This article is part of a five-part series on High Noon’s values:
Contributed by Andrew Love
Let’s talk about honesty.
Although It may seem like a fairly straightforward topic, honesty is a skill that often eludes us because it is not something that our society openly honors. For many in fact, honesty is considered as a last possible option rather than a top priority.
Honesty is a virtue that High Noon extols as something that needs to be applied to every aspect of our lives in order to live fully without shadows. Honesty allows us to experience freedom from hiding our indiscretions. The more acutely we harness the power of honesty, the quicker we can resolve any conflict we face- either internally or with others.
Consider for a moment the notion of an ‘Honesty Loop’.
An efficient honesty loop would manifest in someone acting quickly to share openly when they act out of line with their own personal standards. If they lie, cheat, steal, hurt someone, etc., their impulse to include another person into their misgivings wins over their mind and they naturally share from their heart. The more someone lives like that, the more offensive it is to hide secrets or to keep any indiscretions inside.
Conversely, when someone has a very loose honesty loop, it is very difficult for them to share honestly with anyone about what is going on in their lives. The longer someone dwells in that state, the more their shame piles up and the harder it is to include others into their internal processing. Telling the truth becomes a painful experience and honesty feels foreign.
What type of honesty loop do you have? This question extends to all areas of your life:
- Life goals
- Health & fitness
The shadows in our lives can be eliminated when we choose humility and confess to the loved ones in our lives. The longer we wait to share with others, the more we start to justify delaying honesty and the bigger our shadows become.
What would a life of total honesty look? How would you live, what would you think, who would you surround yourself with?
Learning the skill of being honest with yourself first is crucial. It is impossible to share honestly with anybody else, unless you can understand how you honestly think and feel. We are prone to rationalize, reason, justify, and excuse our indiscretions. It feels like we are getting away with something when we slip through the grips of responsibility and choose avoidance rather than honesty. But there is always a price to be paid. Our conscience is our compass to lead us back to where our soul wants to live. When we ignore it’s cries in the hopes that our problems will resolve themselves, our conscience becomes agitated.
A person with a ‘heavy heart’ or a ‘troubled conscience’ lives in pain. It is inescapable. If we continue to choose dishonesty, eventually our conscience is rendered unconscious and falls into a state of comatose. This is when we become numb.
A person can’t exist in perpetual pain, we all have a threshold. When we live in avoidance of our conscience, its voice is reduced to a faint whisper.
During our various tours around the globe, High Noon has encountered this question many times from various people:
What happens if I just stop caring about hurting myself or others?
What if I don’t care that watching porn is hurting others?
This question is very much linked to someone who is living separately from their conscience and from honesty. To live in a state of apathy is very dangerous. We have nerve endings in our fingers to let us know what is too hot or cold to touch. Our entire bodies are wired for self preservation.
So too is our soul. When we live in accordance with our spirit’s desire, we are filled with a sense of connection and wonderment. We become replete, and a sense of peace and belonging in our own skin prevails. When we harbor resentment, lies, shame, etc., it becomes almost unbearable to live. We want to escape our situation, our thoughts and sometimes even our bodies. This is hell.
Avoidance is hell.
Connection is heaven.
That’s why we need to be honest with ourselves first. How could we even consider the notion of revealing ourselves to another person if we weren’t in direct contact with our sense of self. To be honest with yourself is to learn how to see both your positive attributes and your shortcomings. If you only see the good in yourself, you will never grow. Likewise, if you’re only able to complain about yourself, you will be stuck in a very dark place. Focusing on your own positive and negative aspects are ultimately about feeding your ego.
One truth that everyone must grapple with is the fact that we are not merely ourselves, we are children of God. We didn’t create ourselves, nor any of the systems that keep life functioning and flowing in this cosmos. So to be able to only see the negative is to deny our own intrinsic value. Conversely, to only see the positive is also a denial of our responsibility to continually grow. Wisdom is not something that you can learn from a book, rather something that you accumulate from experience. There is plenty that we do not know or understand. Being humbled to that fact is our gateway to continual growth. The more we can remain learners, the more that we can insure the expansion of awareness and virtue. The more assume our awareness is sufficient, less that we are able to grow.
So, on a very basic level honesty looks like understanding yourself.
