Monday, November 28, 2011


Honesty... another one of those words used daily and yet understood very little.

It goes beyond simply telling the truth. There are a whole lot of dishonest things we do, whether out of malice or kindness that aren't lies per se, but they still aren't honest.

Take, for example, something I touched on in my last post. I mentioned how we shouldn't buy gifts out of duty for people who don't really need them anyway. We think of it as a "nice" thing to do, or even something that we're supposed to do, and we rarely take a step back to realize that the action is dishonest.

Say you have a relative who you've never been close to. You see them at all the major family gatherings including Christmas, and the two of you exchange little gifts as you do with everyone else there. If I told you to stop getting a gift for that person, the understandable reaction is to think it's rude. But think about it like this - you never talk to that person any other time of the year, you probably forget their existence most of the year, and you don't share any special memories or feelings with this person. Your only real connection to them is through family and even at that, the connection is likely not all that close.

Why do we give gifts? It comes from ancient practices of congregations giving gifts to their leaders or priests (even to God as offerings). The giving of a gift is meant to show that you find the recipient to be tremendously important to you.

Therefore, giving a gift to someone you barely know, don't think about and may not even like all that much is dishonest.

This is just food for thought, as is often the case in my writing. It is healthy to question the things we take for granted in life and to give ourselves the freedom to be someone or something other than what we've always been told we have to be. Most of what we've learned in life we've learned by example. Our habits come from what we've seen rather than what we really want. We end up unhappy and unable to understand what is causing our unhappiness. Taking the time to re-examine the habits and traditions of our lives can help us to understand where the odd and unfathomable discontent is coming from.

Dishonesty is a source for the discontent we experience. Deep down we know that an action is not true to the core of who we are and what we want, and yet because of circumstance, duty, perceived need, laws, etc, we proceed anyway. Then we suffer a pain that seems unrelated and do not understand its source is actually that we are being dishonest with ourselves about what we really want.

Most of us suffer this discontent, and almost no one knows how to dissolve it out of their lives.

Next time you go to do something and find yourself procrastinating, dreading, or avoiding the situation, take some time and consider whether what you are about to do is in fact true to you. If not, consider finding another way to handle the situation that is right for you. Everything is a learning process, and with patience and persistence, you can change your thinking to be more true to yourself in time.

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