By the end of childhood, if we’ve grown up well and successfully, most of us seem to end up with two lessons firmly instilled in our minds:
- Be honest.
- 2. Be nice.
And, if we’re honest with ourselves, the subtle message that we’re given is that 2 overrides 1. So don’t be honest if it means being not nice.
Eh? I, for one, am beginning to notice the flaws in this.
I was chatting with a friend last night and she said some powerful words: Not Telling All The Truth is the Same As Lying.
It’s a funny boundary. I’m not sure what I think of this statement right now. I understand that sometimes there’s just too much truth to tell, and because it’s understood implicitly we don’t need to state it. My friend doesn’t walk into my house and say “wow this place is messy and what’s that funny smell coming from the corner?” (possibly because it’s usually in some degree of mess, although as soon as I figure out what that funny smell is coming from it will be gone!) although to do so would be an expression of truth, and she’s not lying because she didn’t say anything.
If, on the other hand, before she got up on stage before a large audience she asked me “Do I look fat in this?” and I said “No!” (truthfully) but neglected to tell her that the back of her dress was caught up in her undies, then that’s kind of what she means.
Sometimes we need to say the hard stuff.
Being the first person to say it will always be hard. You will always feel stupid, or wrong, or maligned or ashamed for doing so.Sometimes though, if things need to change, being honest is the only thing to do.