If you are not a regular journal writer, you may find it helpful to utilize regular prompts that allow you to reflect upon a question.
What do you think about honesty? Do you think little white lies are OK/necessary? Or do you believe in being honest to a fault?
I believe that many times we are not completely honest as a way to save someone’s feelings. We mostly live in a polite world where we often do change our version of the truth.
The reality is that both lies and the truth have consequences.
As an end of life social worker, I’ve worked in a field where physicians have often delayed being honest about a patient’s diagnosis. Many times the discomfort with the truth lies not in how the patient will receive the news but the discomfort for the individual delivering the news. Physicians are trained to heal. Admitting a diagnosis is terminal or chronic can often feel like failure.
The results in the lie (or not the complete truth) can lead to months of painful treatment where the quality of life becomes nonexistent. The consequences can mean less quality time with family and loved ones and avoidance of the reality of end of life. The consequences for the deliver can mean comfort in not having to address a painful topic but also an impact on how the family will be viewed when the truth does come out.
The consequences of the truth may lead to discomfort for the physician but can also lead to a place of emotional acceptance. The truth for someone with a terminal illness can allow time to complete a bucket list, reflect and hopefully prepare.
I understand that both sharing the truth and changing the truth (or lying) are often necessary.
We lie to protect ourselves. We lie to protect others.
My Mother chose to not hear the complete truth about her cancer diagnosis but she allowed me to speak to her doctor. I knew the truth and kept it from her (until before her death) because that was her desire.
I’ve been told by a dear friend and colleague that I am a counselor unafraid of confrontation. At first, I denied this fact. No one wants to be known as confrontative. However, I’ve learned to embrace this characteristic. Clients come to me with issues. They desire to change their life..
We can not change if we allow ourselves to deny the truth.
Simple lies are we can’t lose weight because we don’t admit we don’t exercise. Complex lies can include the affair started because there was unhappiness in a marriage. (For the record, I develop a relationship with a client before I ever confront big issues.)
The truth is painful but it can truly set you free.
Nonetheless, I truly don’t feel we can be honest all of the time. We are polite. We want to maintain relationships.
I don’t feel that there can be a set directive in regards to always being honest. It depends upon the situation. The reasons will be varied. We must weigh if the benefit of being honest outweighs being dishonest. Not telling someone you don’t like their outfit or haircut is much different from keeping knowledge of a serious situation.
What are your thoughts on telling the truth?
Don’t forget to enjoy the other posts on today’s Write or Die Wednesday Link Up!