Sometimes, It’s Just Hard to Be Honest

She had a bad breath. I could not stand it. So I ended our relationship. She asked why. I told her I wasn’t the best guy, I couldn’t commit anymore. Her world fell apart. She was my college girlfriend.

When the church people invited me to join their special gathering, I made a lot of excuses. I told them I would be gone somewhere and I already have appointments, instead of saying NO. I didn’t want to be in that place. I didn’t want to hear their sermons. I’m sick and tired of it.

He always blames me. He always bullies me. Then one day, I couldn’t stand it. I didn’t show up. I stopped hanging out with him and his friends. I stopped communicating. He asked what’s wrong. I didn’t tell the truth, I was busy, I made a lot of excuses. He was once my friend.

But I could not tell them the truth. I could not tell my ex-girlfriend, the church people, my friend, and the many people whom I lied. I couldn’t express my true feelings as it would be offensive. I didn’t want to hurt or insult them. I wanted to have a good relationship.

But now I’ve realized that this cycle of  lying or “not telling everything” has been making me guilty. Am I being helpful to the person I lied to? Does it make me a better human being?

Let’s be honest. Most of us do the same.

We call it “white lies.”

But I don’t agree. There’s no such thing as white lies. All lies are black (or maybe they really don’t have colors).

When we lie we hide something from people instead of being vulnerable and authentic, which are the foundation of a healthy relationship.

Some people said that honesty is contextual. For instance, a murderer asked where your friend is. You ought not tell the truth even if you know. Otherwise, your friend will be dead.

I get it. But if you’re really sure your friend will be murdered, then why tell the truth? This time, you’re not totally lying. You are protecting your friend.

There’s a difference between lying and protecting.

Sometimes I don’t tell the truth to protect my well-being — spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical. Or to protect other people.

Sometimes I don’t tell the truth to please people and protect them and avoid conflicts. I hate conflicts. I’m not good at it. And I’m tired of pleasing people.

But sometimes I tell the truth. Just, not everything (because I’m hiding something to protect myself or others).

Schools teach us the importance of honesty. But they failed to instill when to use honesty. Should we be honest all the time? I don’t know.

Psychologist Dr. Brad Blanton initiated Radical Honesty — a direct and open and expressive kind of communication. He believes it’s the best way to reduce stress and heal the past. A lot of people use his approach. I admire them.

But it’s so hard for me. I’ve never done it. I always have secrets to hide myself and not hurt others. Maybe I can be radically honest in the right situation and for the right people.

But I don’t want lies either. I want people to be honest with me. We all want that. And I admire sincerity and transparency.

Maybe someday, I can make it. I can be the most honest person to ever walk on this planet. Then again, I’m not. Am I being negative? Maybe.

Or it could be that I’m just telling the truth.

I’m being honest about the difficulty of being honest.

What do you think?

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Jade Panugan

I follow my curiosity and write to understand. I love to cultivate my passions, craft new ideas, nurture wisdom, and learn more about life. I believe we're here not just to pursue our desires, but also, seek understanding, help each other, and make a difference. If there's anything you want to discuss or share, contact me.