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THE “WHAT WHY & HOW” OF HONESTY

From The Family Virtues Guide

WHAT IS HONESTY?

Being honest is being sincere, open, trustworthy, and truthful. When people are honest, they can be relied on not to lie, cheat, or steal. If they tell you they like you, you know they really mean it, because they would not say anything just to get their way or to make an impression.

If someone seems friendly, honesty means they really are friendly, just because they want to be friends, not for any hidden reasons. With honesty you can trust things to be as they appear.

Honesty is telling the truth no matter what. It is being truthful even when admitting the truth could make someone disappointed. Honesty means not exaggerating something just to impress others.

Being honest means you don’t make false promises. You do what you said you would do. Your actions match your words. This is also called integrity.

WHY PRACTICE HONESTY?

When someone lies, cheats, or steals, people around him can’t trust him. If someone makes up stories to cover up a mistake, it’s hard to correct the mistake. Then he feels worse and worse about himself.

Have you ever heard of false advertising? That’s when people try to sell something by lying about it or exaggerating. How would you like to spend money on something and then find out that it doesn’t do what it was supposed to—like a toy that doesn’t really work? Without honesty people would always have to be suspicious.

Sometime people aren’t honest with themselves. They try and pretend that something doesn’t matter even when it really does—like hurting someone’s feelings. When someone isn’t honest with herself about something, she usually isn’t honest with others.

Honesty keeps you from deceiving or fooling other people just to get what you want. Honesty helps you not to fool yourself either. When you are honest with yourself, you have a chance to correct your mistakes. When you are honest with other, they know they can believe you.

HOW DO YOU PRACTICE HONESTY?

Match your actions and your words. Avoid deception—don’t try and fool anyone and don’t let them fool you.

Say what you mean and mean what you say. When you do something, give it your best effort, and then don’t pretend you did more. Don’t say or do things just to make a good impression. You don’t need to make things up to look good—you’re quite fine as you are, honest!

Only make promises that you can honestly keep. Be trustworthy in all your dealings, refusing to lie, cheat, or steal.

Use you imagination, but don’t let it keep you from telling the truth.

Tell the truth, no matter what. If you make a mistake, admit it. It’s the best way to fix things. Be honest with yourself, and you will always be able to be honest with others.

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Special thanks to The Family Virtues Guide, by Linda Kavelin Popov with Dr. Dan Popov Ph.D., and John Kavelin, and The Virtues Project, a global grassroots initiative to inspire the practice of virtues in everyday life.

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