Existential Psychology

Just Being Honest

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When some people make a comment and say “I’m just being honest,” if they were really being honest with themselves they would probably have to admit that they are actually just trying to be cruel and have found a plausible rationalization to make themselves feel okay about it. Honesty is worthless when it is used as a vehicle to tear others down.

Counselors quickly learn that sometimes people aren’t yet ready to hear a truth, and that haphazardly stating it can cause a lot of damage. We can’t help people unless we deliver the right truth at the right time.

When you are considering telling someone your version of the truth it’s worth asking yourself who of the two of you will really benefit from hearing it. Is it meant to make you feel superior in some way? Ask yourself if this truth is really meant to assist in the other’s growth and personal development.

We put a high premium on honesty in our culture, making us blind to the fact that sometimes the truth can be every bit as poisonous as a lie when this truth is not used responsibly. From an existential standpoint, honesty means being honest with yourself about the fundamental reasons for wanting to convey a truth to someone else. If these reasons are centered in the authentic desire to help foster well-being then this truth will probably be valuable to the other. If not you might want to keep it to yourself.