Is it possible to be too honest, or is honesty always the best policy?

Ben Franklin thought “Honesty is the best policy,” and I agree. We should be honest in our relations with other people, and in making decisions. Being honest keeps life simple, and more manageable. It gives one’s actions a kind of continuity and direction. It also engenders trust and hopefully honesty in return.

So, honesty is an admirable trait, but it begins with being honest about and with ourselves. Carefully and thoroughly looking at our strengths and weaknesses, and perhaps our intentions and agendas, is essential before we attempt to be “honest” with others.

There is little chance of being too honest. However, there’s a big difference being honest and being critical, rude, impolite or unkind. Kindness is an attribute to be cultivated as much as honesty. In our relationships with others, it’s often best to choose moments to honestly express our opinions, and take into consideration their ideas and feelings.

Sometimes, however, it’s easier to be honest in our assessments of other people than it is with ourselves. Truthfulness and honesty go hand-in-hand, but neither should be used as a wedge or a weapon in our relationships. When we’ve recognized that we have faults, that we have developed as unique individuals based on our experiences, we have to see that in others, too, and combine honesty with acceptance.

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