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Why You May Be Less Honest than You Think

Embrace Humility to Cultivate Self-Honesty

Honest character begins with radical self-honesty.

Being honest with yourself starts with valuing the truth over everything else — including how you feel or what you already think and believe.

If you’re interested in truth, you have to be humble enough to receive and accept information that conflicts with how you may feel or what you already may think or believe.

Many, if not most, people are so attached to their feelings and beliefs that they cannot fully embrace the humility to admit they could be wrong about their reasons for holding on to them.

The idea that they might be mistaken about essential elements of their identity is terrifying. After all, if they’re wrong about those things, the world might make less sense to them, and that kind of uncertainty seems threatening to most people. Plus, changing how one feels, thinks, or believes is hard work, which many people prefer to avoid.

Dishonesty with yourself is the inevitable result of allowing fear and psychological laziness to prevent you from embracing humility and the challenge of searching for truth (no matter where that search takes you).

Until you embrace humility and value truth above everything else, you will be incapable of being completely honest with yourself, much less anyone else!

Avoid Echo Chambers

If everyone in your life is simply affirming and amplifying your own feelings and beliefs, you’re unlikely to be sufficiently willing to question the basis of your feelings or the veracity of your beliefs.

Challenging, with charity, the feelings and beliefs of those we love requires great courage, charity, and trust in the strength of our relationships!

Simply telling people what they want to hear is easy. Affirming what others already believe is easy and feels good. Affirming another person’s feelings makes them feel good.

True charity requires us to do what is good for others, not just what feels good to them. Willing the good of another, therefore, requires us to speak (someone’s uncomfortable) truths in a spirit of humility and love.

The people who love, respect, and trust you most are those willing to (lovingly) tell you what they sincerely believe you need to hear, whether or not you want to hear it. An honest person will value these relationships above all others and avoid echo chambers.

“He who heeds instruction is on the path to life, but he who rejects reproof goes astray.”
Proverbs 10:17

Dive Deeper:

John M. Grohol, Psy.D. (2011). The Psychology of Confirmation Bias. Medically reviewed by Scientific Advisory Board.

© 2021 Noel Bagwell. All Right Reserved.




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A consultancy working with leaders, who have suffered a personal or professional setback, so they can Lead Again™.

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