I’d argue that honesty is the entire foundation of ethics. You don’t have ethics or morality without honesty.
It’s funny ’cause people tend to have a problem with honesty. Sometimes we don’t like the truth so we bend it, bury it, avoid and deny it. How can we act ethically when we’re not even in tune with the truth or reality itself? How can we be truly ethical when we’re lost and wandering in some story of our own making?
The truth is, we can’t. We tell ourselves we’re a good person, even when we’re doing bad things. We tell ourselves we’re nice, when we’re actually mean. We tell ourselves we’re a good boss, employee, parent, brother, sister or whatever, when we never call home, we slack off at work, we bully or manipulate people, or we act selfishly and unkind.
Ethics and morality are very big topics with endless perspectives, but this one point, about honesty, can never be sidestepped or dismissed. It’s only when we start acknowledging the truth — being honest — that we can fix our bad behavior. Honesty helps us see reality. This means admitting the uglier side of things, but only then can we improve things. So, honesty really does make things better. The truth really does set us free!
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