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Is It Better to Be Right or Honest? An Exploration of Being an Honest Person

I consider myself an honest person, but I'm still practicing.

Your immediate reaction may be, “Honest… duh”. But do you hold yourself to that response in the heat of the moment? When you are in the middle of a debate, argument or explanation of your actions and realize, “I may not be right this time”, do you keep defending yourself with dishonest excuses for fear of embarrassment or simply being incorrect?

We are docked points throughout our grade school years for being incorrect, and our grades reflect just how right we were on tests, how correctly we compiled an essay and how rightly creative we can be. Can you be incorrectly creative? My high school art teacher thought so.

Cheating and dishonesty policies are riddled throughout school handbooks, terms and conditions, and orientations. Students risk their permanent records and reputations answer questions correctly, rather than be honest about their level of knowledge.

Couples lie to each other for a million reasons. I find myself not wanting my husband to think less of me when I make a mistake or am incorrect.

I lied to my ex-fiancé to end a fight, avoid confrontation, get out of an argument and to cover the fact that I was unhappy.

I have been dishonest at jobs to make sure that I didn’t look bad. I've made flimsy arguments to ensure that I was not proven incorrect.

I have lied to my parents about homework, friends, drinking and drugs (Hi mom!) for fear of a disciplinary correction.

With the pressure of being right throughout life, honesty seems to ride in the back seat, maybe even the trunk.

In my first serious relationship, I lied. A lot. Like I mentioned before, it got me out of arguments, or I was able to avoid them completely. There were many things wrong in my first relationship but if we had both been honest with each other, would we have drug out an unhappy relationship for so long? If I had been completely honest with myself neither of us would have suffered as we did. I was trying so hard to make our relationship “right” that there was nothing honest about it by the end.

If you tell yourself, especially in a relationship, “This is what you are supposed to do, this is how it is supposed to be” because you must tolerate something, you are lying to yourself. Challenge yourself to instead say, “This isn’t right, this is not how it is supposed to be”. Honest thoughts are harder to digest because they mean stress.

Being dishonest with yourself is probably more damaging than being dishonest with anyone else. Except maybe like, the cops. If there is one thing that you take away from this article, please be honest with law enforcement, and don’t be a butthole to them. Your life will be so much easier.

So which is better? Temporarily making yourself feel better, or opening a can of whoop-ass on your heart and mind even if it is for the best for everyone?

Let’s imagine you are at work. You got distracted or got busy or dawdled, whatever the reason, you did not meet a deadline. Your boss is now asking what happened and why.

You: “Well I would have gotten it done if it weren’t for the crazy amount of work I have on my desk.”

Boss: “Why didn’t you delegate or schedule an extension?”

You: “We have been so busy that I couldn’t get to it.”

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Boss: “Being busy is a good thing, not an excuse.”

You: “Well maybe if SandrDee wasn’t such a chatty Cathy, we had a proper printer and my pay was better I would have tried harder.”

This is a slue of excuses and a conversation that has gone on far too long (and in real life would be much longer). Both parties would leave feeling unaccomplished and frustrated. Is it more important for you to be correct about why it was impossible to meet your deadline or to be honest about your performance? Let’s look at this another way.

Boss: “Why did you miss your deadline?”

You: “I have been easily distracted recently by the amount of work I’ve been assigned and it slipped through the cracks. I’ll delegate something else and complete that task next.”

End of conversation. Taking responsibility may be more difficult at the moment, but there is more respect salvaged from the relationship with your boss in the second conversation because of honesty.

Why is it so hard to say, “My bad”?

If you ask yourself, “Am I beautiful?” Do you respond, “No I’m the ugliest person ever.” That would be untrue. How would you even know? Have you looked at every single person ever?

If your wife asks you, “Do I look like I am stuffed into this top?” please don’t respond with, “Yes, my pretty little sausage.” There is a difference between honesty and polite honesty. “You have a lot of other things I know you would feel dynamite in.” would be a far less dangerous response that is sprinkled with polite honesty.

White lies are a whole different type of situation that I personally believe is harmless.

So, is it better to be right or honest?

It is far better for me in my life to be honest, so much so that I frankly don’t care if other people think that I’m right or wrong. What do you think? Are we raised to be right no matter what but discouraged to be dishonest? Can we be right and honest? If you are honest, does that make you right?


Dianna on September 29, 2019:

You are so right about being honest. Honesty means never being caught in a lie. My memory sucks, so honesty is definitely the way to go, always has been.

Deborah Demander from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD on September 29, 2019:

It is always, always better to be kind than right. And honesty, truthfulness is definitely better than being right. Being right is egotistical. It's okay to let go of the need to always be right, and practice being kind and truthful.


Catherine Berry (author) from Belgrade on September 29, 2019:

Does 'right' mean correct, righteous or simply the opposite of left? haha. Are honesty and truthfulness the same thing? I don't think that righteous morals are equivalent to honesty. What if your morals demanded dishonesty at some point?

rafia from lahore pakistna on September 29, 2019:

I can not find the difference between right and honest .....Like being morally right and honest ...isn't it one thing. I see it as one thing.

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