Be honest. In everything. Learn to say and hear what needs to be said without fear or malice. Accept the bad and the good--in yourself and in others. Respect others enough to be honest with them, and respect those brave enough to be honest with you. I've loved once in my life, and went through 4 years of hell instead of letting go, because I honestly believe nobody will ever be better for either of us. I also refused to 'get the hint;' I don't let anyone off that easily. I'm not going to make it easier for someone I love to make a very, very bad decision. On the other hand, I would never put myself through that kind of drawn-out misery if I didn't believe 100% that it was the only decision I would be able to live with, regardless of how how much I got hurt, and regardless of the obvious eventual outcome. You can't stop people from betraying you; you can refuse to let them make you betray yourself. You deserve respect if you take an honest beating, but should be ashamed if you take the easy way out.
Lying is a waste of time, energy, and opportunities that could be used for learning. You can lie to make yourself look better, but it makes you a worse person. When you lie to save face, you lose out on gaining a priceless bit of wisdom. Lies can fabricate anything, but create nothing. A lie won't bring back what's dead, and can't nourish someone who is starving.
So...be honest. It's not easy, it takes a lot of practice, and you can fail without even realizing it. Belief is not the same as Truth, and being honest doesn't mean being correct. Honesty is an action, not a trait; it's our pursuit, not our answer. Don't be afraid to imagine anything, but never forget you know relatively little. It's perfectly natural for human beings to have faults and mistakes, so don't be too hard on yourself; but never forget the people around you are human beings too. Give all you have, and accept everything you're offered--you don't have to keep it if you don't like it, or you can show it to others if you don't understand it, or until you find someone who needs it.
Ah...I'm going to be tie-dying my pajamas and shouting "Can't we all just get along, man?" if I don't wrap this up. I apologize for the ramble; every time I think I've got the cynic thing nailed, this inner optimist pops up and confuses the hell out of me, and anyone unfortunate enough to be in my vicinity. You're all the victims of collateral hope.
With the caveat that anything I think, say, write, or believe is subject to change at any time without prior notification, the best I've come up with so far is a firm belief that being honest is always better than lying in some long-run sort of way. Profound, huh? Bet you're glad you plodded through all this for that dazzling insight! I guess I'm at a point where I believe we're all works in progress, that the Human State isn't one of finding answers, but of learning to ask the right questions.
But questions are meaningless in the absence of honesty, so I think a lot of the shit life throws at us is designed to teach us that. It may be easier, prettier, nicer, but a lie is still a lie, an unsubstantial construct with no meaning we don't give it. It's a shield from things we don't want to see, accept, or admit. The ultimate waste of time.
I think we know so little because the only questions we're brave enough to ask are those we've already answered, even if we can't admit that to ourselves. So I'm glad you asked the question; but you're the one who has to answer it. Your answer is in you though, not us. For what it's worth, I believe if we learn to listen to ourselves, overcome our fear of expressing ourselves to others, and are really able to hear those around us, that's where we'll find honesty. And if you move through the world as the real you, you'll end up where you belong, with the people who belong with you.
God bless. Or take another hit. Even odds you're a martyr or you're stoned if you're still reading this. I'm tired, and vaguely curious how this will sound to me tomorrow. It might be pompously confusing enough to warrant linking to my post on starting a cult. Or it will warrant sending a HUGE gift basket to Jersey in the hope of bribing someone to delete it. Though I guess that would probably nullify any point this might actually have. I WILL own my sleep-deprived nonsense!
Peace out. *shrug* Seemed as good an ending as any. And it IS an ending, to prevent me from going off on...