Can I Be Frank??

No, I do not want to be a man.

“Please don't lie to me, unless you're absolutely sure I'll never find out the truth.” ~Ashleigh Brilliant, English Author & Cartoonist

I believe in honesty. It is not difficult. Once you have had far too many lies in your life, faith in the truth … often brutal … comes rather naturally. Freedom comes with subscribing to the philosophy that honesty is essential. Lies breed more lies. Keeping up with that many “stories” has got to be overwhelmingly exhausting. I have no idea how people do it.

“Sometimes people can surprise you. Sometimes they have a great capacity to hear the truth.” ~The Verdict, Film (1982)

I know. I know. Most of us come from homes where telling the truth is emphasized (pounded into our skulls) from birth. And yet, what seems like human nature … the need to “cover your ass” (C.Y.A.) … comes early in life. I see it all the time. Don’t you? The standoff between disappointed parent and caught-in-the-act toddler who is managing to spit out a line of complete bull in a desperate attempt to avoid punishment. Those of us raising children expend untold amounts of energy in frantically trying to convince our offspring that telling the absolute truth really will result in a benefit for them. Kids are never convinced. I firmly believe that life has to get in the way a few times before we humans truly learn our lesson about the need to be honest.

Preaching about the need to tell the truth does not extend merely to parenting. How many cliché phrases are out there that involve honesty??

“Honesty is the best policy.”
“The truth will set you free.”
“Truth fears no questions.”
“No legacy is so rich as honesty.”
“Dare to be honest.”
“When in doubt, tell the truth.”

Actually, most of these phrases become not-so-cliché when the sources (Shakespeare, Twain, etc.) are identified … but I digress. My point is this:

When we spend so much time and effort on emphasizing the importance of honesty in our lives …

… why is it then that we find it so bloody easy to lie to ourselves?

“To change for others is to lie to yourself.” ~Mona Lisa Smile, Film (2003)

“Above all, do not lie to yourself. A man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point where he does not discern any truth either in himself or anywhere around him, and thus falls into disrespect towards himself and others. Not respecting anyone, he ceases to love, and having no love, he gives himself up to passions and coarse pleasures, in order to occupy and amuse himself, and in his vices reaches complete beastiality, and it all comes from lying continually to others and to himself. A man who lies to himself is often the first to take offense. It sometimes feels very good to take offense, doesn't it? And surely he knows that no one has offended him, and that he himself has invented the offense and told lies just for the beauty of it, that he has exaggerated for the sake of effect, that he has picked on a word and made a mountain out of a pea- he knows all of that, and still he is the first to take offense, he likes feeling offended, it gives him great pleasure, and thus he reaches the point of real hostility...” ~Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov


  1. The power of an honest word cannot be underestimated. However, that sai, I do believe there should be a marked distinction between honesty and full disclosure.

    It's easy to lie to ourselves because it's usually soemthing we desperately want to believe about ourselves, and progress only happens one painful step at a time, and only when it's more painful to NOT step. Cursed law of inertia.

  2. bg ~ Yes, yes ... partial disclosure has a place.

    todd ~ One of my favorites. I think I have used it a number of times now.

  3. Lost my comment I think. Let me try again.

    Love Dostoevsky, read him a lot in San Antonio.

    Honesty UNBRIDLED when issues are important/vital and personally defining, otherwise, artistic license reigns.

  4. jim ~ Good word. "Unbridled"


"Stranger, if you passing meet me and desire to speak to me, why should you not speak to me? And why should I not speak to you?" ~Walt Whitman


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