In All Honesty

The quality of being honest, of living a life rich with honesty has often come to be a watered-down concept. Recently, I searched for just the word “Honesty” in the context of news stories using only the phrase “I believe in honesty.” The phrase was repeated by politicians, religious figures, actors, those in relationships (or out of them), and in athletics. It was a pretty impressive list. Yet, if we think about it, we have all been exposed to politicians of both parties, spiritual leaders, Hollywood actors, directors and producers, athletes, and countless men and women in relationships who have been quite dishonest. To which I might add that many who use social media are people from every walk of life that have claimed to be honest and have been caught in lies.

One of my favorite expressions (though we often don’t think of it that way) is “In all honesty.” Have you ever heard someone say, “In all honesty,” before they make a statement? Should there be anything but total honesty? Granted, most people will say in all honesty when they are saying something that might be disappointing or upsetting when they want to soften its effect by emphasizing their sincerity.

Has honesty become an irrelevant word and a sentence-filler? Not really. We need honesty more than ever. What we need is to re-visit the full definition. It is not what most people believe.


The Substance of Morality

When we hear others telling us that they genuinely care about honesty, are they also telling us that they are leading an entirely moral life? No? You see, morality is also part of the honesty definition. Morality is not necessarily religious. A moral person is also an ethical person.

To sincerely care about honesty, is also to pay attention to morality. Indeed, how many times have we heard from priests, ministers, and other religious figures who rain down instructions on living an honest life, when they have been found to partake in immoral behavior?

How many do we know on Facebook or Twitter who claim to be honest and hardworking individuals while living lives of deceit, bias, or hatred?


The Bottom Line

Claiming, to be honest, is not enough. To evoke the privilege of claiming, to be honest, is to fight for it. Often, that is quite a tall order. For example, a person who overhears a purportedly honest person demeaning or mocking others should point out to that person that belittlement or entitlement is hardly honest. The coach who claims to live an upright and honest life and yet finds ways to cut corners and cheat should be regarded as anything but moral and decent.

Honesty is not a negotiable concept. It is the gatekeeper for right and wrong. The truth of honesty is that it is not on a wishy-washy or arbitrary scale. Honesty isn’t a proclamation, and it’s an action.

We must try to live an honest and moral life. If we fail, it is our mission to try again. The next time we believe we are completely honest, we might also ask ourselves if we are moral as well. Honesty is a beautiful thing, but only if it beautifies who we are in the entirety of the days of our lives. Being honest may not get you a lot of friends, but it will always get you the right ones. In all honesty!



For more information about Hall of Fame speaker and bestselling author Steve Gilliland and the Gilliland Foundation, please contact / 724-540-5019 /