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“Honesty is the first chapter of the book of wisdom.” - Thomas Jefferson
“If you do not tell the truth about yourself, you cannot tell it about others.” - Virginia Wolfe
“Honesty” means fairness, uprightness, wholesomeness, sincerity and truthfulness. How often this word is misused. So often when we have something we want to get, we use information about others to manipulate the situation in our favor. Sometimes, what we want to get may be easily rationalized on the grounds that others are “doing wrong” and therefore we are justified in disclosing damaging information. Often, this information causes much long term damage to the ones we would be “honest” about – and we justify this manipulation by saying “Well I was only telling the truth.” The repercussions go on long after the event that precipitated them, and if we look back we often see that what we thought was the best outcome for a situation at the time is very different than what really was the “best case scenario.” So, we convince ourselves that we are “telling the truth” when in fact we are telling a big lie. Rather than arguing the merits of the position we are taking, we debase ourselves and others by engaging in deception through distraction.
The better part of honesty is prudence, and prudence can only come if we are tuned into our own motives. When we get involved in things and events start happening fast, it is easy to lose our way and begin engaging in these “big lies,” thus engaging in an even bigger lie – justifying wretched behavior to ourselves on the basis that we are on “moral high ground.” So how can we keep the perspective on situations to remain an honest person – wholesome, fair and upright?
Since I cannot see myself, the only way I know is to keep a person in my life who is totally detached from these situations themselves in the loop. Having a person who we respect enough to actually hear what they say and be willing to “reign ourselves in” is invaluable. Often, another party can give us “out of the box” ideas that come at crucial times. But if we are to be “true” to ourselves – to be “honest” with ourselves, we had better start with the fact that none of us can see ourselves, and we need others in our lives that we allow to keep an eye on us. The result is that others will call us and rely upon us as well – and soon our life is enriched as we are able to watch other situations unfold and learn lessons that we would never have had the opportunity to. Charity may begin at home, but honesty begins in accountability to another.
Today, may I be true to myself.
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