Living your life honestly and truthfully will create trust and friendship. – Dalai Lama
What does that mean?
How do you define your friends or the people you trust? Do the words honest and truthful show up very often? What about the words dishonest and untruthful?
Not everyone is perfect. We all have our flaws. Most of us have weak points about which we will stretch the truth or give evasive answers. That is a little less than honest and truthful.
Yet most of us confine such behavior to the handful of things which truly bother us, and are honest and truthful about everything else in our lives.
And that is a good thing. That helps to build society into something which is full of trust and friendship, as we can easily recognize those who are like us, and avoid those who are not well acquainted with the truth.
Why is being honesty and truthful important?
Society requires a common bond to exist to hold the people together. In some cases it is fear of a brutal tyrant. In most cases it is the honesty and truthfulness of the people. And that is what we see across the planet today. While tyrants still exist, their people are bound not by fear, but by trust of each-other.
They stick together and work together in trust and friendship. That kind of society is often threatened from without, but rarely from within. Those who are honest and truthful can usually spot someone who is not. By recognizing them, a group can exercise caution and, when appropriate, help them.
The people and their common bond are like a bundle of sticks, strong together even if they would break easily alone. This is because they trust each-other to some degree, and are friends with one-another, again to some degree. Together they are strong, and as a society, all but unassailable.
For those who are like the wolves who would do harm, this trust and friendship presents a united front, with the weakest well protected in the middle by those who can and will defend them. That is the whole point of building a community on the basis of trust and friendship, and why honesty and truthfulness is important.
Where can I apply this in my life?
Let’s start by acknowledging that none of us is perfect. There are times when we aren’t as honest as we might like. We usually have an excuse for our behavior. Sometimes we even have a reason. But how necessary is it? What are we protecting, and is it worth being dishonest and untruthful?
I have found that in my experience, the things we try to hide, the things about which we shade the truth and strain our honesty are the things with which we most need help. At one point in time I had a drinking problem. Not much compared to true addicts, but I had troubles none the less.
Until I was honest and truthful with myself, the issue continued. It might even have gotten worse. When I faced it, when I was honest and truthful with myself, I could start working on it, and begin to get better. That was a turning point in my life, and kind of a big deal for my future path.
What is lurking in your life, about which you are less than honest? Take a moment and consider that. Is there an issue in your life which you have not faced, or are afraid of facing? How might your life be if you continue ignoring it? How might your life be if you face it and overcome it? Which life would you choose to live?
Now take a moment and think of all the people in your life, from friends and relatives, to acquaintances, to celebrities for whom you have a fondness. How would their lives be different if they were honest and truthful with themselves and were willing to face their issue or issues? How many of them might feel the same way about you and your issues?
Now comes the hard part. Could you be honest and truthful with another about their issue? Are you willing to talk about it now, or are you willing to wait a little longer? How much longer will you wait before you talk to them? Is it any of your business how they run their life? Do you have an obligation to help them, despite themselves?
These are not easy questions. You will have to look within yourself to determine where you stand on the topic of interfering with the life of someone else, and when it is proper to do so. Once that has been determined, you have to figure out if the situation in question rises to that threshold. Finally, you have to decide if you are willing to take that step.
What is a friend for, if not to be honest and truthful with you? What good is a friend if they will not act to help you, or to save your life? What good are you as a friend if you won’t speak up or act to help your friend? And who is your friend? Is it anyone, or just certain people?
As individuals, we are as fragile as reeds. Together, we are as strong as steel. But that strength comes from being honest and truthful with ourselves and with others. It requires us to develop trust and friendship.
Are you willing to do that? Are you willing to take that step to help yourself, and to help others?