true when all evidence points in the opposite direction. Of course, there are those who simply ignore the topic when it's brought to their attention that you know they're not being above board.

People lie about dumb little things too. Recently someone told me about a song being on a certain playlist in 2005, long before the song was even out. Why lie about that? First, it's so easily proven wrong, and second, it's so trivial. I struggle to understand the motivation behind those kinds of lies. My mom insists it's insecurity on the part of the liar. She could be right, or maybe it could be the opposite, someone with too much of an ego to make an effort to do and say the right thing.

I should clarify that I'm not talking about two people seeing a situation differently. It's not about feelings that change or situations that evolve into something new. There are times when new information is brought into light, and a person can see things in a new way. These cases have nothing to do with outright lying. Withholding information and keeping secrets can mean you're slipping into the gray area, but how hurtful those errors in honesty can be to yourself or others is based on the situation.

Brutal honesty with yourself can be tricky matter. If you have to question it, you are probably on a dangerous slope. Usually you know you're either over the line or not, but sometimes it's not so cut and dry. I occasionally catch myself when it comes to my OCD behavior, and I generally know when I'm not being true to myself. Other times I'm not so sure, as training is supposed to be healthy, and I can easily get caught up in what I "should" do instead of what my body can handle.

With so much dishonesty in the world, it's hard to learn to trust, but there are people who aim to be above board. The key is to avoid those who can't resist manipulating the truth and surround yourself with people who aim to be authentic and real. It helps to remain honest when you are among others who are too.

I come back to this idea that it takes honesty to recover from an addiction. More than that, being honest is just a better way to operate in the world. We have so little in terms of knowing about others, so when someone lies, it creates unnecessary distance between individuals and lasting distrust and animosity. It shakes others and unfairly puts another person's reality in question.

I love this concept taken from the Goldfinch, a book I have yet to read. The quote isn't exact, but the idea is there:  "It's not about outward appearances; it's about inward significance." 

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