Is it really hard to tell the truth?

Honesty: A virtue with obstacles

Honesty is the best - the vernacular knows. So is honesty a quality and virtue that we value in others and that we often strive for ourselves in order to boast about. Liars, on the other hand, are despised and, if possible, avoided. Who likes to be duped? And anyway: you are actually always honest yourself, which is ultimately also an expression of a good character. It's not that easy with honesty, however, because virtue or not, permanent openness can also have its downsides. How it really is with the honesty of the people and why a lie is sometimes better than a sincere answer ...

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Honesty Meaning: Between Truth and Authenticity

The Duden describes honesty as ...

  • sincerity
  • Be honest
  • truthfulness
  • reliability

or also in the synonyms ...

  • decency
  • fairness
  • Sincerity
  • Straightness
  • Straightness
  • Integrity
  • openness
  • Righteousness
  • Honesty
  • Bluntness
  • Love of truth

The concept of honesty has grown over time Change or addition of meaning Experienced. Just a few decades ago, honesty was used solely to mean sincerity. Someone who is honest is telling the truth and abiding by the law.

In the meantime - also shaped by the literature after the Second World War - the meaning of honesty has also changed: We now also speak of honesty when a person with all their characteristics stands by himself. A distinction is also made between:

  • Honesty in statements: Someone is telling the truth, not adorning it unnecessarily and sticking to the facts.
  • Honesty in behavior: Someone refrains from attempting tampering, does not try to deceive others to their advantage.

Honesty in its second meaning requires a high degree of Self-reflection and sovereignty, because it is not easy for everyone to recognize one's own mistakes and, above all, to admit to others.

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Honesty: Does Virtue Die?

Honesty is one of the most important human virtues. Most people would agree with this statement straight away. However, if you look around a little, this thesis already seems anything but honest. Lying, cheating and manipulating seems to be the order of the day. It's not even about the big things, even when it comes to the little things, most people are not so specific about honesty.

Of course I've already done that ..., No, I really didn't know anything about that ..., Me and cheat? No way… and Oh no, I must have forgotten my ticket for the trip in the other bag at home ... These events are not world-shattering, and unless it is a famous personality, they are caught untruth that can be disseminated in a media-effective manner, it usually takes place on a small scale.

The highly acclaimed honesty can be bent a little to adapt it to your own needs. There is hardly anyone who doesn't flicker at least a little bit in their résumé or at least describe reality a little more colorfully than it may be. But it would also be wrong to make dishonesty the general standard. Rather, it is the lies and dishonest behaviors that stand out and are remembered.

So honesty doesn't die out, we're blind to it.

But there are quite a lot of thoroughly honest people - who even make one special positive and impactful reputation can work out. There is a saying Anyone who lies once is not believed, even if he speaks the truth.

The Stigma of dishonesty adheres quickly and for a long time. If we have caught someone telling a lie, they will be placed under general suspicion, even if they no longer deserve it. Honesty, on the other hand, convinces through reliability, authenticity and trustworthiness.

Honesty lasts the longest and so we prefer to surround ourselves with people who tell the truth and do not hide behind lies and deceptions. Or at least we like to fool ourselves - and are dishonest again, this time to ourselves.

Honesty is often not what we expect and it can be difficult or even painful to be confronted with absolute openness.

Honesty: Sayings and Quotes

  • Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.Thomas Jefferson
  • Honesty is the best.German proverb
  • A painful truth is better than a lieThomas Mann
  • We appreciate people who express their opinions freshly and openly - provided they mean the same thing as us. Mark Twain
  • A dozen false compliments is easier to take than a single sincere reprimand. Mark Twain
  • Freedom is the right to tell others what they don't want to hear.George Orwell
  • In life, one constantly has to choose between sincerity and courtesy.Sophia Loren
  • Pleasure can be based on illusion, but happiness is based on truth alone.Nicolas Chamfort
  • If everyone always spoke the truth, it would be hell on earth.Jean Gabin
  • Truths that don't upset anyone are usually only half of them.Jupp Müller
  • To get enemies there is no need to declare war. It is enough if you just say what you think!Martin Luther King

Honesty in relationships: the basis for trust

Relationships thrive on honesty. Only when we trust the other person can we let go of concerns. We let ourselves be mentally and physically on the other personbecause it has proven itself so far. It is precisely this trust that is called into question when one partner cheats on another.

Reasons We Are Dishonest:

  • We don't want to disappoint or hurt the other.
  • We are afraid of arguments.
  • We want to maintain our self-image of ourselves as honest skin.
  • We fear rejection when looking for a partner, so we cheat on dress size, age, interests.
  • We want to appear in a better light - for example, when someone ascribes a major role to themselves in a situation.
  • We don't want to risk rejection if we were to give our honest opinion.

It is by no means exclusively selfish motives that drive us to dishonesty - sometimes they are Consideration and compassion. But it is also the other way around Honesty is not just altruistic.

Honesty can just as easily be based on a calculation or completely selfish motives stuck. For example, anyone who confesses to their counterpart that they have had a drinking problem in the past may be tempted to believe that they are anticipating possible protests in the event of a relapse.

True to the motto: I warned you. Something similar can be observed in relationships when a person confesses to their partner that they have fled. Is this always about honesty? Or couldn’t your own too Relief of the conscience stand in the foreground?

Last but not least, honesty pays off in a relationship because it is less stressful. Anyone who has to maintain a structure of lies day in and day out and constantly play hide and seek is standing permanently under stress. This can be proven physiologically, because this is how the lie detector works.

Honesty doesn't just make friends

Honesty as Action maxim in interpersonal relationships is an ambitious goal, but in practice it quickly reaches its limits.

The simple reason: The Truth can hurt as hell at times and in most cases nobody wants to hear them.

So if you are always honest and open, you correspond to the apparent ideal, but at the same time you should be prepared for many conflicts and often also for rejection. One makes oneself with honesty not just friends. There is hardly anything that can turn people against each other as quickly as an honest answer in the wrong situation.

The classic: Honey, do I look fat in this dress? Even hesitating about the answer can lead to an argument, not to mention the marital quarrel that an honest answer could cause.

Just imagine what a normal day in your life would be like if everyone be strictly honest would. In the office you will be with one But today you look really bad received, the colleague with whom you always have small talk during the break says that he finds you intrusive and your humor terrible, in the canteen the cook points out that you shouldn't have too high hopes for your meal and in the evening he reports Partner from disappointing sex life.

Lies are not only used to deceive others or to gain an advantage for yourself. You are a fundamental aspect in social interactionwithout which many relationships would collapse. Small white lies are much friendlier than the brutal truth.

But it is also this Double standardsthat makes honesty such a controversial and difficult topic. Everyone is hurt and pissed off when they find out they've been deceived. But you only want to hear the truth if it fits your own ideas. The line between being honest or, better still, protecting the other person's feelings and fooling around a little is very fine.

Depending on your personal relationship with the person you are speaking to and the individual situation, you should therefore think carefullywhether honesty really lasts the longest or whether you might not be cutting yourself into your own flesh after all or risking an argument.

Our advice at the end: When it comes to honesty, it's best to stick to one Wisdom from Voltaire: Everything you say should be true. But you shouldn't say everything that's true.

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