S:0152 Distinction: Honesty vs. Openness

(Distinctions are subtleties of language that, when gotten, cause a shift in a belief, behavior, value or attitude.)

 

Honesty is a measure of truthfulness. Honesty is a matter of your personal integrity and is a precursor to being able to live as an authentic person.

You decide to be an honest person or not. It seems that most people, when feeling they have an option, will choose honesty as a cornerstone of their value system. One reason is that life is much simpler once you have made a commitment to practice honesty. Another is that you free up a lot of energy otherwise wasted on lies.

A common cause of someone not being honest is for them to protect a real or imagined flaw in themselves; it is very difficult to tell the truth if you feel it will disclose something of you about which you feel shame. To spend time strengthening your personal foundation is to spend time allowing yourself to be honest, with yourself and with others.

Whereas honesty is a measure of truthfulness, openness is a measure of the information disclosed. You can live a completely honest life and still not have to tell everything you know. Use discretion and sensitivity when deciding how open to be, even as you are being honest. For instance you may decline to answer a question (an honest response) and limit your openness, if you so choose. Also being inappropriately open may just be a form of dumping your stuff at the expense of another and may have nothing to do with you being honest.

 

Coaching Point: Are you honest because you want to be and you can be or because you feel you should be?

 

Copyright 1998 Steve Straus. All rights reserved.