A Man Is Only As Good As His Word

When you know for sure that you have lived most of your life on earth; you focus on living your own great life trying to avoid being confused by the nonessential or being manipulated by others. You have been there, done that, seen that and have the real sense of where you are heading to so you are less likely to sell yourself short.

Last week I was reading about honesty and integrity, virtues that seem to be becoming less common in our society. I was reminded of this idiom: A man is only as good as his word. Simply put it means that a man or woman has to tell the truth and keep his promises. Such a man or woman can always be trusted because he/she will do what he/she says he/she will do. He/she will start a project and finish it.
Then this led me straight into the murky waters of Lies and deception.
I kept laughing at myself knowing very well that I was not in a position to throw the first stone at the liar.
We all lie and yet we do not want to be lied to- nobody enjoys being lied to. The irony was not lost on me.
Many of us lie almost about anything and if we are not careful, we shall forget how to tell the truth though the truth still matters. We lie to ourselves and others. The politicians, our bosses, and sales people lie to us every day and we lie to them by telling them what they want to hear.
Dr Charles . V . Ford, a professor of Psychiatry at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, has worked in academic medicine for over fifty years. He has been studying about lies for some years and came up with 13 major reasons why people tell lies.
Among them:
We lie to avoid punishment- common in childhood. It is a form of self-preservation.
We lie to hurt or harm others.
-to obtain a sense of power and the more we get away with it; the more power we feel.
– to put someone down
– to protect others
– to maintain self esteem- exaggerating whom we are: to make ourselves superior- to make people see you in a better way.
In this digital era, you can look up the types of lies: white, grey and black lies. Whatever the type, lies have ripple effects.
Mark Twain, the renown American writer of the late 19th century, said: “If you tell the truth you do n’t have to remember anything.”He meant that it’s time consuming to remember what lies you have told and to whom. You need to tell more lies to sustain the lies you made in the first place. It is not surprising that many of us have become habitual liars. Apparently lying produces an escape from difficulty and unpleasantness.
The habitual liars feel comfortable and safe lying.
We know the truth but we do not want it told and known. Sometimes we deceive others by telling half- truths or taking things out of context.
When we know the truth and do not want it told or known we have told the cruelest lies according to Adlai Stevenson 11(1900-1965) , an American politician, diplomat and eloquent public speaker , said that ,“The cruelest lies are often told in silence.’’ I have done this many times in my life.
At this juncture, my best friend, a lawyer by profession will not hesitate to take me to task about
Lies of Omission-Someone deliberately withholds some important facts in order to foster a misconception. This completely changes the story. Lie of omission often cause as much damage as an outright untruth.
Lies of commission – lie to mislead, to trick people in believing that something which is not true.
In this digital era, it easier to tell lies on the phone and on the internet mainly because the one you are communicating with cannot see you- to read your eyes and lips and body gestures.
As I struggle to become a person of honesty and integrity while walking my own journey in life, I have come to learn that if I am honest with myself, then I do not need to lie about myself or to myself. All that I need is to accept that I am not perfect; I am a human being with strengths and flaws. I have to come clean to own up to my flaws and if there is any way I can improve on these weakness I have to create opportunities for myself to improve. I am a ‘work in progress’ so I have to act on what I have decided and accomplish the improvement. At the same time I have to increase my strengths whenever I get the opportunity to do so.
If I feel good about myself, believe in my innate goodness, respect and honour myself, I do not need to lie about myself.
I have also had to learn to stop comparing myself to others- it forces me to lie to make myself seem bigger and better. This has cost me people’s trust and friendship in the past.
It is hard to repair broken trusts. Over time, I have come to understand that nothing can give me as much joy as living my own life- my own great story. The masks and veils we wear by telling lies about ourselves make us miserable in the long run. The lies we tell about ourselves and others; have consequences to you and to those around you. As King Solomon, the wisest man that ever lived warns us that our words can preserve life or destroy it. Lies penetrate all areas of our lives.
And when you happen to break your word – which should not happen often, be accountable and correct the wrong as best as you can.
I am now letting the truth be the truth; being as honest as possible though at the same time I have to keep some opinions to myself and learned to emphasize the positive in people and in each situation.
No doubt this comes with age but one has to make great efforts to make it a daily practice. Keep doing it until it feels right.
This is something we all have to learn to do as we focus on living our own great story. You have to be honest with yourself, do the right thing even if it may be painful at times.
The truth still matters and truth and honour are two sides of the same coin.
Keep your word to yourself and to others. Men who keep their word are greatly respected.
Keep your word or do not give it: the choice is yours and what you choose to do has a ripple effect on those around you. These three famous quotes may help to keep you on the straight and narrow:
“You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’’
“If you tell the truth you do n’t have to remember anything.”
“The cruelest lies are often told in silence.’’
I have also added one of my own: Let the one who has never told a lie throw the first stone.

Thank you for taking time to read this. I hope it has given you something to think about. Kindly leave a comment and keep visiting my Blog.

Jane Nannono



2 thoughts on “A Man Is Only As Good As His Word

  1. Let the one who has never told a lie throw the first stone.

    lying: an offensive and defensive mechanism by all of us .

    As Jesus said in the New Testament : “let him who has no sin, be the first one to throw a stone [against a perceived sinner ] woman ”

    Moral: let us try to walk on the strait and narrow ; but if we stumble, let us pick ourselves up , and continue of the road of salvation.


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