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Some Thoughts on Honesty

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Some Thoughts on Honesty

honesty doodle
honesty doodle

Everybody I know has a different concept of honesty. Different Types and cultures approach honesty differently.

Many people I know in my home region in Northern Germany are pretty straight forward - we'll let you know what we think of you to your face. Unapologetically, even if it hurts. Anything else would be disrespectful and a waste of time. After all, it's not about our relationship, it's about the thing. Someone with a preference for Thinking might also put the task before the person, and speak in more direct, logic terms.

In other countries, conversations can be a lot more indirect. Speaking out in clear terms would offend or embarrass, to the point that even the answer "no" is uncommon and needs to be softened. Here, it's not about the thing, it's about the relationship. We are connected and want to nurture the relationship, so we'll both know to read between the lines and interpret what it is we can't say out loud. Someone with a preference for Feeling might also put the relationship before the task, and speak in more informing, values-based language.

Honesty can be a weapon, used to hurt, attack, and put others on the defensive.

And it's a shield we can hide behind, where we don't have to examine our feelings, admit our vulnerability, and show empathy to the other person.

We all know that guy who says he's happy to hang out, but doesn't want a serious relationship, and the girl who is surprised when the guy still doesn't change his mind after six months together. "Well, what do you want? I've always been honest!"

I think honesty shouldn't be an excuse, it's a state of mind. And it starts by being honest with yourself. Living aligned with your values, respecting the law, common sense, and being nice to people. You might still run a Stop sign or advise your friend to wear something more flattering for her body type. Most importantly, you're open to re-examining your past choices and seeing where you can do better in the future.

What does honesty mean to you?

 

Image by Patsy Hendrix, Flickr, Creative Commons License.

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How to make sound decisions

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How to make sound decisions

All of us make decisions big and small, every day. How do we know when to stick with them and when to change them? According to Type theory, we all take in information preferring either what we can grasp with our five senses (S), or what we intuitively see as a possibility (N). When considering our observations, we make decisions preferably based on either analytical reasoning (T) or our values (F), respectively. Which of the process we spend more time on, the information gathering or the decision-making, is a different story.

The development of our preferences for both taking in information and making decisions goes back to which modalities we used when forming our personality, and which results we received. We learned to either trust our senses or our intuition, and to follow our head or our heart. Sometimes our preferred behavior got us into trouble, so we adapted and learned to follow the other course. This will have been effective, but not resonating with our soul and sense of purpose.

Of course we all able to use all four modalities throughout our lifetime depending on the situation, yet we will tend to go back to the one preference that has never let us down. Knowing which you prefer (real-time, practical senses vs. possibility and intuition; logical analysis vs. values and impact on people) can help you approach decision-making processes with greater ease. For a decision to be sound and lasting, it ideally has to go through all four channels. What are the facts if they cannot be applied to a great vision? What is the bottom-line result worth if it cannot be put to benefit people?

Here's an example from "This day in history" about a famous instance of information that was taken in, a decision that was made, then recanted, and eventually validated after all:

On this day in 1633, Italian philosopher, astronomer and mathematician Galileo Galilei arrives in Rome to face charges of heresy for advocating Copernican theory. Copernican theory of a sun-centered solar system conflicted with the teachings of the powerful Roman Catholic Church, which essentially ruled Italy at the time. Church teachings contended that Earth, not the sun, was at the center of the universe. Galileo officially faced the Roman Inquisition in April and agreed to plead guilty in exchange for a lighter sentence. Put under house arrest indefinitely by Pope Urban VIII, Galileo spent the rest of his days at his villa in Arcetri, near Florence.

Today, Galileo is recognized for making important contributions to the study of motion and astronomy. His work influenced later scientists such as the English mathematician and physicist Sir Isaac Newton, who developed the law of universal gravitation. In 1992, the Vatican formally acknowledged its mistake in condemning Galileo.

If I may close with a little moral: if you know your decision was wrong, don't wait 359 years to rectify it. ;-)

Til next week, have a good one!

 

Image by Bill Abbot, flickr, Creative Commons license

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Trust

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Trust

I tried to walk home from the gym with my eyes closed today. Guess what? I didn't last more than a few steps! It got me to thinking about my senses and intuition and gut feeling though. Here's why:

Last night, a friend and I came to the conclusion that "there's always something". Be it in a relationship, or work, or nutrition, or health, or well? Life in general! There's always something, isn't there? Something to worry about, to think about, to fret and vent about, even to cry, scream, and shout about. Then what usually happens? Anxiety. Dis-ease. Discontent. Fear. Sadness. Some things even get blown out of proportion and take up huge amounts of space in our heads and energy in our systems. And what for?

I'm a big fan of the venting and sharing, going over details of whatever situation is making me feel bad, sad, or mad. I usually feel a little bit better afterward, because it's not all bottled up inside me anymore, I got somebody else's opinion - sharing and communicating is great! The question I came to earlier today on my "blind" walk though was, what if I trusted my senses to know where to step? What if I trusted my feelings to guide me? What if - and this is a kicker - I trusted my self to be able to survive and figure out what to do, or not to do, in any given situation? And you know what? I felt bit tingly, as if my cells were whispering excitedly "ooh, that could be interesting, yeah! Let's try that!" but at the same time, calmer.

I invite you this week to look at what's causing you stress, anxiety, fear, sadness, and think about who you would be if you trusted yourself to know what to do. If you're not ready to address the cause of your pain, start with the symptoms. They can be crying for no apparent reason, overeating, procrastinating, fighting with your partner. What is it that your body and soul are already telling you that you're not hearing yet? Who told you that you can't trust yourself, where did you learn that your responses are wrong? Because, hey, what if they aren't?

Further thoughts: do you trust yourself more or less when you lose one of your senses? Can you trust yourself directly or do you go via a deity? Does having faith in yourself make you an atheist? Do you children trust themselves? How do you encourage or discourage them? Discuss!

Til next week, have a good one!

 

Image by Mukumbura, Flickr, Creative Commons License

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