5 Steps To Be More Honest With Yourself
Some years ago, a dear friend of mine asked me how things were going.
“Everything’s great! Why do you ask?”
He then said he had noticed that I didn’t seem very happy. I was going through the motions, but without my usual joy and enthusiasm. He then got more personal, and asked how things were with my then relationship. I got quiet. I wasn’t happy in my relationship and my friend knew it. I had been struggling with my unhappiness for many years. From the outside, it appeared that I had no reason to complain about my life. I had all the things most people could ever want! I had a successful partner, a nice house, a fun career…but I was miserable. Being an emotional person, I felt something was wrong but I couldn’t express what it was.
My partner and I had a huge blow up. A few weeks later, another well-intentioned friend played “counselor” and took us both aside to talk to us about what happened. I’m not sure what she said to my partner, but the question she asked me hit home. “If you and your partner earned the same amount of money, would you stay?” My body answered before my mind…the answer was a resounding “No.” I had finally gotten honest with myself and my relationship. Now that I knew where I stood, it was time to figure out a pathway to happiness.
If you are serious about improving yourself as a person, if you’re serious about developing yourself, then honesty is an important part of the journey. Honesty is a key aspect of developing because if you aren’t being honest with yourself, how on earth do you plan to grow? When we choose dishonesty and delusion we are choosing to see only what we want to. That might not sound so bad, but it means that you are ignoring a whole lot that you would prefer to avoid. It’s those things that matter the most. You’re securing short-term joy in exchange for long-term happiness.
Being more honest with yourself might be painful, but it’s a necessary part of furthering yourself. How can you be more honest with yourself?
1. Acknowledge The Bad & The Good
The thing we are guiltiest of is embracing all of the good things about life, while completely ignoring the bad. It’s a bit like social media. We watch these timelines of pure joy and bliss. That isn’t real. People only share the best bits, it’s a slideshow of someone’s life and doesn’t paint a true picture of the hardships they might face. We do this, too, whether it’s on social media or in our own heads. It’s just easier to ignore the bad things rather than deal with them head-on. Ignoring problems won’t solve anything, if anything, it will make things worse for you in the long-run. Be honest with yourself about everything good and bad in your life, that balanced view will keep you sane.
2. Take Time For Self-Reflection
At the end of each day, take a few minutes to think about how it went. Ask yourself how you did, if there’s anything you did well or could have done better. You can be honest without being overly critical or too judgmental. This exercise isn’t about damaging your self-esteem, rather, it’s about reflecting on the day in order to make tomorrow a better one. Reflection helps you learn about yourself and it can improve your ability to solve problems, too. When you allow yourself the opportunity to analyze the day, you’re going to get a better picture of what it takes to improve.
3. We All Make Mistakes – Admit It
Every one of us so, why can’t you just admit it? It is one of the most difficult aspects of being honest with yourself. It’s easy to slip into ego protection mode and fine an excuse or someone else to blame for a mistake. That’s not going to help you build a real sense of self-esteem, though. True self-esteem, true confidence lies in being courageous enough to own up to mistakes. When you can stand up and own shortcomings you can learn and grow.
4. Get Into Your Feelings
When people say they’re caught up in their feelings it’s usually used in a negative connotation. Yet, your emotions have an important role to play in how you understand and interact with the world. Emotions aren’t the reality, but they are revealing. When you dig deep to figure out why you feel a certain way, you’re learning about the things that tend to make you feel that way. More importantly, you’re learning how to manage and respond appropriately. This is a level of honesty that your stress levels (and social circle) will appreciate.
5. Don’t Get Caught In Analysis Paralysis
As we noted above, it’s important to take time for reflection and analyze the day. However, it’s equally as important that you don’t over-analyze. It’s easy to get carried away. You don’t need to rationalize everything or intellectualize about it. You simply need to be matter of fact. There’s no need to create an elaborate story about why bad things happen to you. You need only to note how it is right now and move forward. You can’t understand everything that’s going on in the world, and you don’t need to. You just have to be realistic, be practical and sensible.
These steps helped me realize that I didn’t feel valued in my relationship, I was not a priority to my partner, I was no longer appreciated and I had been taken for granted. Being honest with myself was one of the hardest lessons I had to learn, but one of the most rewarding. It helped me see exactly where I was, where I needed to be in order to be happy, and gave me the courage to create the life and relationship I truly wanted. The journey was not easy…but the rewards have been tremendous.