The courage to be fully honest – tough one!
Much of what we do or refrain from doing is determined by the consequences involved. Having the courage to be fully honest comes in either of the two circumstances – when the consequence is so much your sole objective that you don’t mind the costs of being honest or when you don’t bother about the consequences at all.
In the year 2012, I got sick with dengue while my stay in Delhi. It had just been a couple of months since I had started working there along with pursuing other academic interests. Colleagues were worried since I didn’t have my family near me to take care of the sudden fluctuations in platelet counts. I was advised to have someone from home come over to be with me. “Platelet counts dip suddenly and people die. Don’t take the risk”, I was repeatedly told. However, I did not have the courage to break the news to my family members that I was sick. The daily phone conversations went pretty normal with me telling them that I was well and good. Why did I lack the courage to be honest with my family members regarding my health? I didn’t want them to be anxious for me from over the miles! “Families are meant to be anxious for their loved ones”, I was told. Eventually, I shared the piece of information with them after I got a little better with the assurance that I was completely out of danger.
There was a similar repeat of the above episode when I got infected with COVID-19 last year. My family members kept thinking for a week that I was probably getting too tired from work and hence was sounding exhausted, till I shared with them about having tested positive for COVID. Yet another instance of lacking the courage to be fully honest!
I would neither recommend anyone to do as I have done (since it involves immense risk to one’s life accompanied by the deep anxiety and regret of loved ones lest anything untoward happens), nor would I attempt to justify my lack of courage in being fully honest in the above situations. Rather, I would agree with the fact that there are instances in each of our lives in which we fail to muster the courage to be honest.
Does that make us cowards?
No. It simply defines us as having lacked courage to be honest in such and such situations.
Does that make us liars?
Yes. Anything other than the truth is a lie. There are no colours to lies!
Should there be a phase of owning up?
Yet another instance . . .
A granduncle of mine, grandaunt and their son were hospitalised in three different hospitals with COVID around two months back. Grandaunt passed away after a brief battle. With the granduncle and his son still in hospital requiring immense post-COVID care, the news of their loss hasn’t been shared with them yet. A lack of courage to be fully honest fearing the consequences! The news would be shared once they recover and reach back home. Till then, they would continue to think that she is alive.
I wouldn’t outrightly put such and other similar instances into a box with the label ‘lack of courage to be fully honest’. Rather, I would include situations such as these as ‘wisdom in decision-making to manage circumstances and get the best out of them for good’.
However, these do not in any way incorporate deliberate dishonesty or suppression of facts with malafide intentions.
Honest confessions after sincere lapses of courage are must dos! Yes, God knows the heart. But, He hates deceptions!