The truth matters. It affects your relationships in your family, at work, and school. Merriam Webster defines truth as a body of real things, events, and facts. When you tell the truth to someone, you’re honest with them. But it can be difficult to be honest because you don’t know the person will react to the truth.
Kindness counts and goes hand in hand with revealing the truth
The truth should always be shared with kindness. Plus, knowing the person you’re talking to is important. If you’ve just met someone, it may not be the right time to be honest with them about their bad breath. But with a close friend, you can comfortably tell them you’re upset with them about something. Of course, you should be kind even then. Bullying or belittling someone and saying, “I’m just being honest” is honesty motivated by unkindness. You don’t want to help the person, but hurt them with your words.
What’s the opposite of honesty?
The opposite of honesty is flattery or insincerity. Most people would rather hear the truth instead of being flattered. Flattery isn’t motivated by a desire to tell the truth but to get some time. If someone flatters you, they aren’t as interested in you as they are themselves. Truthful people are trustworthy friends. You know they’ll always tell you the truth no matter what because they want the best for you, even if it’s hard for you to hear it.
How to be a truthful person
Here is how to come to terms with your lying ways and find a more honest approach.
“If an offense come out of the truth, better is it that the offense come than that the truth be concealed.” Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D’Urbervilles
1 – A truthful person honestly explains their struggles.
Learn how to share your struggles and weaknesses with people. Sharing your struggles makes you seem like a normal person. Without realizing it, you may come across as having it all together. When you share about the hard things you’re trying to work out, people can relate to you. But honesty must be shared without wrong motives. Some wrong reasons to share your struggles openly could be to elicit the following outcomes:
- Make people feel sorry for you.
- Get someone to do something for you.
- Draw attention to yourself
- Vent anger at someone
This is just complaining rather than sharing honestly about your life. People get tired of hearing people complain, so check your motives before you start blogging about your hard day at home with the kids. Rather try to share but bring a positive out of it, something you’ve learned or how you’ve suddenly understood yourself better because of the experience. This not only allows you to be honest, but it helps the people you share with.
2 – A truthful person’s actions should match words.
If you tell someone, you’re their good friend. Then your actions should show this is true. You will text, call, and hang out with them. If you ignore them, they will feel like you weren’t truthful with them. When actions and words don’t line up, you are seen as dishonest and untrustworthy. People will doubt that you’re truthful if you aren’t authentic.
3 – A truthful person can accept and give constructive criticism.
Criticism is a form of truth-telling. People are often afraid of being criticized for fear of being judged. But getting constructive feedback isn’t judgment. It’s not to hurt you, but to help you grow. Some jobs, like being a writer, require that you learn to listen to constructive criticism.
Psychological studies conclude that some people lie because of negative thoughts, such as fear-based emotions or guilt.
Here are a few tips for receiving constructive criticism.
- Learn how to sort through the criticism: Not everything someone shares with you will be spot on. But it would help if you realized that there is probably a grain of truth in what they are sharing. Look for those little grains of truth and apply them to your life so you can improve or grow.
- Thank the person for being honest with you: It’s not easy sharing constructive criticism. It’s tempting to tell people what they want to hear, rather than being honest. If you have someone who shares their constructive criticism with you, it’s a gift.
- Learn to have thick skin: The more you experience constructive criticism, the better you will accept it without feeling devastated. Keep in mind that the person is trying to help you. They are pointing out your weak areas so you can grow and improve.
- Don’t listen to hateful people: Of course, some people aren’t trying to help you but want to wound you. Don’t take it to heart when someone purposely tries to hurt you.
- Learn how to give constructive criticism with honesty and kindness: You will be a valued friend to those around you if you learn to share honest, constructive criticism with them. They will know they can trust you to be totally honest with them.
4 – A truthful person speaks honestly.
Seek to be honest with people. It’s okay to say, “I felt left out that you guys didn’t call me to join everyone after work.” You don’t need to play the victim, but be honest about your disappointment. One psychological study found that many people aren’t comfortable with this kind of honesty. They have learned to hide their true feelings and even justify it as “I don’t want to hurt people’s feelings by telling them how I really feel. If you can be honest without being manipulative or unkind, that is being a truthful person.
You may have learned to lie about their true feelings in childhood. Perhaps your parents got mad at you when you told Aunt Edna that you didn’t like the clown sweater she knitted for you. Parents often misinterpret their children’s honesty as rudeness. But it’s important to teach your kids to tell the truth with kindness. They can be at least grateful. One mom taught her kids to say, “Thanks for making this. You must have worked hard.” Being thankful and grateful for something is truthful honesty.
Why don’t you tell the truth?
We all lie once in a while, but if you lie a lot, there could be some reasons why you. See if any of these hits close to home for you.
You feel like you aren’t worth knowing.
Because of this, you embellish the truth a bit to portray yourself as smarter, stronger, and more successful than you are. You may feel that if people really knew what you were like, they’d be unimpressed.
You fear being judged.
You’re afraid of people’s bad opinions of you. You want to please your boss, so you always say yes to extra work, but you tell your co-workers how much you dislike the boss, so they won’t think you’re sucking up to your boss. It’s a tangled web to keep lying, to avoid people’s bad opinions of you.
Research confirms that many people lie to cope with peer pressure or to boost self-esteem.
Your fear of being rejected
You feel the need to be liked by everyone and accept you. You exaggerate, brag, and show off to be liked. You’re the clown at work or school. You are afraid if people wouldn’t like the real you, so you hide.
Vulnerability is scary
It’s hard, to be honest, to be really yourself around people. You may feel too vulnerable and out of control when you are honest. Or perhaps you were hurt in the past for being vulnerable, so you feel it’s too dangerous. You may lack wisdom in who to trust. If you’ve made mistakes and thought you could trust people who weren’t trustworthy, it may cause you to back off and refuse to be honest with anyone.
How to start being truthful and trustworthy
There’s no time like now to begin a new season of being truthful. It can change your life and the lives of those around you when you begin to be an honest person. Here are some simple tips for beginning your truthful journey.
1 – Be honest with yourself.
Tell yourself the truth. If you aren’t truthful with yourself, you won’t be with others. It’s okay not to be the prettiest, smartest, most successful person at work or school. You have things to give, but don’t evaluate your worth based on what you think others want. Try saying thing like
“I’m___________and that’s okay, because I’m a worthy person.”