Honesty has to start with the self before one can progress to being honest with others. One would think this should be fairly easy to do. Yet, however, for many of us it is actually one of the hardest things to do.
Why is this? There are many reasons but when you bury down deep into the recesses of your internal world, it always comes back to fear. Fear of what one might ask? Mostly it is our fear that if we face the absolute truth about ourselves on every level, we are likely to feel pain. Not physical pain necessarily, but definitely emotional pain.
Often times being truthful means we are confronted with guilt as we own up to things we may have said or done or thought about saying or doing to others. In facing our hidden truths we might also have to deal with feelings of being unworthy, not good enough or not acceptable for our own standards, or the standards of others that we have taken on as our own through the years. We might decide that we don’t actually like ourselves, who we have become or who we have been in the past. We may have to take responsibility which can often feel like a heavy weight. We may be afraid that if we dig down into the depths of our souls it will be dark and murky down there and we won’t be able to cope.
For all these reasons and perhaps others not mentioned here, we often put being honest with ourselves in the too hard basket.
How do we manage to be dishonest with ourselves? Are we not all inside our own heads, witnessing our own thoughts, actions and words on a daily basis? So how can we not be honest?
We have developed over the centuries of humanity, a myriad of ways to be untruthful to ourselves. One effective method is denial. We can work very hard to convince others to believe our untruths and often so much so that we convince ourselves too. “No mum I didn’t steal the cookie from the jar, it must have been my brother” and soon we really come to believe we have been falsely accused. We can trick our minds into believing it didn’t really happen and rewrite the story as we perhaps wish it had been rather that what actually happened.
Another common strategy is creating justifications for our behaviour. We lie to ourselves and say that we had good reason or that our intentions were really honourable. There was no other choice.
We often become defensive and deflect the issue by turning the focus onto another person’s flaws thereby avoiding the need for us to take responsibility. Sometimes we blame others saying “this would not have happened if they had not done that”. “It is not my fault because the situation got in the way” etc.
Sometimes we block things out altogether as though they never happened. In extreme form we dissociate from events. We wipe them from our conscious mind/memory burying them deep in the recesses of our mind. Other times we use distraction. Each time the issue comes up, “I don’t want to talk about it right now, this is not the time to deal with that, I’m too busy with other things”. We may bury ourselves in work or exercise, watching TV or going out with friends, even over eating. In more extreme cases, self harming. Anything to keep us from being alone with our thoughts.
Sometimes people literally try to out run the truth by leaving a work place, ending a relationship or moving to a new town to try and leave behind something they don’t want to deal with.
These are not all of the things we do, you may have other thoughts about strategies you use or have observed in others but these are many of the common patterns.
The problem is that no matter how hard we try to avoid being honest with ourselves, the issue is always there somewhere in the background of our minds. Our souls carry the records of every single second of our lives that we have lived. Sooner or later we are going to have to deal. Sometimes when we put off being honest with ourselves we create bigger problems than the issue itself actually is.
When we lie to ourselves we are also lying to others and this can result in relationship conflicts by creating distance, eroding good will and affection we had built with those we care about and perhaps, n the end causing relationship breakdowns. Problems with our mental and physical health can develop as we carry around secrets, guilt and blame. The negative energy we create within us can literally make us sick. It is in fact, my belief from my contact with the spirit world over many years, that negative energy we create within ourselves and take on is the underlying cause of all human illness.
When we are refusing to deal with issues that are important and need to be resolved, our emotions can build up and we can find ourselves acting out or over reacting in places of our life where we don’t want this to happen. We might overreact in really inappropriate ways at inappropriate times. The people around us and even we, don’t understand where this is coming from leading to more negative judgement.
The funny thing is that if we were able to be honest with ourselves along the way and do the necessary work to resolve the issue to our satisfaction and that of others involved, it is usually not the massive problem we might think. Often when we own our part, apologise, make a gesture to set things right, others will react with a forgiving heart. They may express empathy, understanding and appreciation for our honesty. Perhaps what we thought was going to be received badly by the others involved actually is not of concern to them at all. We can then forgive ourselves for doing our best to sort it out, whether the other person is appeased or not, because we know we have honestly and genuinely done what we could. We no longer have to carry negative energy with us and relive this down the track. What a relief this might actually be!! A huge weight suddenly lifted from our shoulders!! We might even be able to see the humorous side “what on earth was I worried about”.
If we are talking about dealing with something that happened a long time ago that is already buried deep, it may feel like a darkness that we don’t want to have to face. However, if we can understand that darkness is merely an absence of light, it is really nothing to be afraid of. If we can find the courage to shine some light in the dark parts of ourselves those parts will begin to shed their darkness. Little by little they will grow lighter and lighter until they are just another part of us we love and accept as part of our learning experiences on this journey we call life.
As I have said before, there are really no “good or bad” experiences. Only when we attach meaning to an event, thought, or action does it become “good or bad”. Our perspective is what makes something one or the other. Someone else may have a different perspective and something we think of as “bad”, they actually don’t have a problem with. So if it is a matter of perspective, we can change our perspective and choose to see the things we think are dark areas about ourselves simply as things we need to work on or that we needed to experience to learn and grow as people. The so called “good and bad” make up the rich tapestry of our lives and without them all we would not be the people we are today.
Some may think they would be okay with this at this if their view of self is that they are not the kind of person they would like to be. However, to those of this mind, I would say, if you don’t like the person you are all you have to do is choose to be different.
Shine a light on those areas you do not value and think of them as works in progress rather than “bad”. What is one simple thing you could do to create change? help you to feel more loving towards yourself? It starts there. As you do that thing, acknowledge how it feels. Next just keep asking yourself, what else can I do. When you do things that make you feel lighter, keep doing similar things. If you do other things that make you feel low again, you know you don’t want to repeat that. This is how you learn who you want to be and how to get there.
Nothing is so awful that if we are honest about it with ourselves and do the work, one step at a time to address it, can’t be turned into the light and love. However, if we want to avoid having to delve into darkness perhaps choose to be honest along the way and deal with each issue as it comes up. This way we clean house as we go. Thereby saving ourselves that dreaded spring clean that can sometimes feel overwhelming in the future.
One last point I think really important to add and would be remiss of me to leave out is that some of our secrets or events that we might try to bury, can be those that are not actually our fault. There are many people who have been victims of other people’s cruelty or abuse and who are manipulated by others into thinking that they are somehow to blame. Sometimes by the perpetrator of this abuse, other times simply by virtue of the values and beliefs that run through the fabric of our culture and that we take on almost by a process of osmosis through our social learning via contact with the outside world.
Sometimes people who have experienced abuse, be it perhaps an insult like “you are stupid” or some form of physical abuse, may think that they have done something wrong, somehow their behaviour or even their personality or very identity, caused this. There may be many reasons they believe this which I will not go into in this piece. However, the shame or other strong emotions this creates inside them, results in their not wanting to deal with what has happened or to tell others who may be able to help them understand that they are not to blame. As such they push this down and carry these feelings with them. In such cases. Being honest with the self in such cases and having the courage to share this with others is very important. It can set you free by opening your eyes to a whole different way of viewing the situation and yourself so that you can learn to value, love who you are and place the responsibility where it really belongs.
Finally, I will end this message with a question for All to ponder: “Do I really want to weigh myself down in the darkness of dishonesty or do I want to stand in the light of my truth?” I am pretty sure I know which most of us would say we choose. So why do so many of us behave the opposite?