Writing about my bucket list got me thinking about the movie. The movie got me thinking about the song, “Say” by John Mayer. The song “Say” got me thinking about honesty. Why don’t people say what they need to say?
I’ve always been the kind of person who believes the old adage, “honesty is the best policy.” Yet, I find most people either don’t buy into it or just don’t put it into practice. Let’s do a trial run to see where you stand on honesty before we continue. You meet a friend for lunch. You’re friend opens their mouth to say something and you notice a large green leaf stuck in between their two front teeth. Now, do you:
A. Tell them, “you have some lettuce stuck in your teeth.”
B. Move your mouth around uncomfortably hoping that they will get the hint.
C. Ignore it because they shouldn’t have had just a salad anyway and that’s what they get for not ordering a meal.
Now there is no correct or incorrect answer to this question. It’s just a matter of preference. I, however, would go for option A because if the roles were reversed that is what I would want my friend to do for me. Even if it were an absolute stranger that had something stuck in their teeth, I would tell them. No one should be made to walk around looking like an idiot just because we can’t find the time or tact to be honest with each other.
When I say honesty, I do not mean cruelty. They are not the same thing and should not be confused. Telling someone you don’t know very well that they look like they were beat with an ugly stick is cruel. It may seem like honesty to you. It may even be honest to you because it is how you feel. But, how you feel doesn’t make it true to that person or to others. It, in turn, becomes opinion. An honest opinion, but still opinion nonetheless. Another example is my mom. She has this thing about calling babies ugly. We will watch a television show or a commercial comes on she will remark, “Look at that ugly baby.” When did our roles as mother and daughter reverse? I end up having to scold her and tell her that is mean. But then again, this is her opinion. Her very honest opinion. I swear the older she gets the more things come out with no filter at all.
I know a lot of people who don’t feel that honesty is the best policy, especially if it will honestly hurt someone. The only example of this I can think to give at the moment is from the person who told this to me as a reason for not wanting to tell his girlfriend that he was cheating on her. My response was that him withholding the truth from his girlfriend had nothing to do with honesty and more to do with his own selfishness and self preservation. And I believe that this is why we aren’t as honest with people as we need to be. Is it them we want to save from negative emotions like sadness and anger or ourselves we want to save?
It’s important to be honest. It’s healthy for starters. Who wants to carry the stress of untold secrets, feelings, and emotions around with them all the time? The burden becomes too heavy after a while. Plus, the truth has a way of catching up with us sometime. So I say go for it. Do it. Whatever it is you need to say to that person, just say it. Let it go. Get it off your chest. I believe John Mayer wrote it best when he sang……..
“You’d better know that in the end,
Its better to say too much,
Then never say what you need to say again.”