Honesty means different things to different people, but at the Y, we define it as telling the truth. But what does telling the truth mean? Some believe it is telling people what you think. I don’t think that’s it. I have known folks who would say what’s on their mind, and say they were being honest, but they were not telling the truth. Even truth itself is often not black and white. I once heard someone say: There’s three sides to every story. There’s your side, their side, and there’s the truth.
Three ways to help you tell the truth:
Truth telling is hard because it’s risky. It will make people uncomfortable, and it will put relationships at risk. We value telling the truth because it is important to tell the truth. Here are three ways to help you tell the truth.
1) Humble yourself.
Truth telling comes from a place of humility. It is speaking humbly knowing that you may not have all the information. You are speaking truthfully from your perspective and your experience. Humbling yourself allows you to listen and learn as you seek to tell the truth.
2) Do not make it personal.
In our tense culture, we tend to make things personal when we seek to tell the truth. We name call and put down. Telling the truth is not personal. It is not an attack on someone. It is helping course correct when our behavior is harming others and we do not see clearly.
3) Seek to Encourage
Truth telling is supposed to lift others up. It is supposed to encourage others to course correct their moral compass, not tear them down. Telling the truth is hard, and our motive must be to encourage and lift others up. Telling the truth to tear others down or put them in their place does not aid in correcting our moral compass. It can harden a heart but encouraging can soften and help others see another side of the story.