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Focus: Honesty — ethics or ego?

Is a compulsion to always speak the truth based on the need to uphold values or simply to pander to our egos?

  • Compiled by Huda Tabrez, Community Web Editor
  • Published: 17:43 April 5, 2012

  • Image Credit: Illustration: Nino Jose Heredia/©Gulf News
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In the good fight for honesty, when does your need to speak the truth stop becoming a struggle for sincerity and start becoming a battle for self? There is no doubt that values of honesty and integrity lay the very foundations of trust and respect in our relationships. To speak the truth, no matter the consequences, is a value that is ingrained in each one of us right from childhood. But somewhere along the way, compromises creep in. But if at times these strict rules are broken or bent, is that really such a bad thing? Is a compulsion to always speak the truth based on the need to uphold values or simply to pander to our egos? Post your thoughts on our Facebook page ‘Gulf News Al Nisr Publishing UAE’ or tell us at readers@gulfnews.com

15:32 Gulf News: Most people speak the truth to feel good about themselves than out of ethical obligations.

15:35 Syed Luqman Faraz: It is a big deal if someone can say they are 100 per cent truthful. I wouldn’t say most people who speak the truth say it just to brag about being honest but I would say there are quite a lot of them. It depends on a person’s mindset.

15:37 Unmesh Datta: As a child, the value of ‘Honesty is the best policy’ has never been forgotten by many. They are the people who always tell the truth no matter who it will affect.

15:39 Don Love: If your friend were to sing a song in front of a group and was just terrible and then asked, “How did I do?” would you really be 100 per cent honest?

15:40 Yesha Harish: Living and speaking with honesty and integrity is very hard. You must live by your word for everything, no buts and excuses. Having integrity and being honest in everything you say and does build trust.

15:40 Maniza Jalal: It is always better to speak the truth, but when a lie can save someone from humiliation and telling a truth - at that particular moment - it is not really necessary, then a lie isn’t really a lie. Anyone can tell the truth when there are no negative consequences.

15:40 Munawar Aziz: I totally agree with the statement because speaking the truth does give you joy and happiness at a personal level.

15:40 Shajitha Shifa: Speaking the truth is the best policy. Why should others feel sad if it is the truth?


15:42 Drishya Dinesh: I think that a truth isn’t always essential. If it is, for example, an honest comment on their bad sense in dressing, people can get hurt.

15:43 Aisha Naseem: When one is in a position, where he/she is safe and secure, mentally and financially, they say what they think is right. Personally, speaking the truth may hurt the person initially, but it only increases the respect they have for you, because you believe they can handle it. Speaking a lie is easy the first time, then difficulties follow. Speaking the truth initially will be difficult, then it is all ease.

15:48 Annu Pramod: Most of the time the motivation to speak the truth is deeply rooted in the fact that truthful ness and honesty are virtues that must be practiced. It has been drilled into us from childhood. Most people carry that on to adulthood. But there maybe situations where truth can be withheld if it causes harm.

15:51 Don Love: There are any number of times when my beautiful bride has said something to me and I have decided not to tell her what I really think. It wasn’t a lie but it wasn’t revealing my true feelings either. And we are happily married because of it.

15:52 Sunil Roy: The interesting thing about telling the truth is, no matter how many times we re-visit the situation, the basis facts remain the same. Thus it is a clear mechanism to safeguard one’s position.

15:55 Vasanthi Samuel: I did not get a job once, since I told the interviewers I didn’t have the proper experience in a particular field. It hurt, and financially even more. But now, I feel that truth will bring joy at the end, even though it hurts initially.

16:00 Gulf News: Denial is our most powerful survival skill.

16:04 Lily Guna: I feel that telling the truth invites problems. Without paying the cost, though, we cannot make ourselves better. Yes, I do agree that at times we don’t have to tell the truth if not asked. Keeping quiet brings peace. As long as we don’t hurt anyone, it is better to deny than to tell the truth and break their heart. We just need to be careful with the relationships that we need to maintain for our lifetime.

16:06 Eisha Gupta: Well, no one likes anyone commenting negatively on one’s personality and life. So yes, people do seek solace in denial and comfort themselves with positive thoughts. And it’s up to the person to come to terms honestly with the criticism and see if it is valid or not. But yes, many times we do negate what others say about us if we dislike it. Having said that, not everything that people criticise about us is right

16:06 Aisha Naseem: People may not like a doctor who is too upfront. They expect the doctor to say the bad news with some emotion. Being truthful doesn’t equate to being brash. Doctors hesitate because they’re humans as well. How comfortable can we be telling someone that their loved one is in a fatal condition?

16:07 Don Love: Before my mother died from cancer, the doctor consistently gave her hope. Denial for three years probably meant she didn’t die in two. But denial is a basic human characteristic. We avoid pain by using it.

16:09 Drishya Dinesh: It is much easier to remain consistent when you are telling the truth than when you lie. It also leaves your conscience clear and unburdened.

16:10 Gulf News: “I’m just being honest” is often simply a way for people to justify nastiness.

16:11 Maniza Jalal: I do not think so, once in a while you have to let the cat out of the bag, you have to make an honest assessment and therefore it cannot be equated to nastiness.

16:11 Ramachandran Nair: I simply don’t believe in those honest people. Throughout my career, I have worked with such individuals and ‘learnt’ a lot from them. People don’t even think before they respond. It is more or less associated with certain individuals, which to my knowledge is difficult to rectify.

16:14 Don Love: So no matter how hurtful something honest is, it is ‘right’ to say it as long as you assure them it is the truth? Would it be different if one spoke the truth and, after realizing they comment was not well received, they said: “I’m just kidding”?

16:16 Nazia Irfan: Yes, when I used to be in school, when I did any art work, my classmates would mock me rather than appreciating the effort, saying: “Even a child can draw that” followed by “No offence, I am just telling the truth.”


16:16 Maniza Jalal: Honesty can never hurt anybody on the long run. At the same time being honest does not mean that you need to confront all your enemies at once. But it is required to make an honest start and accepting things as they come. It is essential to practice honesty at every stage of life.

16:17 Gautham Manoj: People must take care to use proper words for the situation while telling the truth. I feel they should try to read the person’s mood and mind and try not to evoke bad feelings in the other person’s mind.

16:22 Aisha Naseem: The conversation begins with us saying, “He/She is so rude, you know - really a terrible person” and ends with “But he/she is right you know, whichever way”.

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