A few times in the past week or so, I've had someone use the phrase "To tell the truth..." or, "Honestly..." to begin a statement, usually one in which they're communicating some personal feeling or opinion about a subject they perceive to be "touchy." In most cases I think they mean it in the sense of "I'm going to be more candid or blunt with you right now than I might otherwise be," as opposed to "I've been lying to you about some or all of what I've already said, and now I'm going to tell the truth for a moment." But the phrases and the way they strike me serve as a reminder that honesty in word and deed is something I very much take for granted these days. I don't think it's a matter of being naive - I'm cautious enough and a good enough "judge of character" that I can usually tell when I'm being conned by someone who is being intentionally dishonest. What's harder to discern and deal with are the people who don't even value honesty enough to see dishonesty as a negative or harmful act - the folks who are lying to themselves as easily as they lie to others. But of course, that kind of deep personal honesty - in which we're always truthful with ourselves and others about an emotion, desire, observation, mistake, or other situation - is the hardest to practice. But, to be honest, I think it's also the most rewarding.
(Please note, because of the time that has passed since I wrote this article, it may no longer reflect my current views or the most accurate and complete information available on this subject.)