Why should I be honest to myself?

Are we honest to ourselves? It is perhaps embarrassing and difficult to answer this question. I therefore begin with myself. Long back in a Malaysian farm there used to be a practice based on trust: you could pick your own strawberries, weigh yourself and pay. We went around spent about half an hour picking those lovely fruits. With what the kids had in hand it would have been easily 1.2 kg, but when we reached the counter I simply said one Kg and paid for 1 kg. It was knowingly yes, I was cheating the farmer for 200 grams. It was not a question about affording, but it was probably out of my urge to make a small profit forgoing honesty. May be there were many buyers like me around thereafter, I am told that they have since done away with this practice of trusting you and allowing you to weigh yourself.

People sometimes present or deal with things in a vague or inadequate way, especially so as to conceal the truth or mislead even in insignificant matters without apparent tangible benefit. Sometimes they spend considerable time, effort, in that cheating endeavor.

Our media is full of cheating scandals of various magnitude and proportion. In share market it is a common occurrence when even reputed people get involved in creating euphoria of success and lure unwary investors. Doctors lie about your health conditions. Shop keepers and hoteliers cheat you by selling poor quality stuff. Prospective brides and bridegrooms leave a lot of false impressions to bring forth alliances with desirable people. Students sometimes resort to cheating while seeking admission into universities. Malpractices are followed by some students in examinations. Many people cheat in a game of cards. Hacking is another form of cheating. People give false data in banks for securing a loan and later fail to repay. There are businessmen who try to hide their income to avoid taxes. Politicians camouflage the facts and misguide you in order to win elections.
It is perhaps surprising to note that we have a hidden propensity to cheat and deviate from honesty. Even those who claim a high standard of honesty and honor do resort to this in some opportune God (Devil) sent moments. Such complex is the human nature that we cannot predict who would do that and when. We do not know what must be prompting them to do so.

Cheating has its history

In Greek Mythology Jason stole the Golden Fleece from the king with the help of an enchantress princess Medea. Jason married her and used her magic powers and advice. In Indian Mythology Mahabharata the Kauravas used subterfuge to win Chaturanga, the dice game. The wooden horse, which the Achaeans filled with warriors, is the stratagem that Odysseus conceived in order to take over Troy, says history. When the Trojans saw the camp of the Achaeans deserted and believed that they had fled, they dragged the horse into the city of Troy.

“The truly scary thing about undiscovered lies is that they have a greater capacity to diminish us than exposed ones. They erode our strength, our self-esteem, our very foundation. When people cheat in any arena, they diminish themselves-they threaten their own self-esteem and their relationships with others by undermining the trust they have in their ability to succeed and in their ability to be true” says Cheryl Hughes.

Honest before the alter of God

With all these petty tendencies to cheat sometimes we still want to appear as honest and stand with a good consciousness. Our morality is deep rooted and we do not want any compromise there. If anyone calls me a cheat I get hurt for that reason. We all want to see ourselves in a positive light and we do not want to tarnish that image of a good person.
We are comfortable for cheating if the amount involved is small. In matters involving sizable money nobody would easily get interested. They realize it would be immoral and matters could take a serious turn involving greater risks of even a jail term.

Cheating often gets exposed

Many cheaters believe themselves they are never going to be caught and nobody would ever come to know. This is not true, in most of the cases the truth someday comes out. Truth has this quality of a diamond; in whatever mass of mud you try to immerse this diamond, it will come out shining one day.

“It’s amazing how many cheaters and liars believe they won’t be caught. In today’s age of technology, there won’t just be a paper trail. There will be multiple electronic and digital trails, as well.” warns Cathy Burnham Martin.

Don’t fall for false prestige

Some people put on the impression that they are great philanthropists merely as a part of social stunt. There are people who cast a number of lies to project a better social image and prestige. But is it worth the risk they are taking? Is it not better to forget the imagined self-image and confirm to the reality, coming to an honest appraisal about our actual capabilities, real worth and accomplishments. It would be disastrous to rely on our capability to weave the lie web to cheat those around you. Let us therefore check our propensity to lie to ourselves.

The findings reveal that most human beings have a far greater capacity to cheat than they themselves realize. They will spend immense resources of time and money to convince themselves that they are glorious and outstanding. We all wear a mask unknowingly. A false pretention may bring a momentary glory but remember, over a period we would lose our self worth and the lies we wove becomes a burden for life. So revive your real self before it becomes too late, cast aside those masks. If we live through lies we would get entangled in that web and losing our identity would be the result. Expose the hard truths and the person next to you may have a better respect for you.

We must realize that even the smallest form of cheating is irrational and immoral. We cheat to some extent to gain something without violating our personal worth, or expend resources to build up a false image for ourselves and taste that glory. But remember our conscience will keep on murmuring ‘you are wrong’ for we know that cheating and lying are dishonest acts. “Cheating is very easy; try something more challenging like being faithful. After all, it is how responsible we are to ourselves, our dreams, and our partner that we get to mature and grow wiser.” says Kabelo Mabona.

Let us be true to ourselves and remember the saying ‘honesty is the Best policy.’


About the Author

Jose Vazhuthanapilly, BSc., LLB, DBM, CAIIB Retired in 2008 as AGM from State Bank of India. He had worked as a visiting faculty in the Bank’s Staff Training Centers for 5 years. He is a writer with 20 books to his credit including books on self-help/ psychology. He resides in Ernakulam, Kochi. He is active also in social service. He can be contacted at Josevazhuthanapilly@gmail.com

Bestsellers:

  • Prasangakarkkulla Kadhakal – St. Paul’s Books, Eranakulam
  • EQ – Vyakti Jeevitham Mikavuttathakkam – Sophia Books, Calicut
  • Atma Viswasathinte Karuthu Nedam – Sophia Books, Calicut
  • Mano Sankharshangale Keezhadakkan Chila Prayogika Margangal – Media House, Calicut
  • Vijayam Ningalude Ullil Thanneyanu – Vimala Books

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