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  • Jason McCarty

Living Honestly

Why do we live in a world where honesty is a scarce value? What does honesty mean to people? What are we even talking about when we discuss honesty?

The way I am using the word has more to do with authenticity and congruency. I am not talking about truth telling and lying when someone asks you a point blank question regarding an action of yours. I’m talking about being one’s self, expressing one’s feelings, not having to hide one’s world, their reality, in that moment.

It’s as though there is one way of being in the world socially and if you are not there or feeling that in the moment, you must do what you can to conform, to hide your actual feelings, your actual thoughts, who you are. This is horrible. Why have we created this type of existence for ourselves when it doesn’t help anyone? Sometimes I find the human race to be extremely lacking in its implied logic toward living. We are rational beings but I don’t know if we actually use it.

“Keep it quiet, keep it inside, don’t be angry, don’t be sad, don’t be conflictual, don’t be too happy, don’t upset everyone else who is pretending everything is okay or just right. Don’t mess up the facade we’ve all got going on! Okay?!” This is what brings many clients into my office. There is no space in their lives to express their true feelings, their true being in the moment. They have beliefs that say they are not allowed to express themselves honestly, that they’ll burden others, that expressing “negative” feelings is wrong, weak, or immature.

While the world wants to silence your sense of being, you must work hard to not allow it. Just because your process hasn’t arrived at some sort of knowing or resolution in that moment doesn’t mean it should be held in until you do. Honesty requires openness. We must open to the world, to others, in order to express our honest sense of being. Where are you? This is a good question to ask yourself or those you love and care about. Not just how are you, which is also good, but where are you? It asks others and ourselves to situate ourselves, to grab hold of our current state.

But are we willing to be honest? Are we willing to fully express ourselves even though it’s not a neat and tidy package for consumption? Are we willing to confuse others? Are we willing to be misunderstood? If honesty was a more valued way of being in our culture then there would most likely be less misunderstanding as we valued the experience of openness and expression. See, I think we avoid this because we feel nailed down by our expressions, as though we can’t feel differently or think differently tomorrow. It’s as though once it is said, we have to stick by it forever. Why is this? Well, I guess it goes along with holding a fixed facade of who we are. We are always calculating who we are, showing the world like its a ongoing piece of art we just can’t put away. But we are so much more fluid and complicated than the simplistic false self we think we’re giving the world. Therefore, we might as well give that up and be honest.

What keeps you from being more honest, more authentic? Again, I’m not talking about being a lier or truth teller in the traditional sense. That is a simple form of honesty. The honesty I am describing is much more fundamental and one we all struggle with but could use more of. Lastly, I hate when things become moralistic and I don’t think we should all be this way just because it is morally correct or a value given to us from a belief system, but because it creates a relationship to our world and to others that is more authentic and freeing, allowing us all to be ourselves.

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