Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Is honesty the best policy?

I haven’t rambled for a while, so here we go.

Of course I am aware that the above question is too vague and the obvious answer is no. There are times when we all need our honesty filter on, to not hurt people’s feelings or cause offense.

As part of my job I have to tell white lies in order to protect my patients, it is part of creating unconditional positive regard.

However, the honesty I am thinking about is in general day to day life. I have found myself pushing such boundaries, forcing myself to be more honest. It is quite refreshing. Some examples may help you to understand what I mean…

- When asked if I want to go on a particular night out, I may usually give some excuse of not having enough money or anything nice to wear. When in fact I just might not fancy a night with that group of people. I have honestly told my close friends that I’d love to spend time with them but don’t fancy an awkward night with some people I don’t get on with so well. Or on another occasion I have just said, “no I fancy a weekend in my PJs, I’m tired and need to relax.” Why should I lie? My close friends know me and if I explain I don’t need to continue the lie and dig myself in any deeper. Have you ever said you had no money and then let slip you bought something nice? Lying can upset friends, me being lazy for a weekend may disappoint but it does not offend.

- I have been asked to take on new roles and do tasks which are unfamiliar to me. I have in the past, as I’m sure many people have said “Yeah, of course I’ll do that” and then panicked when I have realised I don’t have a clue what to do and got stressed. Recently I have bluntly said “Yes I will do the work, but someone needs to teach me what to do and help me if I get stuck”. Much more simple. I have found that I have been much more respected for it by senior colleagues and they have even put protocols in place so that I can turn to people for help and support.

- And finally the more scary one is being more honest about feelings. I’m not sure I am that good at this one but I am trying. It is often not that easy though, even telling someone you are annoyed with them can be tricky when they may not like the news. But I have decided it must be done, if things go unsaid they have a tendency to fester. But also there is the nice side of such things, telling someone you a grateful for their friendship or time, or that you like/love them can often go unsaid (By the way, I really disagree with people saying they love EVERYONE, that is a lie or it is not love. But that may be another blog). The act can be very scary and it can go wrong if such feelings are unrequited, but is it worth the risk? It has to be sometimes.

So I am starting small, I am going to try and be a more honest person. If I think someone is wearing something nice, I am going to tell them. I am going to tell a colleague if I think they have done a good job. And yes I will tell people when they have pissed me off, I can do it politely. I could even do it by text/email if I am not feeling that brave. I will say if I am struggling at work, or bored/lonely at home (I have been doing this one, the results are great so far, I have been given help and company, who’d have thought?). Being honest in the right place can make others feel happy too, admitting you have been shy/glad to meet someone in person can help them to admit the same.

Any thoughts on honesty? Have you tried being more honest lately?