Honesty: Words Are Weapons

DP Challenge: Is it possible to be too honest, or is honesty always the best policy?

They just had to ask that today, of all days…

I finally buckled down this a.m. and did some serious meditation and thinking, talking inside and out loud to God. This is a new thing to chat out loud with God. It’s a bit like visiting a grave site – it’s between me and the person who is now with God – I don’t know any that are not, in my judgment. And, I always figure they do not need me to say this out loud. But what if I am wrong?

This word, “Honesty” is like so much of our English language – open to interpretation. We use it to bare our souls, “In all honesty…,” or to shred somebody, “I have to say honestly…” (Tell me you cannot hear the tone that is said in..blech!)

Back in the 70’s there was something called EST, where they brought a group of people together, who paid for the privilege of encountering themselves and their inner obstacles by spending a weekend confronting themselves and others. That is what I was told, as I never attended an EST weekend or evening. I observed how they were when they got out and they were assholes. They hurt people verbally with their honesty – all under the banner of, “Well, at least I am honest.” As though it were a virtue. I hate bullies with a profound hatred nothing else brings out in me. Not even ignorance or stupidity can cause me to swell up as someone being mean or unnecessarily cruel. Particularly with words. Words are weapons. They are surgical instruments. They can heal and sooth. They can cut like a knife and leave gaping wounds for years on end inside someone’s psyche.

That said, every year on January 1, I pull Angel Cards for the annual theme. If you’ve been a consistent reader here, you know I pull ’em for the week and for the day as a way of thinking God is advising me on what to focus for the week and/or the day. Can’t leave the year out, now can I? These are qualities written on tiny little cards – all positive but some have a bite to ’em that you have to wrap your head around. Obedience is one of those. Agh! Who wants to pull the Obedience card? Nobody, trust me on this one. And yet… the little Angel who illustrates the meaning is astride a motorcycle at a stop signal… hmmm. So maybe you might take that card to mean, listen within and act on that inner voice signaling you… maybe. That’s how I choose to interpret Obedience.

Last year’s Angel Cards were Willingness (Angel washing stacks of dishes) and Inspiration (Angel painting a gorgeous sunset or dawn) coming in – what I was to receive throughout the year and going out was Surrender (Angel standing on a hill, waving a white flag). I leave them out all year long, right where my gaze will find ’em and remind me what I am working towards throughout the year.

I gave myself a good grade on being willing to act on any inspiration that came through. That Surrender card, though… whew…. I am a fighter and I don’t believe in surrender. Yeah, but God is a different, a different … Being, I guess would be a good word – better than entity or issue. He/She/It doesn’t fight, they nudge – a little here, a little there… Occasionally, they knock you on your butt. You have to choose to surrender to God. He/She/It is perfectly willing to wait you out. A siege like none other. I told myself I could do it, I could surrender. He/She/It just kept right on nudging me, much like the first horse I ever met or Ella, the Greythound when she spots me filling up her dinner bowl and herds me to get on with it.

It’s January 3, 2014 and I had some clearing up to do with God. Being unemployed means I waste an extraordinary amount of time worrying and fretting about how I am going to pay my bills. Through a series of events, I have made it through almost two years – February 29, 2012 was my last honest paycheck. I received unemployment and then extended unemployment and cashed in my 401k, and friends graciously came through. I use the word “honest” here in the sense it was by my own labor -not dependent on anyone for anything.

My Angel Cards for this year are Humor coming in and Honesty going out. Coincidentally, yesterday I had received Humour coming in and I have got to say there was little I found funny about my day. I am just not that spiritually advanced. But it looks like I might grow spiritually if that incoming Humour card is to be received. Honesty going out is a bit of a puzzle. Anyone who knows me will tell you I’m honest to a fault – and by that, not necessarily in my best interest. The Honest Angel faces herself in the mirror. It is the outgoing card, what I am to give out to others. Well, it will not be meanness or a cruel verbal blow or witty sparring that cuts at the cost of someone else bleeding. Hopefully, I will use it to reflect back to others their best. I am not surrendering on this.

32 thoughts on “Honesty: Words Are Weapons

  1. I’m with you on this one, CRH. Too many people use the word “honest” as an excuse to hurt people. You can be honest without being hurtful. My favorite honesty is compliments. When I see a stranger wearing something that flatters them, I let them know on no uncertain terms that they look fabulous. The odds are usually pretty good that the recipient of the compliment is going to tell me that I made their day. Flattery will get you no where. If you give someone a compliment, make it a completely honest one.

