Jul
07
2013

Honesty can take on many forms but the bottom line is you must be real with yourself if you expect others to be authentic in return. It may even make you a happier person ? However, many of us tell those little white lies to ourselves and to others. Maybe it’s something as simple as telling your best friend she doesn’t look fat in that dress, even though she’s gained 20 pounds this year. Maybe it’s telling your children you’ve never cheated on a test before, even when you know that’s how you barely passed that class in college. Maybe it’s to hide happiness and honestythe fact that you weren’t entirely faithful to your romantic partner because you know that the truth could put your relationship to an end.

 

We’ve all been caught in that dangerous in-between place where we face an important ethical decision: lie or tell the truth? Sometimes, it’s uncomfortable, frightening, or extremely difficult to tell the truth. Isn’t it better to save everyone the discomfort and resolve it by “bending” the truth just a bit? Who could be hurt with a little white lie?

 

Think about who you are really trying to save by avoiding the truth. Are you trying to save yourself the embarrassment of a mistake you made in the past? Are you trying to please others by giving them the answer they want instead of the answer that you know is honest? Are you trying to salvage a relationship that you believe may be in jeopardy if the other person were to find out the truth?

 

Harvey S. James Jr. and Athanasios G. Chymis conducted an empirical study that explored this relationship between happiness and ethics. The extent to which a person is honest as well as satisfied with their life is very subjective, but James and Chymis found a way to conceptualize it into measurable variables while controlling for outside factors such as income, marriage, or religion. Although the motives behind lying vary (altruistic, individualistic, and exploitive), they conducted a survey that provided them with an accurate reading of the participants’ ethical beliefs as well as their perception of their own satisfaction. As a result, they found a bicausal relationship between the two. This means that not only does ethical behavior improve happiness, but happiness improves ethical behavior!

(To read the full study, click HERE )

As human beings, we have control over the decisions we make, and that includes the decision to lie or tell the truth. Regardless of the motive behind it, lying is morally and emotionally destructive, and it can have disastrous long-term effects. Think of it this way: would you rather endure the short-term pain of telling a truth that you don’t want to tell or the long-term pain that results from the lies that accumulate over time?

 

“Hiding how you really feel and trying to make everyone else happy doesn’t make you nice, it just makes you a liar.” -Jenny O’Connell

 

Think about the weight that lifts off your shoulders when you finally release a burden that has been dragging you down for a long time. You will be happier by being yourself – your real, true self! There is no better time than the present to get rid of the secrets and the lies that constantly hinder you from living a happy, more honest life!

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“America’s Happyologist” Jackie Ruka is a lifestyle expert and inspiration coach , who founded the Get Happy Zone (www.gethappyzone.com) personal development organization. She is also the author of the soon-to-be-released book, “Get Happy and Create a Kick Butt Life, a Toolbox for Rapidly Activating the Life You Desire.” Contact Jackie and take her Become Fearless Quiz online at www.tinyurl.com/HappinessQuiz.

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