does my bum look big in thisWe all know the importance of being honest no matter what. And we all think of ourselves as honest people, who don’t purposely mislead or lie to anyone, especially the people we care about. We don’t go out of our way to hurt people and, as much as possible, we do what makes our loved ones happy.

Which sometimes means we lie.

And we say it’s okay because they’re ‘white lies’. Little untruths that are okay to say.

I loved the gift you got me.

You sing really well.

No, it doesn’t make you look fat.

They’re okay because they don’t cause any damage, they prevent people getting hurt.

Except that sometimes it’s good to get hurt. It shows us what matters to us, it show us what needs to change. It forces us to look at the world the way it really is and think about how we fit into it. It makes us re-evaluate our situation, reminds us to appreciate the good things we take for granted and shows us how to confront the things that drag us down.

So, really, hurt helps us.

And the white lies that we tell each other – the ones we tell ourselves – prevent us from feeling what we need to feel to motivate us. That hurt that we so carefully avoid is supposed to push us through the difficulties on the way to achieving our goals.

While it makes us feel better short term, it doesn’t do us any real good.

There’s no point asking for feedback if you’re going to get upset if someone thinks you can improve. That applies for anything you might put your effort into. Whether you’re writing a novel or learning to play an instrument or trying out a new look, the honest opinions of the people around you will be your best form of critique. It shows you where you’re going wrong, what doesn’t quite work, what you need to improve on before you’re finished. It shows you the little flaws that you’re too close to your work to notice yourself.

If someone has asked for your opinion, at least part of them wants to hear it from you honestly. Even if most of them wants to hear the answer that most appeals to their ego, they wouldn’t have asked at all if they didn’t value your legitimate thoughts.

Choosing to lie in that moment deprives them of their right to honourable critique. It makes them think they have no need to improve. It reduces their chances of success in the long run. It holds them back.

Honesty can hurt.

But that pain can spark the drive you need.

In the right instance, it can be the most valuable thing you ever feel.

Kirstie Summers,

Daily Zen.

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