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    • Audrey Dawn, people come to you because they know in their heart what you will say to them and they’re looking for you to deliver – whether they “like” it or not. My sister pointed that out to me when I’d gone looking for praise and support and she poured rain down on me, saying afterwards, “You know me, Hunt. You know what I’m going to say. You’ve plenty of friends who give you support for this. Why didn’t you call them…?” Boy was I mad at her, but her words stuck and I had to admit she was absolutely right. In your case, Audrey, think of it as the Truth card – two Angels holding hands facing one another. The mirror one of Honesty shades that differently. 🙂

      And, yeah! We are NOT surrendering on this!

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      • It is always hard to deliver honesty so I’ve worked very hard to work on my approach. Those who come to us trust us and I couldn’t be more relieved that they do. I suppose I worry that at some point I’ll get under someone’s skin over my honesty. Might be why I don’t engage peronally on that kind of level with a lot of people.

        Honesty with everyone, yes. Honesty to the point where it seems personal…not as many.

        Thanks for reminding me. I like the image of two Angels..

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      • Nice piece. I have never heard of the concept of Angel Cards before. But possibly the lesson might be that to the extent appropriate to try and deliver honesty with humour and top take honesty with humour. There is no need to be mean, but the best friend is the one who will tell you that you have spinach between your teeth.

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        • Judy of The Curtain Raiser, I got a chance to go by and read some of yours today – you’ve been working! I like your interpretation and not only will a best friend tell you about the spinach, but also the mascara dribbling down your face…

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  2. Nice post! 🙂 Honesty like the freedom of speech should be wielded like any other thing which has power, and that is with wisdom (knowledge, understanding, love). Otherwise it is just an abuse of power to do what you have said – to cut down, to disfigure, to cause chaos.
    I just over all liked the feeling of this post..and maybe the Humour may also mean that though one should be careful of how one wields the power of Honesty towards others, same applies for ourselves as well? That sometimes, looking at the lighter side of things, helps…sometimes in a big way, sometimes in little ways? 🙂

    Again..I really like this post…for some reason..I had to repeat that three times! LOL.

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    • Glad you liked it three times, Shree! 🙂 I like your thought on utilizing the two together. My brother is a serious creature as well, who can tell the funniest stories where you laugh so hard, your stomach hurts. One of his friends said to him, “Hey, S, do you know why angels can fly? Because they are Light. Lighten up, S!” Grin

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  3. A good way to start the year P – have an idea of where you’re heading to and how you’re heading there. I can do humour for you – can send you a joke every day of this entire year. That way, even if you don’t see anything funny in your life, you can always laugh at the jokes 😉
    As for honesty – probably more so honesty towards yourself than to others – because that’s where it starts…

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    • Welcome DLB! I visited you and your brand new blog. Good on you for jumping in – you will find the water warm and the company some of the best in the universe. So pleased you wanted to follow. Grin.

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  4. Pingback: Daily Prompt: Truth or Dare | Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss

  5. Ironically, I have found that people who pride themselves on ‘telling it like it is’ don’t seem good at receiving the same frankness. I would say the test of what one says should not only be whether it is the truth, but also whether saying it is likely to cause more good than leaving it unsaid would do.

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  6. Hunt,

    The two cards chosen for you this year “Humor” and “Honesty” seem appropriate and will both serve you well as you serve them. I do need to spend more time coming to the terms of the cards, and the significance of the role in which they should play in your life, and how they should be applied. I have only known you for a brief period, yet it seems like a lifetime. But true to the cards, you have been both honest and humorous throughout the period I have known you. I believe you will find a way to balance and temper your honesty. I don’t for a second think you could or would be “brutally honest” with anyone on any subject. There is a balance there, and I suspect God is looking to you to understand and apply that balance. Soft smile, humor becomes you, you dabble in it all the time, it is a significant part of you, and I am sure you will find unique ways to share it. As you said humor is not a sword by which you cut. As I said these words seem to fit you, and you will wear them well. Take care, Bill

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    • Dear Bill, you’re saying you trust me… there is an Angel Card for that! Smile. I appreciate the thought you have given to me here and I love your ” There is a balance there, and I suspect God is looking to you to understand and apply that balance.” May I do well by both of you. Soft smile in return.

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  7. Again, another area of confluence with us – I am also brutally honest. I’m the person who will tell a stranger they have toilet paper stuck to their shoe or tell a friend they might have been wrong when they pissed of a co-worker. After years of pissing people off myself, I have learned some diplomacy in my honesty, but I try to be very gentle with my honesty. So don’t be surprised by me when I’m honest with you too!

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    • Benze, I don’t think of your version of honesty as “brutal.” You are honest (and kind to tell people they’ve toilet paper stuck to their shoes). I pick my friends for their qualities – high on my list is loyalty and honesty – especially if I am wrong. I depend on them for that. And you.

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