Once you move from that level, it is important to learn how you interact with the world.
What are your hopes and dreams?
What are your fears and doubts?
Where do you have pain from the past?
Where do you find pride and joy?
Getting honest about your own intricacies and peculiarities is all a part of honesty. You cannot honestly know why you fear something unless you also understand what you cherish so much that you are afraid to lose. Learning what makes you joyful allows you to know what you are truly striving for. Getting to know yourself sincerely is a lifelong journey, but It is a true joy to have an intimate relationship with yourself.
Honesty with others can be interesting. Sometimes our honesty might just appear as an unhelpful complaint that we have in our hearts and may not contribute in a beneficial way to another person’s journey. If somebody is acting in a way you don’t like and you simply share honestly without filter, you may in fact discover that the problem is in fact your personal limitations, which could damage your relationship.
Some people feel that their emotions are 100% justified and they can go around telling everybody how they feel all the time. This way of living is akin to a bulldozer and isn’t productive either. Unprocessed emotion is merely that – unprocessed. Building the capacity to digest emotions is part of self awareness and self mastery. It is a part of the first blessing. Avoiding feelings is a form of repression and eventually your feelings will catch up with you.
Communication can be highly productive, but it can also make a situation worse when not done properly. Sometimes you just need to keep your mouth shut and figure out what you are feeling and why, otherwise your mouth could serve as a wrecking ball, destroying everything in its path.
After we’ve learned what emotions we are experiencing and having some sense of why, it’s important to reach out to someone you trust.
Who you speak to is very important! If you consult someone who is also struggling in a similar way, it could simply spread the feelings of hopelessness, rather than resolving anything. If you are angry and you hang out with angry people, they will only validate your anger rather than help you discover a more productive way forward. When we have a trained professional such as someone is clergy, a therapist of some variety, etc.–they can help us process our thoughts and emotions when we are stuck.
In terms of horizontal relationships, to unveil your raw thoughts and feelings to close friends and family can often serve more as a burden to them because it’s hard to even understand what the root of a problem is when the emotional tone is so fresh.
Parents understand this more than anyone. They deal with the raw emotions of their children constantly and it is exhausting. They can throw a tantrum in a store, while crossing a road, in a subway, pretty much anywhere. Their feelings are so close to the surface that they often sneak out without much warning at all. And if a parent isn’t mature, they might meet the child where they are at and react with a corresponding emotion. A parent who has done their own legwork with emotional maturity, emotion, emotional growth can help a child process their raw emotions. The less internally mature someone is, the more the emotions of others impacts their state and they become triggered.
That’s why in terms of relationships, It is really, really important to first take time to process emotions, to learn honesty within the self first as a foundation to then share honesty with somebody else.
Our relationship with the divine comes in extra handy at this point because our minds and our hearts have very clear limitations. Maturity as well as wisdom is acquired through experience. We are only able to grow our hearts after we first reach our limitations and pierce through its barrier.
Left to our own, we tend to justify our wrongdoings and rationalize our shortcomings. Without including God in the process, We will always run into an otherwise impenetrable wall of our inability to love. Humans didn’t invent love, nor do we produce it. We are merely the vessels of a love far greater than anyone of us. Connecting to God helps us to plug into that love when we run out.
When we invite our Heavenly Parent to sit with us as we process an event or an emotion, we are able to gain wisdom beyond our narrow intellect, and feelings beyond our limited heart. That is the exact moment when we can learn to love another person that we were not naturally able to. That’s when we can experience inspiration, the likes of which is supernatural, that can shift our state and cause us to leap from feeling isolated to total connection.
So honesty, in a nutshell, is the process of getting to know yourself, Getting to know others and getting to know God in an appropriate way.
The only way you can find out what is appropriate to share, what to withhold, what to process on your own, what to ask help for, is through trial and error. Honesty isn’t a cookie cutter solution, or state. It’s something that operates on the level of intuition and needs to be honed and harnessed. When we become acquainted with the process of becoming fully honest, we will understand more instinctively when we should sit prayerfully and when we should share with another person. Who we should share with will become much clearer as well.
Being honest, is being self aware. The more we practice self awareness, the quicker we will be able to resolve any issues we are contending with in life and move forward with clarity and power.