Monday, August 29, 2011

Honesty is the Best Policy: Says Who!?!?

wait... is this the best idea?

When I was a kid, I remember my father's biggest rule was that we never lie. Telling the truth is important! Now, twenty five years, one husband, and two kids later, I wonder about this "truth" and how much we should be following it.

Sure, I want my kids to tell us the truth. Without it, how do we properly gauge a situation and decide what is right or wrong? I guess it all depends on the magnitude of truth. If we demand it, are we sure we are willing to hear it? What about white lies? When are they okay? I think I've used them in the past for the benefit of others. I specifically remember a time when I was fourteen years old. One of my parents asked me a question and assured me that they wouldn't be mad if I told the I told the truth. Big mistake. I guess it wasn't the truth they wanted to hear. I guess I should have stuck with an altered truth...a white lie...just enough information so that no one would get hurt.

It's been something I've been grappling with lately. Is the truth always the best route? Why do people tell the truth when they know it is only going to hurt someone else? My logic, and please, please, please tell me if I am wrong, is that people unload the truth on others as to unburden themselves of guilt. This sense of guilt or shame eats away at them, and so in doing the "right" thing and being honest, they tell the truth. So is honesty the best policy, or is it just plain selfish?

As a self-proclaimed Occasional Misanthrope, I tend to be cynical at times. At this particular time, I am feeling cynical about honesty as well as it's proponents. I mistrust it's motives. What a conundrum. Honesty? A white lie? Lying? Who really benefits from honesty??? A "friend" of mine decided one day to be honest with me. I learned what a terrible person I have always been from her perspective. In being honest, was she doing me a favor? Considering the way I felt afterwards, I would argue against it. Just saying. Honesty-shmonesty.

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