Chapter: Professional Ethics in Engineering : Global Issues


Honesty means expressing your true feelings. To be able to be emotionally honest we must first be emotionally aware.



Honesty means expressing your true feelings. To be able to be emotionally honest we must first be emotionally aware. This emotional awareness is related to our emotional intelligence. It is our emotional intelligence, which gives us the ability to accurately identify our feelings.


Emotional intelligence may also give us the ability to decide when it is in our best interest to be emotionally honest by sharing our real feelings. We would be better off individually and as a society if we would be more honest.


If we are more honest with ourselves we will get to know our ―true selves‖ on a deeper level. This could help us become more self-accepting. It could also help us make better choices about how to spend out time and who to spend it with.


If we are honest with other, it may encourage them to be more emotionally honest. When we are emotionally honest we are more likely not to be asked or pressured to do things which we do not want to do. We will also find out sooner who respects our feelings.

How society discourages honesty?


It takes awareness, self-confidence, even courage to be emotionally honest. This is because, in many ways, society teaches us to ignore, repress, deny and lie about our feelings. For example, when asked how we feel, most of us will reply ―fine‖ or ―good‖, even if that is not true. Often, people will also say that they are not angry or not defensive, when it is obvious that they are.


Children start out emotionally honest. They express their true feelings freely and spontaneously. But the training to be emotionally dishonest begins at an early age. Parents and teachers frequently encourage or even demand that children speak or act in ways which are inconsistent with the child‘s true feelings. The child is told to smile when actually she is sad. She is told to apologize when she feels no regret. She is told to say ―thank you‖, when she feels no appreciation. She is told to ―stop complaining‖ when she feels mistreated. She may be told to kiss people good night when she would never do so voluntarily. She may be told it is ―rude‖ and ―selfish‖ to protest being forced to act in ways which go against her feelings.


As children become adolescents they begin to think more for themselves. They begin to speak out more, ―talk back‖ more and challenge the adults around them. If these adults feel threatened they are likely to defend themselves by invalidating the adolescent‘s feelings and perceptions. There is also peer pressure to conform to the group norms.


Through all of this the child and adolescent learns they can‘t be honest with their feelings. They gradually stop being emotionally honest with their parents, their teachers, their friends and even themselves. They learn it just doesn‘t pay to be express one‘s true feelings.


A Few More Thoughts On Emotional Honesty

ü   Dishonesty requires more energy than emotional honesty.


ü   When we are emotionally dishonest we lose out on the value of our natural feelings.



ü   When we are emotionally dishonest we are going against the forces of evolution rather than in harmony with them.


ü   It takes energy to oppose reality, nature and evolution.


ü   Emotional dishonesty, in authenticity and falseness create distrust and tension in society.


Comment: Honesty is one of the prized values of mankind. Honesty is an insurance against failure and defame. An honest man is a big asset to the family, to the organization and to the society in general. The honest person may not earn riches but he will certainly earn name and satisfaction of living a good life.

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