Honesty is the best policy but why? Breaking the myth

Honesty is the best policy
It's not easy seeing the truth

Will honesty reward you and the truth set you free? Honesty is the best policy – I tried to make a catchy title along with an interesting introduction. Is this attitude going to get you to read all of this to the end? Then I better be super honest right now. Truth to set me free – I shoplifted as a kid. *Seeing myself going to prison*. Also, I don’t think my title is catchy enough. Can you suggest a better one for me? Put your title caption for my article in the comments section. Let me see if you can come up with something better.

Speaking your mind can result in either of the two: appreciation or enmity. A phrase passed down from generation to generation – ‘Honesty is the best policy’. What makes it so powerful? Even if no one was educated about this policy, it still becomes an influential part of life.

Why be honest?

You cannot always be diplomatic. Some won’t acknowledge your kindness. Some don’t respect you for being nice. This is because when things come easy to humans, they fail to appreciate its abundance. However, they won’t know when honesty hits them like a truck, this policy that comes in abundance, somehow is acknowledged and appreciated. There is so much power in the truth, isn’t it?

Your harsh words will get their attention. You have to pour cold water over them when they are asleep in order to wake them up. That’s how honesty works. There will always be a time when you just have to be honest. And this quality my dear friends shall set you free.

When I was in School

Some of the worst years of my life were in school. Being honest was not an option because all we did was complain to our teachers. She did this, he did that. One thing that was ingrained in us as kids was the phrase, ‘Honesty is the best policy’. We were lectured about it and taught about its meaning.

As I grew up, I realized that being honest is good. It takes the load off your back of keeping something from someone in order to not hurt their feelings. This was hard to understand as a kid. For me it was; I wouldn’t know about the other kids. Kids lie and so do adults. And ‘Honesty is the best policy’ is not completely black and white as the phrase goes.

You’ve got to be honest but not shout about it. You’ve got to be honest but not be mean when saying it. There was a time when my dad asked an old lady about her age. Embarrassing as it was that my dad asked a lady her age. He kept denying that she wasn’t revealing the right age. He kept telling her, “You can’t be 64, I am sure you’re 75.” My dad was right but he should have left it at that! Why? This is because the lady was from a generation and a background where birth dates of all family members were not recorded. I didn’t see the benefit of this type of honesty. I grabbed my dad’s arm and politely asked him to retrieve from the battlefields before it gets too heated.

 

Honesty is the best policy – How I learned this the hard way

Honesty is the best policy

The weekend had arrived. I was at the parlour for a pedicure. Directed to a seat, I sat to take my shoes off and dip my feet into a small tub of water that was connected to a heater. The sound of hair dryers, glances from other people and hair being trimmed; it was a busy weekend at the parlour. That day I experienced something I’ve always experienced before – hot water, feet tickling, and a torturous leg massage.

                Water heater

So the pedicure began. My feet were dipped into the water which kept getting warmer and warmer. Five minutes later I started to bear the heat and then finally, I asked for it to be turned off. The funny bit was the heater after being turned off still got hotter. I believe the heater may have accidentally not been turned off. I tolerated it for at least another 30 seconds thinking that now I would be asked to take my feet out of the water and start with the pedicure. But I couldn’t take it anymore. So, I asked her to turn off the heater and it was finally turned off. I didn’t twitch, I didn’t shout, I made sure to show no discomfort. I hated attracting attention to myself, the introvert that I am.

                Foot scrubber

Moving on a bit further, we came to the process of scrubbing the heel of my feet with a scraper. A foot scraper is for scraping the dead skin off your feet but what it also does is tickle me like crazy. The pedicurist kept scraping until my feet were shining and sparkly. What a child would do at that very moment is kick her away. She was only doing her job.

Instead, what I as a proper adult did was sit there like a stone. I am invincible and unbreakable. Nothing can hurt, harm or tickle me; is what I kept telling myself. I didn’t twitch, I didn’t shout out loud and burst into laughter, I made sure to show no discomfort. Had I simply remembered that honesty is the best policy; things would have been entertaining that day.

                Leg Massage

The tickling torture was over. The pedicure ended after a few more steps. We moved on further to the part after the pedicure – the leg massage. I wonder about the requirement of a massage. However, if it’s done well, there’s nothing like it. I really do mind being treated like a queen because it just makes me too awkward. Like I said before, I am an introvert. Kind of… I don’t know.

She started to massage my leg and let me remind you, she was a short, thin lady who was about to massage my fat-filled calf muscled legs. One would think she had gentle hands. I for one thought she hated me. Every stroke of massage felt like her hands just came out from laborious prison work. She pressed each part of my leg like squeezing the meat out of the mincemeat machine or putting sugarcane through the juicer machine. She looked at me every time she went for another stroking massage and I looked away like nothing can break me. I didn’t twitch, I didn’t shout, I made sure she noticed no discomfort.

