Honesty as an Expression of Self-Love

Why we don’t need white lies as much as we thought.

Sean Kernan
5 min readFeb 20, 2024


Two women talking over coffee.
Pexels Images via Katrin Bolovtsova

I was lounging in my friend’s living room and, regrettably, politics became the central talking point. The subject is hard to avoid these days as the world feels like it’s on fire. Two wars are raging. An election is looming on the horizon like an angry kraken.

In this case, it was more a monologue than a discussion. First it was, his “abortion is murder rant” as he held up his Christian cross necklace. Then, it was about how the US caused the Russian Invasion of Ukraine. The entire spiel was out of character for him, and everything he said had me biting my tongue. My inner voice begged for someone to change the subject. His wife, reading the room correctly, put her hand on his shoulder and said, “Dinner is almost ready. Let’s get our plates!”

This isn’t a new position for me to be in. I’ve spent my life traveling the country, living in completely different regions and cultures as a military child. Humor was my great unifier, my means of staking a plot in a new social climate. If I could make people smile, I could make a friend. There was no consideration of people’s ideologies, and no holding of grudges over someone’s opposing virtue.

Adulthood heralded the arrival of a seriousness I’ve tried to tamper down. And despite that, I’ve often found myself nodding, smiling and ignoring my loathing for the words someone is saying. When all I needed to end the discomfort was open up. My silent agreement and desire for cohesion was taking a toll. It’s a common behavior and one that is actually a form of self-deceit, and misrepresentation of yourself.

We should care enough to be more honest. Per a study by psychologist, Dr. Victoria Dykstra, lying is correlated to decreased mental health and more negative-oriented friendships over time. Among other problems, it promotes negative thinking because we let annoying behaviors flourish, and resent the other person for not noticing their rudeness.

My moment of self-realization came while going out with a buddy, Ryan. He’s a lawyer, who scores high on disagreeableness — to say the least. He manages to get into an argument in every situation we are in. He will take every debate on…



Sean Kernan

Writer and writing instructor. Always on the hunt for a good story. That guy from Quora. Writing out of Tampa, Florida.