Small bravery

Well I'm about halfway through my month of honesty, and so far it has been far more difficult than getting up early. Why is this?

One reason is that, unlike getting up early, which is fairly simple as far as rules go, this requires constant vigilance. Not volunteering information except when it suits me is a habit, and breaking it requires creating a newer, stronger habit of truth-telling. But forming that habit takes continuous attention. I have to listen carefully to hear that quiet voice saying "hmm, I wonder if I should say..." and jump in before it concludes "nah, better not" and disappears.

But the other thing is that, even when I can think of what to say, honesty is very challenging. When I started, I wrote that the opposite of honesty isn't deceit, but cowardice. Which is another way of saying that honesty is a kind of bravery. Even when I know exactly the truth that I want to speak, I can't help thinking about the consequences. Even if they're not big consequences, even if they're as simple as knowing that the conversation will be marginally more complicated as a result. Continuing despite those consequences requires bravery, even if just a little.

This kind of small bravery is very hard to maintain. Oh, sure, we all have glorious acts of one-off courage in us. Maybe we'll jump in front of a train to save a child, but what if we're just in the carriage watching someone get hassled? It's so much easier when there is a big decision with big consequences, something we can build up to and conquer once and for all. But most things are just lots of little decisions, each one an opportunity for small bravery, and some of them you have to make over and over again.

And that's the difficulty I have. One act of bravery is easy, constant vigilance and the courage to act on it is hard.