Although the dictionary says that truth and honesty are synonymous, I believe that truth can exist without honesty, but honesty cannot exist with truth. Honesty is truth with integrity, with candor, with humility.
What is being truthful? The definition of truth is the quality of being true, that which is true or in accordance reality or fact. Something that is true is accepted as fact. How easy is it to be truthful? Can we speak truths that are just words based on fact? Are they then truths if the facts are intermingled with other words to bring to life the emotions that we feel about the truth? Are they true because, at the moment it is fact but can change when more is discovered? Well of course. At the moment it is reality and it is fact.
My next question of course is: what is honesty? The dictionary tells us that honesty is the quality of being honest and the synonyms do include truthfulness, but there are more synonyms that are not synonymous with truth. These include integrity, fairness, probity, virtue, morality, transparency (hence the reason the transparent seedpods of the honesty plant is the reason it is named as such), and my favorite: honor, openness and ethics. Could something filled with honesty just because at this moment it is true? Possibly so. Is something honest just because it is true? Possibly not.
For me, this means that truth is like the short version of honesty. Truth allows us the possibility of shutting out the thoughts of ego, reasons for our choices, acceptance that our reality might not be an others reality. It allows us to speak without fear that things might change, it speaks volumes of what we think reality is. It is just the facts, we don’t lie, we don’t take into consideration of integrity, candor, transparency, and the possibility of reality changing. Could the lack of telling the truth be honest? Could, in any relationship, we justify not telling the truth through avoidance? I think so. It could be the bits of fact that are spoken that illuminate the protection of our ego, or own feelings without much consideration of others by eliminating the things that might illuminate the ugly in ourselves. Could it be that we don’t want to hurt their feelings? Sure. But are these honest actions? I think not.
Honesty takes truth and adds an openness that can make us vulnerable. We may be opening up to someone who may not care, or become angry or we could be misunderstood. This is where we address the fears attached to being honest. How do we justify the fears we may have of these side effects of honesty? What if we had already come to terms with not only admitting our weaknesses but embraced them, for they have been apart of making us who we are. They are our challenge to become better.
Truths can be spoken that leave out reason, our ego (or even alter ego) , our feelings and our understanding of the person we are speaking to. Honesty adds a layer of truth that honors both parties despite the fact that the reality may be a little more hurtful because it is the truth, if we can leave our ego and protection out of it, we can relay the fact that there is no judgement on them, just a mutual vulnerability. Honesty opens us to the vulnerabilities of the truth for both parties, not just a truth that hurts one or the other. It invites conversation that can then lead to intense understanding and growth. And, by approaching the truth with honesty, we tend to speak with humility and integrity, we are open to enlightenment of what the other parties honest truth is. We can both love and accept our own along with the others weaknesses. For as my weaknesses have helped build me, so has theirs. Honesty allows us to speak the truth in full and without judgement. It allows for transparency that can eliminate misunderstandings and opens our hearts to others. Honesty is the whole truth, it leaves nothing to interpretation or further misunderstandings, it allows both parties to grow and learn of our own behaviors and creates desire to become more honest and a better communicator and a better person as a whole.
By accepting the fact that we are going to make mistakes, have an ego, protect ourselves from the pain of the truth, but we speak it anyway, we become vulnerable. We can let that be the truth we speak as it is or we can add integrity, candor and transparency to that and make it honest. What I think honesty is what it takes to understand that we are not alone in our actions. Others feel vulnerable to the truth too. For example, if someone calls me a bitch, I become defensive, but if someone tells me that I am a bitch and they talk to me about where I am coming from and that they have been a bitch too, my defenses drop and an honest conversation can be created. One where the walls have been brought down and we can both speak from a vulnerable place and not be judged. The fact that I have been shunned many a times by many a persons for not just speaking the truth but admitting my faults when it comes to the same subject, it is understandable, but if they are not open to dialog, what can I do, it just stands as a truth. But by being honest about my weaknesses, I hope that they will soften and come into a safe place to talk about the honest truth, without judgement. I can also be a soulless crazy ginger, or a sad pathetic mess, these are the truth, but the honesty lies in the why and how. Sometimes I am shunned because some people are intimidated by the fact I admit my faults openly with no fear of judgement. And sometimes I am shunned because my honesty doesn’t jive with their truths. Well, so what, I am being honest, they don’t have to reciprocate, and I accept and respect that. I can hope for something different, but I can’t make that happen. But the beauty lies with those that understand my approach. Those that can see the integrity and candor with which I speak, that may at first be offended, but when they grasp the fact that I still respect them and even love them and would love an open, honest conversation to enrich learning and understanding between us, it becomes so much more. It becomes raw honesty.
What does all of this have to do with loving ourselves? What does self love have to do with being honest with others? Lest we forget that our brain creates a safe place for our ego. It creates truth based facts that protect us from hurtful situations. It gives us excuses not to be honest so that we have reason to make certain choices that an honest heart would not, all in the name of protection. But, honestly, what are you really protecting yourself from besides growth and understanding the beauty within all of us. We basically forget the negative stuff consciously (certainly not sub consciously), we want to believe our perspective is the only truth. But if left unchecked, these negative memories, experiences, choices, behaviors allow our ego to take us to a lonely place. I am not implying that ego is a bad thing, but we must work with it to reach a happy balance. We can self loath, self hate, second guess ourselves, develop anxiety, depression, angst, fears, extreme disappointment and any number of debilitating thoughts and behaviors. But if we embrace the negative, understanding it’s role in who we are and we influence it with positive thoughts, behaviors, and open communication with others and ourselves, we can find out so much more within our selves to love. We can’t possibly just love a few parts of ourselves and expect to bury the ugly behind the beauty, Through honesty, we can bring it all to the surface and organize the path that brought us here, which then helps us choose the path that leads us to love and respect in the purest sense. And with others?Just because we don’t agree or have the same belief systems, doesn’t mean we can’t love and respect the place that everyone is in. Not everyone is on the same page of their story or the same mile of their journey. This can’t be achieved without loving the space we are in ourselves. That is the honest truth. And just think, maybe you can be an influence in someone else’s journey. If you are ready, your teacher will appear, and then maybe if you are lucky, you will have the opportunity to teach another through honesty and example. What a blessing it could be.
It is the only way to accept ourselves,
if we talk about whats true for us and who we are,
our brain is living with just the truths that protect our heart, our thoughts, our ego , as in excuses we make or the reasons we make certain choices. Honesty is what it takes to understand that we are not alone, it allows for humility to enter into our truths, it softens our perceptions and judgements of others and ourselves. It opens the world around us to our new perspective of true beauty. It allows us easier forgiveness and understanding.
Are you ready to meet yourself with an open heart?
May honesty bring light to dark places and illuminate the way to love and acceptance.