National Honesty Day observed nationally on April 30th was created by author M. Hirsch Goldberg who wrote The Book of Lies. In an article he wrote for the Baltimore Sun in 1993, he stated that the purpose of National Honesty Day was to counteract April Fool’s Day observed on April 1st which celebrates the tradition of telling lies. He wrote “I was astonished with how much our history has been affected by lying and how deception is becoming an increasing part of our society.” He notes that National Honesty Day provides an opportunity to “renew and refresh our sense of values and ethics.”
Pamela Meyer is a Certified Fraud Examiner, author of Liespotting: Proven Techniques to Detect Deception, and CEO of Calibrate, a company that specializes in “customized, leading edge deception detection training to public and private sector entities worldwide.” In July of 2011 she presented at TEDGlobal and stated that on average we are lied to anywhere between 10 and 200 times a day. She goes on to say that we lie more to strangers than coworkers, extroverts lie more than introverts, men lie 8 times more about themselves than they do about other people, women lie more to protect others, married couples lie to each other 1 in every 10 interactions, and unmarried couples lie to each other 1 in every 3 interactions.
So, in a world where everyone seems to lie, where is the value in telling the truth?
Being honest encourages others to do the same. When you change, the people around you change as well because we all have some influence over our environment and our response to it. Think about it. How much better would our daily interactions be if we all just told the truth and used it to further communication, collaboration, and productivity instead of hiding behind partial truths or flat out lies?
Honesty is important because it tells you something about what you stand for. At the end of the day it is most important to be honest with yourself. After all, if you can’t be honest with the real you, how can you be honest with others?
This is particularly relevant in relationships. Feigned interest in activities you can’t stand to gain favor with someone you’re attracted to means your relationship is resting on a foundation of deception. And then what? Keeping up that lie takes effort. In a world demanding of your time, focus, and energy do you really want to devote what limited physical and emotional reserve you have to supporting a lie? It’s also not fair to the person who is interested in getting to know the real you. And the reality is, you can’t keep up pretenses forever. People deserve real love which starts with genuine connection. If you can’t start a relationship with trust, then why start one at all?
It’s also important to remember that lying is self-perpetuating. The more we do it and get away with it, the easier it is to continue the process. And just like anything we practice, the more we do it, the better we get at it. At what point does it stop? When we lose our job? When we lose our relationship? When we irreparably damage a friendship?
If lying comes naturally to you, it’s important to think about why it’s difficult for you to be truthful. Is there a particular short-coming or emotion that makes it hard to tell the truth? These questions are important to answer so you can discover your own truth, which gives you the opportunity to change the course of your life and become a better you.
*Originally published on the Inpathy Bulletin