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Ramsey - 21 Oct 2009

“I was just being honest.” How many times have we heard (or said) that? A friend once said to me “yes, but were you being honest to help or hurt?” That’s an interesting question. It is easy to hide behind honesty. And don’t get me wrong, it’s important to be honest. But it’s also important to understand what is driving your “honesty”. It is an easy escape route to say you were being honest. It justifies hurting people as though somehow your honesty is more important than their feelings. The reality is, those aren’t analogous. You can be honest without being cruel and you can be honest and still take someone’s feelings into consideration. “Know thyself” is the quote to remember. Be true to yourself, but that doesn’t mean you need to be true to everyone else too.

A few weeks ago, someone shared his dream for his future with me. It was a lovely dream. I don’t think life is going to happen the way he depicts it in his dream and I quickly shared that fact with him.
“You were being honest,” someone said trying to help me justify it.
“Yes, I was.” I replied. “But when someone shares their dream with you, they aren’t interested in your honesty.” The truth is I knew that if I had shared my dream, I would have wanted someone to say how lovely it was. Because the reality was, his was a lovely dream. He’s entitled to it and I’d like him to share his dreams with me in the future.

Waking someone up only helps if they are having a nightmare. One can still prepare for the worst and hope for the best without spoiling everyone else’s dreams in the process. Finding a way to let us all hold on to our hopes and dreams and cherishing them with us, rather than rationalizing ourselves as the voice of reason, really does make the world a better place. And if can let others have their dreams, perhaps they will let us have ours as well.

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