Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Quote discipline Day 3

A man that should call everything by its right name, would hardly pass the streets without being knocked down as a common enemy.

Honesty... oh dear sweet honesty. Is it really so bad that we'll convert a truth-teller into a public enemy?

If so, my end is probably nigh - I've been realising lately that I'm a rather honest person. Generally more honest than diplomatic. And most of the people I know err on the side of diplomatic.

Calling everything by its right name can build up and strengthen, or it can brutally demolish. Why is it that we're told to avoid its demolishing effects at all costs, when really calling things by a "kinder" name can completely backfire?

I think of the people in my life who are good at being honest when honest is edifying. And being diplomatic when honest might hurt more than it's worth. They draw a fine and a dangerous line between encouraging and coddling. Yesterday I had a long chat about a situation in which people were dishonest with me because they were looking out for my well-being and didn't want to trouble me with unnecessarily painful details. If everything had worked out as they'd anticipated, their diplomacy would have been a lovely relief and many people would have lived joyfully as a result. But, as it was, their choice caused a potentially irreparable breakdown of relationships.

But I know that they have no regrets. And I'm quite sure I would have had trouble doing the same in their situation. I would have wanted to tell all, to all. I've now had to lodge a complaint against them, and as I talked through it in my meeting, I realised that calling the situation by its right name was exactly the issue at stake. So now I've formally complained because the truth was not open before me to read and interpret as I please. And they don't think they've done anything wrong - they see the hurt, but blame it on circumstances outside of their control.

Scream. Wouldn't life be easier if we all shared the same exact value systems?

1 comment:

pellucid said...

We found this helpful wisdom in the children's play-area of a Chick-fil-A (out of the mouths of babes, or at least written in their play-areas, eh!):

"Tell the truth, it's simpler."

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