Few people would argue that life is often challenging or difficult. Those who have to struggle to maintain the basic necessities of life find that even the smallest challenges can be quite overwhelming. Even those individuals who have plenty can find that life still presents them with challenges that they have to address and overcome. The fact that life is full of ups and downs, good times and bad, struggles and rewards should not actually be a cause for concern. It is only when an individual does not understand how to work through the tough times and seeks out quick, alternative solutions that they will get into trouble. There can actually be a great amount of happiness borne out of successfully overcoming the difficulties in one’s life-if one overcomes these challenges honestly.
The Value of Honesty
Certainly anyone could think of many ways that being less-than-honest can provide them with some sort of gain. The problem is that these gains are short-term, and cause the individual greater losses in the future. Take, for example, the individual who knowingly gets a product from the store for the wrong price due to an employee error. At first the individual may be thrilled to have saved so much money, but as time goes on their lack of honesty can begin to eat away at them, and the item they once desired can become a reminder of the error they failed to take action to correct. They may even find that they want to hide this object away, or purposely try to break it, in order to clear their conscience.
Even though dishonesty may occasionally give one a temporary boost in their life where honesty may cause them to “rough it out” a bit longer, one must also consider the many long-term benefits of living an honest lifestyle, including:
- Building and maintaining closer and stronger friendships. Friends can most certainly tell when you are being honest, and this makes you much more trustworthy.
- Better, more supportive friends. Your own honesty can attract honesty in others, and allow you to build a strong network of supportive friends. A true, honest friend is a wonderful asset to have, especially when life presents one with challenges and difficulties to overcome.
- Trust from others around you. It is a wonderful thing to earn the trust of others around you-even strangers-and honest people have this privilege.
- Strong self-confidence. It may sound funny, but the fact is that a truly confident individual is very confident because he trusts himself. This means that he is usually more able to face the challenges and difficulties of life with the knowledge that he can make it through.
- Better health. Honest people tend to enjoy better physical, mental and emotional health than dishonest people. This is likely largely due to the fact that they are comfortable in the knowledge that they are doing their absolute best in life.
- Less stress. While it is quite simple to maintain the truth, it is quite difficult to maintain lies. One must remember tons of fabricated details, and this can be very stressful. Honest people can entirely relax as themselves, and don’t need to worry about maintaining a facade that may crumble at any moment.
Leading an Honest Life
It can take some effort to start leading an honest life, especially if one has not been doing so for some time. However, as honesty takes hold, it can become easier and easier to maintain. Following are five ways to start leading an honest life:
- Begin by being completely honest with yourself. It is rather difficult to be honest with others if you are denying the truth to yourself. This means that one may have to admit that there are certain things in their life that are difficult to face and handle, but simply admitting this to oneself opens the door to taking action in order to resolve them.
- Consider the long-term consequences of your decisions and actions. It can be very easy to get swept up in short-term gains, but this can sometimes get one into trouble with honesty. Considering the long-term consequences can allow one to truly see how each and every decision and action can affect their future.
- Maintain your own personal integrity. Your integrity is your own personal decision to know what is true for you, and it can be the backbone of an honest life. Relying on your own integrity rather than the opinions of others can be very, very important.
- Keep your word once given. If you know that you cannot make a commitment, say so. If you have made a commitment, keep it. There is a lot of personal satisfaction in knowing that you are honest with yourself and others, and that you can be depended upon.
- Use honesty to encourage. Honesty could be used as a sharp tool against others, but that essentially violates the entire point of being honest. Honesty should be used to encourage as much as possible, as this will allow it to motivate others in their own lives.
An honest life can be highly rewarding, even when it is sometimes difficult. The individual who truly understands and uses honesty as the best policy in their life can find that they are surrounded by wonderful opportunities and strong, supportive relationships. There is no doubt that life is full of rewards for those who live it in pursuit of truth.