National Honesty Day USA was created in the early 1990’s to encourage honesty and straightforward communication in politics, relationships, consumer relations and historical education.

If you were to ask 50 people what honesty means you would almost certainly get 50 different answers. Most people believe that honesty means you “don’t tell a lie”.

That is part of being honest. But what about truth? Truth and honesty are two different things. There is a school of thought that being honest is expressing your feelings and opinions accurately. Whereas truth is an accurate representation of reality.

For example: your kid says, “But he started it!” and really believes it. He’s being totally honest about his opinion. But is it true? No, your kid started it.

Wikipedia’s definition is: Honesty is a facet of moral character that connotes positive and virtuous attributes such as integrity, truthfulness, straightforwardness, including straightforwardness of conduct, along with the absence of lying, cheating, theft, etc. Honesty also involves being trustworthy, loyal, fair and sincere.

When we are young our moral code often mirrors those of our parents and caregivers. Our culture and religion influence us and create a roadmap for our behaviour.

Later, as a result of our experiences and the influence of people we meet, we start to question what we previously believed and this causes us to change. For example, if you grew up in a family where stealing and going to prison is the norm then you probably wouldn’t see anything wrong with that behaviour.

As you mature and associate with people whose values may differ from you,  you might question the moral code of your family and take a different path. If we move into different hierarchies either socially or in our professional lives they can shape our moral code.

As we age, many of us look back at some of the things we did and are full of regret and shame. We ask ourselves “how could I have done that”?  “What was I thinking”?

When we are young we behave and think in accordance with the wisdom and moral code that we have at that time.

If we cannot forgive ourselves for past mistakes and are burdened with guilt and shame it stops us being the best that we can be today. As best we can,  we need to learn from them, tweak our moral code and move on.

Read “Why Be Honest” to discover more about lying

If your past behaviours have caused you to feel guilty you may become stressed.  Learn how hypnotherapy can help you let go of those anxious feelings.