Honesty as a Policy

Most of us have probably heard the phrase: “Honest is the best policy.” It was instilled into our little minds when we were children as the classic way for adults to get us to tell the truth. Of course, it goes back to ethics and how society believes it is better to have transparency.

Yet, we also heard this phrase: “The truth hurts.”

As for me, I chose honesty.

I did not choose honesty because of a good conscience. I did it because it felt right for me. Honesty, in my mind, relates back to authenticity, meaning you cannot be “you” until you are honest with yourself and others. If I was not honest, I would not be who I am now.

Eighth grade me had the audacity to almost cry over the announcement of a presentation for class. It was the annual wax museum. But in my defense, if you were told that you had to memorize a speech and dress up based on a historical person (or hypothetical character in that situation), I do not think that you would be happy either. The experience was not as disastrous as I thought, but it was scary watching people pass by and suddenly press your paper button to cue your speech. Although, it is true that I had tears welling up during class. I would have loved to forget it if not for what my history teacher told the class at the end of the year.

At the end of the year, he revealed something that made me more conscious of myself. When teaching, he used a student in the class to gauge the focus of the class. There were requirements, such as being a decent student academically who usually is attentive during class. That student was me. He later went on about how I made some interesting facial expressions sometimes. At that moment, I really hoped he did not notice the near-tear experience I had with his presentation about our wax museum project.

I am not saying that this teacher did anything wrong. It was not much of an impact, but it added to other things that were always in the back of my mind. He revealed something that really opened my eyes to my behavior. I would have wished to have a poker face because it seemed as though everyone knew how I felt before I told them or even before I knew it myself. This was a vulnerable moment. Should I keep acting like a model student? Because this was revealed, there was a possibility that more eyes were on me, searching for those expressions that the teacher referred to. Am I to hide any weakness? I started to think it was better to hide myself behind a wall. I already knew people had expectations for me, and now, I felt anxious about not passing them. Eventually, I became so conscious about every move that I made to the point it developed into a habit.

However, the effects of hiding emotions can be very tiring. It was a stiff and restricting life. I felt myself divide into several pieces, trying to figure out who I was. I was tiptoeing along this boundary line between being this rigid person or being myself. Yet, by doing that, I was losing myself too.

After a few years, I had a breaking point. I had that moment where enough was enough. It was time to find who I am and who I could become in the future. It was hard to be authentic after years and years of pretending for the sake of others. In all honesty, I am still not there. There is so much of me in different pieces lying around somewhere. I am just working with what I have and being more honest to myself.

I cannot keep building this lie. As quoted in the beginning, the truth does hurt. I hate to break it to you, but you are not perfect. Neither am I. However, you are enough the way you are. Seek your truth. If you find yourself holding back so much about yourself, you are doing yourself an injustice. This mold will form cracks eventually.

There will always be that fear where people will not want to be around you if you are who you are. At least, that is some of fears I had because my personality is all over the place. At the end of the day, you are not alone. Be yourself because we want the truth. It is true that not everyone can always accept the truth, but there will always be someone to brave it through.