The Influence Of Truthfulness

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“Flattery makes friends, truth enemies.”    Spanish Proverb”It is better to  be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not.”    Andre Gide (french author)

“Most of our faults are more pardonable than the means we use to conceal them.”    Francois duc de la Rochefoucauld

“The greatest truths are the simplest and so are the greatest men.”    J.C. Hare

Being trustworthy in all situations may appear to be impossible. Many times we may think we are saving the  feelings of a  spouse, or friend, so we refrain from telling the whole truth. It is possible, we believe that revealing the whole truth, will shower undo suspicion on us. We have faith in the knowledge that we have done nothing wrong. Then we may decide to profess the “white lie”, to maintain the relationship.

What most likely happens is that within a period of time, the  truth is revealed and we will have placed ourselves into a corner of guilt. Our defense will be “I told you a  small untruth so I would save you pain.” How ludicrous this will sound even to us.  All that is recognized is the fact that we lied. Truth is always the best way to go, even if a small dilemma requires an explanation. It is easier to proclaim the messed up simple truth, than to explain why we lied.People lie all the time. we have gotten so used to it, that most of us believe we have done no wrong.  Lies hurt especially when they are exposed at a future date in time. It leads one to wonder when the lies began and we question everything the person ever told us. Trust is lost and difficult to gain back.

When kids are young they lie to parents, teachers and friends. As adults we must instruct them to be trustworthy. How can we profess faith in this issue if we really don’t abide by it ourselves. Whatever they see us doing, they will repeat. That is simple truth. We can’t kid ourselves that kids will do  what we say, rather than what we do. It never works like that.

How we arrived at white lies is easy to comprehend. It saves face and it delays fights, anger, tears, and long explanations. The postponement only increases the issue. It must at some time occur to us, the importance of the other person’s belief in us. To have confidence in another is placing them in a special position. This placement gives them more rights and benefits of doubt at any given time. When we misuse this faith, we have broken a trust with another. It really can never go back to what it was previously.

Our concern about the time we must provide to a relationship of any kind, becomes questionable. If we love or care for another, they are worth our time and effort. Even if the news we must deliver is of our own mistakes. To be honest and express our weakness is far better than to deceive, be found out, backtrack and have one lose all trust in us. Lies serve to compound troubles.

Sometimes it isn’t always the transgression that deteriorates the relationship. The deceitful misuse of our trust is what jeopardizes the predicament. In a relationship it causes friends to have difficulty believing anything we ever said. The hurting party reviews every interaction they had with the erring party. in the end they question everything. The relationship many times is doomed. Confessing the truth allows one to experience a weighing in of the conscience. A person can concede that they thought enough of a relationship, that they wanted honesty. It can actually empower both parties to look at the bonds they share, and make them stronger with integrity and truth.

Lies procrastinate facing reality. If we allow kids to falsely explain why homework didn’t get done, why they were late for soccer practice, why they could not go on an overnight trip at a friend’s house, and other false stories,  we are teaching them how to lie. As a child I remember when the phone would ring, my parents would not ever want to answer it. They instructed me with a repertoire of excuses regarding their false inability to answer the phone. I would run for my bedroom before they asked me to pick up the phone.

I am sure they were tired after a long day at work. They did not want to talk with aunt Matilda. What might have been easier, would have been to explain to the aunt they were tired, and had to keep the conversation short. My parents would never have considered themselves liars,  yet they were guilty of it daily.

We are not bad because we commit those white lies, but as soon as we profess any falsehoods, we have opened the flood gates to more and bigger fabrications. It really gets easier to fib with time and practice. Having been sent to a parochial school left me compromised. Nuns pounded in what they perceived as truth, and parents washed their hands of having to teach ethics. On the one hand you had the guilt of lying to people on the phone, or at the door. Then you had the guilt of living with the lie.

As adults we really do teach by example. Every move we make be it to skip washing hands after using a bathrooms to cheating, or stealing, or lying,  we are being observed by our kids. Kids are great mimics and observers, especially when parents are attempting to be covert. If we don’t like someone’s outfit we could say, “It is not at all my style, so  it is difficult for me to comment.” If asked to remark on another person we might add, ” I  hate making judgments because I wouldn’t want it done to me, or I don’t really know them well enough to comment.” There are ways to refrain from hurting others, without using deceit.

I know in marriage and with kids it is tempting to distrust when many facts are pointing towards a deceitful situation. I know of one mother who would come home from work and feel the TV. If it was warm, it meant the kids were watching television, rather than doing homework as they were instructed. I mentioned this to my kids one day. I told them I loved them and totally trusted them to keep the TV off if I said so. I never checked the TV and I never doubted their truthfulness. At times some of my kids had to earn back my trust which was okay. They understood and really worked hard and told me the truth when they would have preferred the lie. I was proud of them for the truth even when I didn’t like what was done. Now they are all grown and I totally trust in their honesty.

It takes courage and commitment to speak honestly. It is worth the effort. As much as it gets easier to lie, it also gets easier to speak the truth once you have done it a few times. It simply becomes habit forming. We can forgive mistakes and move on.  We dwell on the past too much when we have been lied to. If you have faith in someone, trust them explicitly, even in the presence of huge reasons against your belief. It is possible they are telling the truth, and you need to hang on to that trust, unless it is proven otherwise. You find that when someone has faith in you, it is actually difficult to let them down. Give your spouse, kids, family members and friends, lots of trust, and you may be surprised what boomerangs back at you.

“The chief lesson I have learned in a long life is that the only way you can make a man trustworthy is to trust him; and the surest way to make him untrustworthy is to distrust him.”    Henry L. Stimson

“Commitment is a big part of what I am and what I believe. How committed are you to winning? How committed are you to being a good friend? To being trustworthy? To being successful? How committed are you to being a good father, a good teammate, a good role model? There’s that moment every morning when you look in the mirror: Are you committed, or are you not?”    LeBron James

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