Is honesty really the best policy? Set aside morality and ethics for a moment. Let’s just consider whether honesty is the best strategy for getting what you want out of life.
The main benefit of dishonesty is it gives you a seeming advantage over another person. Take cheating, for example. When you’re in a committed relationship and you engage in infidelity, you have a difficult choice to make. If you are honest with your partner about the infidelity, you risk your partner exiting the relationship. Or your partner may retaliate by having his or her own affair. Ironically, it may seem that dishonesty is your best strategy for preserving the committed relationship. Maybe you hope that, given time, you will eventually learn to be faithful. So dishonesty may seem like a reasonable temporary measure until you sort things out. Dishonesty buys you time, and it seems to give you more control over the situation.
One of the more obvious downsides of dishonesty is that you will almost certainly be found out eventually, and the consequences will probably be worse than they would have been if you were originally forthcoming. But this isn’t the most fundamental downside of dishonesty. When you are dishonest with people, especially those you are closest to, you create a nagging doubt. In the back of your mind there is always a question: Would this person still love me if he or she knew the whole truth? If everyone in my life knew the whole truth about me, would anyone value me or accept me? Over time, the strategy of dishonesty leads to a deep insecurity. You begin to question your own self-worth, wondering if you could ever really get what you want out of life by being 100% authentic.
When you are habitually honest, you feel more secure in your sense of self. And by being more trustworthy, you allow yourself to put more trust in the people you most highly value. That’s what honesty is: Money in the relationship bank. It’s an investment that inevitably grows over time, feeding clean, positive energy into all your relationships and life pursuits.