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Is honesty really the best policy?


What is a policy? It is something that is established or written to define a process. So, is honesty really a policy? It is not.

Honesty is actually a moral value.

Honesty: A Value

A policy can be changed with time or depending upon the need of the hour. In countries, there are many policies set by the Governments. With time, new Governments feel the need to change the existing policies. It is implemented thereafter. But a value is something inside a human being which rarely ever changes. While growing up, you inculcate values in yourself such as respect, truthfulness, selflessness, politeness and so on. These are all positive values that you learn with time and implement as the need be. For example, you acknowledge an elder with a polite greeting and give them respect whenever you encounter them. That is a value you know when to implement.

Similarly, being honest is also a value which does not just change because someone might want to shift the response for the fun of it. The feeling of being honest remains with you all your life but it is portrayed positively only when you make a right use of it. You might think that being honest would get you into problems, might create hurdles and might also destroy relationships. Actually, it’s quite right. This might happen but not because you depicted the inculcated value of honesty, but because you just couldn’t identify the appropriate moment/situation to make use of it.

The Most Appropriate Situation

When your kid gives you the most ridiculous drawing of his family, what should you do? Should you tell him that it looks bad or should you appreciate his effort?

When you are in a situation such as above, do you think honesty would be the best choice here? Would you really disregard the effort of a little kid and demotivate him? Of course not! You would surely praise him, gush on his work or even go to lengths just to stick it on the refrigerator. This would bring a huge smile on the kid’s face.

Won’t that be your priority?

Honesty is a good value to have but the one who understands the most appropriate use of it in the situation, keeps his life going happily. When to be absolutely honest and when to divert the situation in a way that you are not completely dishonest is the judgment which can decide how you live. There are situations that demand you to be brutally honest even if you hurt someone. That is the case only when the person is in a crisis and even though your honesty might affect them adversely, the long-term effects would be positive. That is why judgment in any situation is very crucial.

Honesty can be as deadly as a knife

If you want to mortally hurt someone, sometimes you don’t need knives, guns and such things to ensure that. All you need is a brutal honesty. Since words can cut through you, being truthful usually does the job. Relationships are the very first things to take a straight dive into the ground. It does not take long to be buried due to the emotional turmoil. This kind of truthfulness comes out due to frustration. You might be frustrated because of your work. But coming home with the frustration and dropping it on the lap of your loved one can be a sure shot relationship breaker.

Grand-Mom and You

Your grandmother gives you a hideous sweater that she wove herself. Would you tell it to her that you don’t like it? You would be honest of course. But is that the right thing to do? It might not be the right thing to do. Your grandmother loves you. She gave you a self-knitted sweater because she wanted to show her love to you. It would be a nice thing if you accept it wholeheartedly at the moment. Make sure your grandmother feels like you are thankful and grateful. She would have a definite smile and it will put her mind at ease knowing you liked it. Even though you accepted it and told her it was beautiful, you lied. You were dishonest. But that kind of dishonesty brought a peace of mind to someone. It did not hurt anybody. Therefore, it was a safe bet. Now even if you don’t really wear it except for a few times in front of your grandmother, it would not really be an issue for you. That is how decisions are made based on honesty.

It’s no secret that honesty hurts badly

But sometimes that kind of hurt could be sweeter in the coming moments because you might have saved someone from making a wrong decision or taking the unethical step. Your dishonesty might just save a life just like your honesty might take a life. This can go both ways.

Bottom Line

Therefore, be honest and retain it as a moral value that you utilize as a filter in making the right decisions in life. No other way to say it, Honesty is indeed not the best policy in all situations but don’t underestimate the power of a few words. It can be life-altering.

Article Credits: Mitalee Mithal | New Delhi | India

Editor: LivePeppy

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3 thoughts on “Is honesty really the best policy?

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