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What is honesty and how does it affect your mental health?

Community Champion
Community Champion

I want to discuss what honesty means to you and your health.

People say that they fake being well, or wear a mask so no one knows their pain.Is this being honest.

When we do not admit our flaws and our behaviours does this make it harder to have insight into our illness and harder to get better?

Do we need to be honest with ourselves and others in order to be well.?

Honesty can be a very subjective personal word. What one people feels is being honest another may feel is not.

For many years I was in denial about my illness so I would admit to myself I was ill, I was not honest.

So what does honesty mean to you? So lets start a conversation. All ideas welcome.

Everyone is welcome to comment, new posters, regular posters, I want everyone's ideas.


226 Replies 226

Switching direction to the 2nd part of your question...

I much prefer honesty. If you cannot do something, telling me why is preferable to making up some non-truth. Eventually the truth comes out and then I will think about why couldn't you have just told me that in the first place. And then the internal slow burn of anger starts. I am not one to shout at others, but rather it is internalized.

Much pain can be avoided if you tell the truth in the first place. I think.

Hello everyone


I suppose that begs the question what is the truth , what is honesty.

If I truly believe something that to others i not true, have I been dishonest when I believe it is true.

I know infamilies one child will firmly believe their parent was very critical and a sibling will believe how supportive they are. Who is being honest?

any responses welcome.



(You are) Starting to get deep(er) now... truth, honesty and belief are all different. I had to include belief - Sorry.

To be truthful is to be factually correct. Put another way is honest and not telling any lies.

Honesty is (speaking) without he intent to deceive. So I can still be honest but not truthful.Think of how we might talk about money. You say that you have $10 in your wallet, when in fact you have $12. To be truthful, you would need to say that you have $12. Being dishonest however is the intent to deceive.

Belief on the other hand is acceptance that something exists or is true without proof.

In this case a child can believe their parents were supportive or critical, based on their own belief system(s) but is without proof. (This of course is separate to abuses that are noticed/visible etc. by 3rd parties.)

So to answer your question

If I truly believe something that to others i not true, have I been dishonest when I believe it is true.

then you are not being dishonest, as you do/did not have the intent to deceive?

And in the example of the children, if that is what they believe, they are being honest. Not necessarily truthful.

Therefore when I am with my psych or talking about feelings etc., I am being honest when I talk about my frustration etc. But that cannot necessarily be shown to be truthful, if facts are needed to backup.

Hope my response does not kill this discussion.

Hello everyone,

Wolfy your last post didn't kill the conversation it made me understand what was bothering me...

Therefore when I am with my psych or talking about feelings etc., I am being honest when I talk about my frustration etc. But that cannot necessarily be shown to be truthful, if facts are needed to backup.

I have this internal debate constantly. For example the facts of my childhood are wonderful. But when I speak about my issues amd experiences with my psychiatrist I feel and see problems. I see how horrible some of the experiences were.

To address these I have to be blunt and honest because burying these feelings leads me right back to harmful thoughts.

And yet I feel so much guilt.

Am I just being a drama queen?

Am I being truthful?

Am I being honest?

Am I full of BS?

Can I trust my memories?

Am I biased?

The list goes on and on and on and on. But the most important thing I worry about is does speaking up hurt others? Is it really worth dissecting my past and digging up everything if I improve at the expense of people I love?

Hey small wolf

that was an excellent explanation. well done for even taking it on to answer. It is true.

What do you expect someone to say to you when you ask how they are?


Community Member

Hey Quercus

Interesting point about wondering if you can hurt others by speaking up. I guess that depends on what the thing is about hey and what the outcome will be for those involved.

I have found it amazing that the unplanned conversations can bring out truths and I have been surprised to hear how people truly feel about something that happened years ago. So on balance I suppose I have hurt some people with out intention because I do not know whats going on in peoples lifes and its vertiually imposssible to know and visa versa. How can they know whats up with us.

So its kinda good to wait things out just to see what is going to happen it might bring an answer that you never contemplated.

I now sit with knowing I only have to look after my feelings and especially those negative thoughts that can have the ability to destroy my life. My fight is personal. No one knew I was unconsciously taking on my families problems and I know they would not care about that because they would not understand how it works. So I do not feel I would accomplish anything with speaking up about certain things and have more personal power resolving something in my way.

However it truly depends on the issue hey. Mine is mainly emotional baggage. I am learning how to break it down so joy can come through sometimes. Actually more nowadays. So it helps with being just more positive in myself. It is not a fix for other problems that will need attention at the right time. But good to know I am not responsiable for other peoples problems anymore more thinking time for me.


Hello everyone,

Thanks for the great discussions presented here. It has given me lots to think about.

Smallwolf, you have described the differences well and mentioned intention to deceive as a very important point.

I see your distinction between honesty and truth - but who decides what is truth. The truth can change over time even scientific truths have chnaged over the centuries.

Sometimes when we talk to others how can we honest when we are not honest with ourselves. When I was in denial about my bipolar I would tell everyone I was fine and coping and I suppose I believed that but if I had been truly honest I would have admitted there were timesI was struggling.

Your response has envigorated the discussion. Thanks


Community Champion
Community Champion

Hello all,

Nat, Thanks for your thoughtful post that asks many interesting questions.

You said you worry about does speaking up hurt others? So by examining your past you improve but not your loved ones.

If you tell your pyschologist things doesn't that just stay there ,or are you talking about confronting others or just bringing up things from the past.?

It is a great question maybe even a thread in itself. I suppose

I have on the other end with one of my children wanting to go over the past at great lengths when all it does is get complicated and stress me. I suppose I have dealt with it as I know she needed to do dissect her past to move forwards.The next question is when looking to past people have different views about what happened and different memories.

If to people have totally different truths about what happened at a certain time in their lives that gets stressful and complicated.

I may have gone off on a tangent.


Community Champion
Community Champion

Hello everyone reading ,

Giggles what ain interesting answer to Nats question. I like the way you considered different parts of the question and related it to your personal experience.

I answered it before I read your reply and thats the great thing about questions there is more than one way to answer a question.

You brought up many different points.

I like the way how you have worked out what works for you. Rather than speaking up about some topics you have decided to resolve them personally which gives you more personal power. I had not thought about it like that.

Often if I did thatI was accused of avoiding an issue or denying the past .

I agree it depends on the issue and the importance to the individual.

I like the image of joy coming through the emotional baggage and having more time for yourself and not feeling you have to be responsible for everyone's problems.

Giggle, thanks so much for your post as I find them most helpful .


Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Thank you everyone for such a interesting discussion. It has left my head reeling a little.

I'm not sure I have much too offer, probably just going over what others have already said.

I guess, I see honesty as 'what I believe in, at any given time'. For instance I believe that the memories I have recalled in the past 7 years honestly happened. However, the truth is - did it. I don't really know. There is no one to ask - so I have to live in the belief it did and I honest believe that.

The truth however is always subjective. While scientist try to make out something is the truth, you will just as quickly find another scientist who has an opposing view. Who is right?? The climate change doomsayers or the climate change non-believers? I have my own views on this topic which is based on my values that I use during life experiences and my knowledge (as limited as it is). However, the person sitting next to me on the bus will have a different view point I'm sure. Just as my brothers and I differ in how we perceive our lives as we grew up. I

Hope this has helped the discussion and not stymied it.

Kind regards