Honesty is more than telling the truth

Honesty is about being our authentic selves

Oftentimes when we think of honesty, our thoughts turn to telling the truth. Who broke the window? Do these pants make me look fat? Are you angry at me? But honesty is more about who we are as people. It’s so much more than what we say. It’s who we are, what we do, how we live and how we relate to others. It’s about authenticity.

In today’s world, especially with the ubiquity of social media, it’s easy to get pulled into cultivating an identity that isn’t true to ourselves. We tend to show the world our best and brightest moments and omit the ones when we’re our most human versions of ourselves. We want to give others an impression of who we are. But an impression, by definition, is an idea of someone formed without conscious thought or on the basis of little evidence.

Dishonesty masks our true selves

Let’s say for example that you want to impress someone you find attractive. You like indie music and hate the hard stuff, and you’re vegetarian out of principle. He, however, is thrash metal all the way and lives on animal protein. Do you study up on thrash metal and pretend to love it just so you’ll have something in common? Do you suddenly feign a fondness for meat?

What happens when our true selves begin to eke out? How can our relationships grow if they’re based on lies?

Being inauthentic is like wearing a mask, a barrier that keeps others from knowing — and loving — the real you. Further, people can sense a mask. They may not be able to put a finger on it, but they’ll sense something isn’t right, and they won’t trust you.

Honesty is keeping it real with others

When we’re our true selves, we not only remove the burden of pretending we’re someone we’re not, but we also connect more authentically in all relationships. We can be more real — more honest — in every way.

Being authentic doesn’t mean we have to put 100 percent of our real selves out there for everyone. We can reserve parts of ourselves for certain people and settings, so long as we don’t misrepresent ourselves.

Honesty is keeping it real with ourselves

Author Brené Brown put it well. “Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we are supposed to be and embracing who we actually are.”

In the end, honesty isn’t just about being truthful with others, it’s about being true to ourselves.