Honesty Is The Best Policy

Stanley - Cadiz, Kentucky
Entered on January 20, 2009
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: integrity
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This I believe:

Honesty Is Indeed The Best Policy

I recently retired from military service after 23 years on active duty. Due to the nature of my particular military occupation, over the years I was required to complete various questionnaires relating to personal conduct both on and off duty. Every few years I encountered the same batch of forms and interviews. The military services cannot possibly independently verify every entry and statement, and therefore assumes that absolute truth exists unless proven otherwise. I believe it is best, in all cases and regardless of the actions or counsel of peers, to be absolutely truthful in the first place thereby avoiding much agony, , and complications required to cover falsehoods.

I don’t like to label myself a liar, but failure to do so would deny my previous state. I learned at an early age, as I suppose many children do, that I could sometimes tell a lie to achieve either gain or self preservation, and over time I became accustomed to the notion of only dealing in total truth when it is absolutely safe to do so. Over the years, I had continuously repeated a particular falsehood on several documents and in interviews requiring my answers under oath and penalty of perjury. The particular issue was not a weighty matter of national security or anything of the sort, but my repeated answers were lies nonetheless.

In 1996, I experienced a change in my life that would not allow me to continue repeating this lie. In 1999, I was presented with an opportunity to come clean, and seized upon it. Although there was a very real possibility that my career could have been cut short or I could have been prosecuted for making false statements, my fears were relieved when my career blossomed until I retired in 2007. It was as if my military career had stagnated and was now free of this hindrance. Over the last several years of my career, I was able to counsel others to avoid the same pitfalls and offered my own experience as an example they should not follow.

I believe honesty is always the best policy, and in my case, it proved to be liberating.