I went through a list of topics for my speech and there it was “Honesty is not the best policy”.
Being an honest person it intrigued me at once. I am one of those people who just say things without sugarcoating them. Understanding the other part of not being honest will be interesting I thought.
Honesty is one of the prized possessions of mankind. An honest man is always honored and respected in the society. It is a quality which brings about the development of other qualities.
Honesty may be most misunderstood human value.
From very young age we have been told “honesty is the best policy” and yet we are also taught to say we like something gifted to us by our relative or friends when we absolutely hate it. According to a study, “We typically think about deception as selfish deception: I lie to gain some advantage at the expense of somebody else. And we typically think of honesty as something that might be costly to me, but helpful to others. We find that the aversion to lying, when people say, ‘Don’t lie to me,’ what they really mean is, ‘Don’t be really selfish.
Honesty- when we are being honest we are being judgmental. We often don’t like a person who thinks very differently from us. We lack for words of compassion to agree with the other person and are cruel to his choices.
- Asking for medical leave so that your child can go for a family function , isn’t right. We should have a proper explanation for our dishonesty.
It’s important to know when to be honest and when not. There should be some parameters for this. Let’s take some real life scenario’s.
- When a child asks you about a superhero or a fairy what is the best answer you give. We tell him/her a lie. A lie that will stay with him for some time till he grows up to have an understanding of real and unreal. Being honest would have crushed his heart. By telling a lie we are giving him belief in the fact that truth always wins. He wants to be a superhero when he grows up. That is a very good quality we are inducing in a child.
- Are you going to answer the question “ are you leaving the current job”
- No one would, until unless one is sure.
- In Interviews we often come across questions like “ Where do you see yourself after five years” May be you are planning to go for higher education but you’ll answer that question with a lie not with utmost honesty depending how important that job is to you.
- If your friend gets a haircut which obviously looks bad, but rather than saying the truth outright you tell your friend that he/she is looking different.
- When we are encouraging someone to try out something for their benefit in long run , we don’t start by saying you aren’t good enough in this , that’s why you should try. We say you have the potential to be better than this, Why don’t you try. In this way we are giving him the benefit of doubt and letting him towards a better being.
- In an organization how Honesty is not the best policy-
If you are given a certain task and you gave it your best .
“Then your manager comes to you and says that this task didn’t give him the desired result, you should have tried hard.” This can spoil your relationship with your manager as well as your trust in him. So it’s duty of a manager not to be honest. He has to give positive and supportive feedback rather than critical and harsh feedback.
- Lie to improve Trust
- Benevolence trumps truth
While researching more, I thought about the relationship between nations of the world. How our we living in harmony in a time when each and every country in the world is well equipped with nuclear arms.
It is possible because these relationships are wrapped in dishonesty.
Let’s take examples of India’s relationship with China and Pakistan. Every 5 years we have a new party ruling the country. But no matter who is the ruler they all are keen on improving relationship by talking. They can’t improve their interpersonal relationship only saying the truth. They have to use some dishonest means some manipulation to keep other side calm.
We cannot draw line between honesty and dishonesty- we need Flexible Honesty.
“We have narrowed down the circle of honesty , where we are honest only when it comes to hurting other person, making human life rigid and tough. This is time to enlarge this circle so that we can have some quintessential values which we label as dishonesty.
After all, Change is inevitable, How can Honesty be the best policy, forever!
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Disclaimer- This article is research based . some of it’s content might be taken from some other articles.