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Honesty is still the best policy

By Christopher Emmanuel

“And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (Jn. 8:32).
“Psychologists have long known that some deception is a normal, healthy part of human behavior, often starting in children about the age of 4 or 6. Children learn quickly at an early age that; Telling the truth will sometimes get you in trouble. It’s not nice to hurt people’s feelings. If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything. It’s okay to protect a friend. Always play to win. As adults, most people lie routinely, if usually harmlessly, to get through the day.

However the repercussions of dishonesty can be quite devastating. Just consider Marion Jones, American born of Belizeans. Her hard work and dedication has been marred by the lie she carried for many years. Being stripped of her winnings and now financially bankrupt is the result of a lie going too far.

But being honest goes deeper than growing up, and owning up. Considering what I see on TV and on the Internet, one would think that lying has become acceptable. TV commercials use situations in which the character is lying to sell us a product, TV programs feature “lovable” characters that lie to their friends and employer to “protect themselves”, our daily email contains unsolicited emails that have in the subject line “in reply to your email” or that thank you for signing up to their list when you never did.

Lying seems to have become a way of life. We are lied to in order to sell us something: whether a product, an “official truth”, a new government policy. We are even lied to in order to “protect us”. And we are lied to for entertainment purposes.”

Despite all the technical reasons why people lie, it all boils down to this: fear, vanity, greed and hatred.
Fear: The easiest reason to understand why we lie is for (1) self-protection, including self-deception, to prevent harm to ourselves. This harm can be either physical or mental. (2) Conflict; we all fear having an argument. (3) Punishment: When growing up, how often did we lie about how well we did in school, or who started a fight? How often do we cover up our mistakes and transgressions? Placing blame to get someone in trouble? (4) Vanity; Sometimes, our insecurities are the foundation of why we lie to each other, because we want to remain popular in our circle. Typically, it is harmless boasting to make oneself appear more admirable to other people. (5) Greed; this is usually to prevent the loss of personal objects, such as money or expensive valuables. (6) Humane reasons: We often lie to help our friends and loved ones. How often do we flatter someone just to make them feel better? This is the only selfless reason why we lie.

We all lie, at times. It causes problems, almost all the time. So why do we do it? Experts say, its lack of Self -esteem and fear. When we feel threatened or fearful of an outcome in situation we are more likely to fib. Being honest in our society today is quite challenging when the fact is, sometimes lying is the best approaching for protecting privacy and our selves and others from mischief. But all out lies (whether they involve leaving out the truth or putting on something false) are harmful, as they corrode trust and intimacy- the backbone of relationship and society.

And because lying has become more understood in today’s society, lying has become more acceptable. It has sometimes even become an admirable and useful social skill. “The default ought to be to be honest and accurate … We’re better off if honesty is the norm. It’s like the old saying: honesty is the best policy.”

Below are some simple ways to tell the truth more often.

1. Live truth long term: Think before you tell a lie, consider how much lying you will have to do to maintain your deception. The road to hell is paved with good intentions gone wrong. This hold true especially in business relationships.

2. Be simple and direct with your words: In other words “Get to the point.” Say the truth in the simplest terms not to give the wrong impressions. Misleading is lying just as well. Don’t create roads that lead to a dead end.

3. Say you don’t know: ignorance is bliss, when you don’t know its most often the best place for you to be. Don’t make a false story. Knowledge has responsibility. Silence is an unknown journey. Those who know often don’t speak unless spoken to.

4. Question your Fear: When you are tempted to tell a lie, consider what you are afraid of by telling the truth. Many times your reason for lying is based on a false belief held only within yourself. Rather than “I think that..” why not ask the questions and get the right answers?

5. Honesty starts with you first: Cages are built one lie at a time, the bars only appear when its time to leave. Don’t  live a false life by convincing yourself of a false identity. See yourself for what you are and find your own personal center of truth. Accept your faults and see them as a gift for wisdom.

Books by Christopher Emmanuel can be purchased at his Art Gallery in The Sunbreeze Hotel , Art of Touch, Pages Book Store, Black orchid Spa and  Sol Spa.

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