Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom. – Thomas Jefferson
How does one come upon honesty? Is honesty the mere telling of factual information, recounting a series of events, and not cheating at Words with Friends (as highlighted by fellow blogger Eric at The Chili Pot)?
Or does honesty require a closer examination of the rationale behind a particular set of events? Does honesty require truthfulness about why we did or said something and not just what was done or said? A sharing of what may lie in the unsaid so that others aren’t left to read between the lines?
Authentic honesty is at a premium
Human nature dictates that we protect ourselves. So we sugar coat a situation with a light tone of voice, or omit seemingly superfluous facts that, when taken as a whole, would significantly change the nature of a situation.
We rewrite our own stories in our heads so that they become the story that we want them to be, and not what they actually are. We blame others for conflict, instead of accepting the role that we may have played. Or we exaggerate the facts to make a point; instead of just telling it like it is (this one is definitely my personal Achilles heel).
More often than not, we are a frequent recipient of our own dishonestly. Whether we use little white lies, complete fabrications, or absolute disillusions, we cannot be honest with others until we are first honest with ourselves.
Sometimes our dishonesty with ourselves comes in the form of ignorance or denial, particularly with respect to challenging issues that are confusing, uncomfortable, or lacking in clear answers. We live our lives on autopilot without taking the time to consider our own faith, or personal credo.
Writing your book of wisdom
Life is busy, messy, confusing, inconsistent, and unpredictable – filled monotonous daily activities, minor calamities, and seemingly unremarkable pleasures – which makes it all the more liberating and cathartic to know and understand our faith and personal credo to guide us and keep us on course.
It is not enough to follow the beliefs dictated to us by society, our parents, teachers, friends, ministers, and political leaders. We must be honest with ourselves in order to develop our own authentic personal doctrines based on our life experiences, personal beliefs, and priorities. After all, as Elton Trueblood said:
The unexamined faith is not worth having.
Once we are honest with ourselves, we gain access to that ever-popular book of wisdom, with its insight into ourselves, our faith, and our personal credo; its understanding of others, and its perceptions of the world.
And it is such an enlightening read.