Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.

Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.Thomas Jefferson

"Do you swear to tell the truth?"

What does that mean?
Here, I think he is saying that it’s hard to be wise if you are a liar. If you are a liar, how could anyone believe you even if you somehow managed to become wise? I say that because I would think that a wise person would figure out that honesty is necessary for both learning and teaching wisdom.

This quote also points out that honesty is not only necessary for wisdom, but as the first chapter in the book, it is the foundation of wisdom. Think about it for a moment, if you cannot be honest with others, how honest will you be with yourself?

Why is honesty important?  
If you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, you know that I frequently ask you to look inside yourself and examine your life. If you cannot be honest with others, how can you be honest with me, and by extension, how honest will you be with yourself in these exercises?

Honesty is also useful in normal interaction with people. Known liars are not usually treated very well, are they? Is that how you want to be known, is that how you want to be treated? I would imagine that having your every move, every word, and every motivation questioned is probably not a very pleasant way to live your life.

Where can I apply this in my life?
Well, I would start by analyzing my present level of truthfulness. I wouldn’t count evasive answers to time-bombs like “does this dress make me look fat?” Neither would I include answers to questions from kids where they aren’t ready for the answer, like “what are those two dogs doing?”

Grab some paper and put a couple of words down for the different aspects of your life. For me, I chose work, friends, school, church, home, and husband. Then, for each rate yourself as honestly as you can in each category. You can use a 1-10 scale or whatever you feel will help you best understand yourself.

Where do you tend to fudge the facts the most? Where have you told outright lies? While I’m sure you can justify most of these deviations from the truth, the question is does anyone else care about the justifications, or just that they were lied to? Think about that for a bit and then let it ruminate while we work this next exercise.

This section is a little more difficult emotionally, as you will put yourself in the shoes of others, to see how it feels when you behave less than honestly. With that said, look over your list and remember some of the things you said, and remember how other people took it, both initially, and when they found out that you lied. If they haven’t yet found out, consider how it might go when they do.

Here we are in the process of scaring the Dickens out of you, referring to the three ghosts and Scrooge, from the book A Christmas Carrol. I imagine you aren’t feeling too good about your deviations from the truth right now, are you? I know I’m not.

So how do we work on being more honest? I would start by linking the lies to this awful feeling. Then, after some time has passed, linking honesty with good times, and good feelings. To me, this is just reinforcing a conscience that might have become a bit lazy from insufficient activity.

I would also try to periodically reinforce these feelings, especially when they happen. If I catch myself regretting a lie, I amplify the regret as much as possible and try to burn in the negative feeling and attach it to lying. Similarly, I would do the same with positive feelings and telling the truth.

Now, looking at your paper again, When and where do you seem to have the most difficulty being honest? If you categorized your behavior to include little ones, medium ones, and big ones, you might want to examine each category separately.

Again, we aren’t looking for justifications or excuses, we can come up with a “good reason” for lying in almost any situation, if we spend enough time or think hard enough. What we’re looking for is the strength to tell the truth more completely and more frequently. As we are all different, you will have to work on your situation on your own (although if you want to leave a comment or send an e-mail, that’s fine as well).

It has been said that the truth will set you free. Think about not having to remember who you told which story to, who knows what version of the truth. Think about not having to worry about two people talking who you told different stories to. Indeed, the truth shall set you free. And with a lot less guilt, remorse and hurt.

From: Twitter, @QuoteHouse
confirmed at : http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/t/thomasjeff101007.html
Photo by esther1616

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One Response to Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.

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