What does honesty have to do with health and wellness? If you’re striving to be the best you can be, honesty has to be at the foundation. Change won’t last if you are trying to be something that you are not. Honesty is the bridge to authenticity and self-compassion. Honesty allows you to set realistic goals. It bolsters your courage and frees you to be your best self.
10 Benefits of Being Honest:
1. Honesty promotes authenticity. Honesty is a reflection of your own thoughts and feelings. If you want people to know who you really are, be honest in your self-expression.
2. Honesty fosters courage. Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is doing what you know you want or need to do, despite your fear. It takes an immense amount of courage to say what you feel. It is often difficult and takes practice and patience, but he payoffs are enormous.
3. Honesty shows you care. Being honest with yourself and with others shows how much you really care. It also demonstrates self-respect and respect for others. A caring attitude makes people stop and think. Gentle honesty is also very attractive and appealing.
4. Honesty creates a circle of love. Honesty sets an example that invites others to imitate. When others respond with honesty, it can create more interpersonal closeness and authenticity. This often translates into love and can create an ongoing evolution of loving relationships.
5. Honesty shows maturity and self-acceptance. There can often be hurt and pain associated with honesty. A mature person conveys honest expression in a style that minimizes painful impact. When others are hurt, the mature, self-accepting person remains in the relationship to work through any pain experienced by the other person.
6. Honesty fosters a connection. Honesty can bring people closer by creating a safe connection. It forms a context for the relationship within which both parties feel secure enough to be genuine in their interactions. Such a relationship can invite and empower each party to work through some highly personal issues.
7. Honesty feels exhilarating because it is so freeing. Being authentic and saying what you feel and think feels great! By doing so, you break free of the limitations of fear.
8. Honesty eliminates garbage. Hiding true feelings or withholding information creates emotional garbage. This is known as gunnysacking , which requires a lot of self-defeating energy. Being honest from the beginning of any interaction prevents the build-up of emotional garbage and cleans out your emotional gunnysack.
9. Honesty attracts honesty. If honesty becomes an unconscious habit, you will become very attractive to other honest people. A life filled with authentic people is vastly enriched.
10. Honesty can keep you out of trouble. We all know how you can dig yourself deeper into a hole with lies and deceit. So from the start, don’t even go there. Keep a clean slate by staying honest, especially when you fear the anticipated consequences.
Now that you know the benefits of honesty, the following questions will help you explore how much you value honesty. It shows up in all sorts of communications. Often it’s about our dealings with others, but it begins with how honest we are with ourselves.
1. Are your actions predictable and congruent with your stated positions?
2. Do you follow through on your promises and avoid making excuses?
3. Is you behavior dependable?
4. Do you respond truthfully (authentically) to constructive criticism?
5. How do you treat confidants?
6. Are you trustworthy?
7. How do you express negative information?
8. Under what circumstances do you lie?
9. Do you exaggerate the positive and diminish the negative?
10. Is your behavior consistent with your stated values, even when no one is watching?
11. Do you take responsibility for your mistakes, omissions, and shortcomings?
12. Do you make others’ best interests equally important to your own?
Adapted from: Williams, Patrick, and Lloyd J. Thomas. (2005) Total Life Coaching. New York, W.W. Norton and Co, Inc.