Truthfulness is the 9th attitude cited by Rick Foster and Greg Hicks in their studies of extremely happy people and described in the book, “How We Choose To Be Happy: The 9 Choices Of Extremely Happy People: Their Secrets, Their Stories.”
They define truthfulness as “the choice to be honest with yourself and others in an accountable manner by not allowing societal, corporate or family demands to violate your internal contract.”
The truth is that all of us have been guilty at one time or another of not being totally honest with others and with ourselves. Sometimes we hide the truth to avoid embarrassment and sometimes for convenience. More poignantly, we may not see the truth ourselves.
Some of the saddest people I’ve known have lived pretend lives . . . which are not to be confused with dream lives. Couples may pretend to have a happy marriage – concealing the lack of intimacy or the reality of abuse. People may seem to be successful – but feel empty having ignored their personal passions and taken up a job they do not enjoy.
If we pursue a social or career path simply because of family or social expectations of us and without regard to where our deepest passions lie, we are destined to live an unfulfilled and unhappy life. We must first be true to ourselves – our deepest selves: our passions, our values and our dreams.
The truly happy people I have known exemplified integrity; they lived in perfect alignment. They were moved by their highest values and pursued their calling. Their actions and their words were aligned with their spirits.
I think Gandhi said it best: “Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony.”
Your happiness exercise: Check your alignment throughout the day. If you are feeling unsettled, anxious or sad, ask yourself if your words or actions are out of sync with your true self. What are your highest values? Are acting in accord with them? What are your greatest goals? Are your studies and your work today moving you closer to them?