After the massage was over, I loosened my stressed nerves and sat at ease. I almost felt like she deliberately bruised my legs while maybe thinking about an ex who’d done her wrong.

                The ending

So that was the end of the pedicure experience which I am glad I don’t have to face for the next few months. I believe I keep my feet pretty clean and safe enough to face the wrath of pedicure again which by the way is supposed to be a relaxing experience. I’ve been told time and again to express my pain so the pedicurist won’t massage my legs too hard. All who told me to believe in honesty is the best policy, including my mother; I do completely the opposite! Put on a blank face – my mask, I bear the pain. I am too polite to let the other person know what they’re subjecting me to. After the pedicure is done, I say job well done with a tip. So, like an Indian under British rule, I paid for my oppression.

The masks we wear

Honesty is the best policy

We all have a mask; yes even the ones who claim to be honest and outspoken. They say you get what you see but there’s a mask, there always is and there’s nothing entirely wrong about it. A mask is a coping mechanism we all use. There are some of us who just can’t be bothered with being too kind and there are some of us who are just too polite to make butter melt.

For instance, you tell your friend that they need to stay more focused during the lectures. Your friend may not admit that they’re distracted and won’t appreciate your honesty. They’ll leave you. So, now at least you know that this person wasn’t your true friend but at least you displayed the quality of one.

Here is when honesty becomes the best policy. A day will come when you will take your diplomatic nature and throw it out the window. This day will come in your life. You have to realize that saying what you feel is the way to get through any situation if not out of it. And if a person feels bad about, well, tough! By cutting through at the right time, we need not fear of the potential harm it can do to us because the harm of keeping in our pain is far worse. This holds true for all kinds of emotional tortures that we keep inside of us. Our pain, our past, our struggles, our secrets; so many masks to cover them up and why?

Why do we wear masks?

It’s essential to understand that we have masks for different reasons and some of them are valid whereas some are not needed. The ones that are not needed are the masks of smiles. We smile when we want to cry and we laugh when we need help.

Say what you feel but not to run the other person down. Try not to be mean to someone. Know how to say what you want to convey. There’s no need to hurt a person’s feelings unless it is the only way to make them understand. Honesty is the best policy here because it is a language that is universally understood.

So the next time I get myself a pedicure, I’m going to take off my mask. I will reveal my true self, minus the giggles and jerks with the tickling. One step at a time! And if I don’t do what I’ve preached here then it certainly would be my fault for all the pain and struggles I subject myself to.

Honesty is the best policy – when should you not apply this to life?

There is a limit to everything. A line is drawn and a boundary is measured in order to keep things in control. Of course, honesty is the best policy but let’s just break it down a bit.

Being honest about your feelings is good but how are you conveying the message? Sometimes, your feelings that matter to you can blind you towards the feelings of loved ones. You could offend someone with your words. Be careful with what you say or how you say because the truth can break relationships permanently. You could lose someone you dearly love just because you were being brutally honest.

Want to know who your friends are? Just say no to them! If they walk away, they were never really your friends. If they stay, you have a true friend. However, sometimes, you need to be nice when you say no. Say it nicely, in a kind manner, like you care but you simply can’t do the task they requested.

When to be honest and nice to people?

It is very important for honesty and kindness to work in harmony. Agreed that honesty is the best policy but how can you be honest and kind at the same time? Here comes the wave of diplomacy. Use it and they won’t know what hit them. Being diplomatic is not a trick, it’s an art of conveying your message across without making enemies.

Let’s say you want to be honest about your mom’s cooking. That’s tough because you could break her heart if the dish does not match up to her other dishes. Nevertheless, you have to tell her that the food she cooked today has less salt. Even worse, you have to tell her that a particular dish she made for you all those years is really not your favourite dish. Would you rather just shut up and have that dish right? What if there was another way of telling your mom? You could probably just tell her directly with a subtle tone and a smile. She is your mother, she will understand. She might even ask you why you never told her before.

Honesty is the best policy, so is lying!

Yes because sometimes, you just can’t tell a child that you accidentally lost their favourite toy. You just can’t tell a friend that you forgot about their birthday. Here, you would be protecting both yourself and your friend. It is better not be truthful all the time. This is because you can’t always be too honest. However, white lies are to be used sparingly, not all the time or this just beats the purpose.

You tell your friend that you hated their gift to you on your birthday. This is a big No-No. Please lie here. Understand the intention behind that gift and don’t be a jerk. You don’t even have to be that honest. Remember, everything has to exist in equal balance and honesty is one of them.

Any comments?

So, what’s your opinion about honesty being the best policy? Do you think this always works? You can talk about an experience you had for being or not being honest and how it affected you. Drop your woes and discussions down here in the comments section.

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