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TBH: 5 Reasons why Honesty is Important

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Almost everyone has been hurt at some point because of a secret, a distorted truth, a lie, and/or the discovery of something that should have been talked about openly. Dishonesty hurts because it undermines the relationship, breaks trust and is the opposite of intimacy. That means that instead of feeling secure in the fact that you know the other person and are known by them in turn, you now have doubts about them and no longer feel totally safe in the relationship.

Being honest isn't always easy, otherwise we'd all do it all the time, but there are five main reasons why honesty is important:

1) Without honesty there is no foundation for a lasting or enjoyable relationship in any context, whether that be with a family member, friend or romantic interest. Honesty is a voice for love that builds trust. Without it, even 'I love you' becomes a lie in itself and there's no real security in the relationship.

2) People can't read your mind. Being honest doesn't just mean telling the truth about factual information, but also about the way you're feeling. If you were hurt by something someone did, they may not even realise unless you are honest with them about how it affected you. If instead you hide the way you feel, then you disempower the other person from doing something about the problem and refuse the relationship the opportunity to grow. They may also feel hurt if they realise you were upset with them but said nothing, or if they know you're not being honest with them about the way you feel. All of this festers and damages the relationship, while on the other hand, being honest about your feelings can bring healing, solve a problem, renew hope and foster good communication. 

3) When people don't know the truth, they will try and guess it. That is, not being honest about something causes people to try and figure out what you're not saying, or what the truth actually is. This breeds gossip, which can then foster more lies and deception that other people may mistake as truth. Finally, this causes many more people to feel hurt and betrayed when the truth is finally revealed, all of which could be avoided if honesty was applied in the first instance.

4) People are usually more hurt by the concealment of the truth than by the truth itself. Some people lie because they're afraid the truth will get them in trouble or cause another pain, but more often than not, while the truth may be painful, it is still usually less painful when delivered honestly than when it is wrapped in deception. Holding back on it or lying to cover it only causes people to feel betrayed as well as hurt, and to then question why you weren't just honest with them in the first place.

5) Being honest improves the relationship and saves us from having to live a lie. Lies rarely come on their own: one will usually be needed to cover another until it spirals out of control. This becomes complicated for the one who started it and confusing for the one receiving it. More than that, living a lie is hard work. It means not being yourself or enjoying relationships, and that is not comfortable for anyone. On the other hand, while being honest about difficult situations may be uncomfortable at first, if it can be worked through, the relationship is strengthened, trust is built and love is deepened. 

The best relationships are the ones with honesty. It may mean difficult talks and awkward confrontations, but being honest also means better relationships with others and with yourself.

Check out Trudy Adams' new book, The Sunshine List.

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