why being truthful matters

Why being truthful matters: the kindness of candour

Being truthful is about more than not telling lies. Being truthful is about integrity, transparency, accountability, honesty, and being genuine. It’s about us knowing ourselves, knowing the standards we set for ourselves, and then living up to them. But more than this, being truthful means not only living truthfully with others but also allowing others to be truthful with us. And that can be hard. Really hard. We don’t like being challenged, told we messed up, or corrected. We can feel threatened, put down, embarrassed, or silly. But it shouldn’t be this way. As people, we need to be open to growth and this is why being truthful matters. When we embrace the kindness of candour, we can hone our best assets and work on the flaws in our character.

As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.

Proverbs 27: 17 NLT

It’s all down to trust

First things first. You need to trust the people you listen to. Don’t take advice or listen to the opinions of people you do not trust. Test the character of the people you surround yourself with: are they people of integrity? Do they follow through? Do they have your best interests at heart? Are they kind? Do they have similar values and morals? If you can answer yes to the things that are important to you, then you can probably trust their opinions and advice. Above all, be discerning. Trust your gut. If something doesn’t feel right, if it causes intentional pain, then dismiss it and walk away.

Know yourself well enough to trust your own judgement! And if not, seek another’s opinion on the matter before making any decisions.

It’s all a learning game

When we become an adult we don’t suddenly know it all. In fact, you could argue that we learn so much more as adults than we do as children; about ourselves, others, work, relationships, our world…you get the idea. We are always, and should always, be learning. So why does it feel so awful when someone is honest with us? Why is our autopilot to feel threatened?

I’m not good at being challenged. Even people whom I am closest with, I throw up my defences to protect myself. It’s not something I’m proud of. So I have a lot to learn myself in hearing people’s candour and not feeling automatically threatened. It is something I’ve been challenged by this week, and then it cropped up in my daily reflections and it hit home. I need to be better at hearing truths from others. I might not like hearing it at the time, but it doesn’t mean it’s not in my best interest. The question is how we learn from what we hear. Do we stay in our old way, or do we aim for better?

The kindness of candour

I think the key word here is kindness. There can be no candour that takes root if it is not given in kindness. Candour isn’t about being right or knowing more or better than someone else. It’s about noticing someone is in error and seeking to help them be a better version of themselves. That is why we must always approach being truthful with kindness. We cannot expect people to listen to us and heed our advice if we don’t approach it the right way.

Equally, we cannot give advice we wouldn’t take ourselves. This is where integrity, transparency, and being genuine come in. What hypocrites we are when we point the finger at someone in error, and we go and do the same thing ourselves. No. To be taken seriously, we must first look at ourselves before helping others. It’s not only a kindness to us, but also to them.

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?

Matthew 7: 3 NIV

This is why being truthful matters. If done correctly and in love, we not only challenge the people we love best, but we also challenge ourselves too. We keep each other accountable and sharpen each other into better people. If we have the wisdom to receive advice given in love and kindness, we can grow and thrive. If we choose to be stubborn and bitter towards truths given in kindness, we will remain stagnant.

Seek wise counsel

In all that we do, we must seek the wisest around us to help guide our paths. We cannot do life without people around us to help us thrive and grow. So seeking people who understand why being truthful matters and who are willing to have candour given and received…well you’ve got some good folk about you there!

Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.

King Solomon, Proverbs 27: 6 NIV

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