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The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the official views of the Baha'i Faith.
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The Virtues Basket: How to Be an Honest Person

PRESENTED BY Setareh Samandari Zargarpour | Jun 5, 2021

Honesty is a package that includes sincerity, truthfulness, trustworthiness, kindness, and openness. An honest individual does not cheat, lie, or steal. We can count on honest people’s words because they say what they mean, and they mean what they say. For example, if an honest person is friendly, they really are friendly and have no hidden agendas. An honest person tells the truth no matter what, rather than exaggerating or distorting the truth for their own benefit. Being honest in any given situation makes us more reliable. Honesty is about telling the truth tactfully and kindly. Some might mistake being honest with being impolite and make insensitive comments. While we have to be truthful, we do not need to always speak. When we want to make a comment, we should use constructive feedback using the sandwich method giving our constructive recommendation between two compliments that are based on our true observations.  

The opposite of being honest is called spinning. Spinning means “distorting the truth by providing an alternative view of reality.” Stan Toller in his book “The Power of Your Influence” says, usually politicians spin the facts. Some struggling businesses may “spin their financial hardship to a creditor by saying they are ‘positioning themselves for success’.” Or a deceitful person may spin their conduct when pretending not to remember what happened or denying that anything happened. Being dishonest comes in many forms. Most people usually avoid telling a straight lie, but what is common is exaggerating the truth, for instance in advertisement for products. Other forms of dishonesty are like “omitting important facts, and making misleading statements.”  

People who exaggerate spin or redirect the facts can only effect those who already agree with them. However, the truth is that complete honesty is refreshing, helps us gain the respect of others. For instance, if we were late to an appointment and it was not really caused by an accident, we should be honest and simply say, “I apologize for being late,” rather than using the traffic or an accident as an excuse. Toller notes that in a world full of dishonest and manipulative people, it is pleasant to find an honest person. Truthful and honest individuals are reliable because they are committed to tell the truth rather than protecting their egos or agendas.

In short, when we are honest our actions and words match. We make promises we can keep. An honest person has integrity. When we are honest, we need to be honest with ourselves as well. For example, if we hurt someone’s feelings or make a mistake, we cannot pretend it does not matter, we should be honest with ourselves to avoid making that mistake again. When we are honest, we do not fool others and do not let others fool us either. When we are honest, we avoid spinning, exaggerating, or redirecting the facts. We also need to know that honesty needs to be combined with kindness. So, we should give constructive and positive feedback tactfully and kindly because people will appreciate it more and listen to our feedback. As an honest person we have no need to impress others because we have a clear perception of who we are and how to improve. As an honest individual we have a clear understanding of facts and do not have a need to follow the crowd because we have developed the habit to learn about the truth based on our own independent investigation. 

1. Popov, Linda Kavelin. The Family Virtue Guide. New York: Penguin Group, 1997. 
2.Toler, Stan. The Power of Your Influence. Oregon: Harvest House Publisher, 2018.

Setareh Samandari Zargarpour has always been an artist at heart, after a 20-year career in Banking as Branch Manager for Wells Fargo and Chase she transitioned to working in Film. She had finished her Master of Arts in Political Science from CSUN and utilized it...



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