Why Honesty Really is the Best Policy

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April 30th is National Honesty Day!

National Honesty Day was founded in the United States about 100 years ago for the purpose of encouraging honesty, transparency, and straightforward communication. The month of April begins on April Fools’ Day, a day celebrated with trickery and deceit; the last day of April, National Honesty Day, is an opportunity to practice truthfulness and authenticity with others and with ourselves.

Benefits of Honesty

Honesty has been linked to lower levels of depression, anxiety, and fatigue. Those who are honest tend to have closer, trusting friendships. When we are deceitful, we are required to keep track of multiple “realities” so as not to get caught in a lie. This can lead to stress and dissatisfaction. By being honest, we simplify our lives by living only the truth.

Here are some ways to practice honesty:

Strive for Congruency in Your Values and Behaviors

In other words, do your best to “practice what you preach”. Start by making a list of your values. There is no right or wrong way to do this; simply brainstorm and write down anything that is important to you. Now, for each value, write down how your behavior exemplifies your commitment to this value. For example, if you value health, what are you doing that is good for your health? What are you doing that is not so good for your health? Making an intentional effort to live in accordance with your values is a great way to practice integrity, honesty, and authenticity.

If you made a New Year’s resolution this year, or if you’ve set any kind of goal recently, check-in on your progress or maintenance of your goal. If you have not made progress on or maintained your goal, ask yourself if it still feels important. Is it something you truly value? If so, practice forgiveness with yourself and re-commit to your goal.

Practice Humility and Vulnerability

For many people, the most difficult part of being honest is that it often requires being transparent about that which we feel insecure. Guardedness and deceit are often shields meant to protect us from vulnerability. However, by being untruthful and inauthentic, we are left unsatisfied.

Here are some ways to practice humility and vulnerability:

  • Take responsibility: When you make a mistake, own up to it. When you are wrong, admit it.
  • Say “I don’t know”: When asked about a topic on which you are uninformed, say that you don’t know or need to learn more about it before you can answer.
  • Use social media as a platform to practice humility: Most people share only the “highlights” of their lives, contributing to a false narrative of reality. Share something about which you feel insecure, and encourage others to do the same.
  • Put it out there: Is there something you’ve been holding back from sharing with someone else? Often times, fear of confrontation or causing conflict keeps us from having conversations that could potentially benefit others or our relationships with them. National Honesty Day is a great opportunity to say what you need to say.
  • Confront your shortcomings: Nobody is perfect, but we are inherently averse to looking at our flaws head-on. Without doing so, however, we can not improve. What would you like to improve upon and how would it make your life better?
  • Ask for help: Is there something you could use help with but you’ve been hesitant to ask for it? There is no shame in needing a helping hand.

Making a commitment to honesty, integrity, vulnerability, and authenticity is a brave and powerful step toward a more satisfying and fulfilling life.

Happy Honesty Day!

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