“Our lives improve only when we take chances and the first and most difficult risk we can take is to be honest with ourselves.” ~Walter Anderson
There’s almost nothing I hate more than honesty.
Let’s think about this one. You might be thinking that I mean that I don’t like lying.
Most people probably knows that I am an honest person. I despise lying. I am honest with many people. However, I’m rarely honest with the person who matters most—myself.
As someone whose drug of choice is coffee and food, I’m familiar with all matters of sneaky and lying behavior. The best I can pin-point, this probably started for me around in my twenties. And I have to admit, I got pretty damn good.
I can wolf down an entire meal from KFC on my way home from work and dispose of the trash on my way. I drink an average of 15 cups of coffee a day.
I was not good at lying as a kid. But I was good at hiding the things that I ate or drank. I have perfected this art over time now.
Here’s the thing: I like hiding. I don’t like spilling the beans about myself to people. I’m squeamish about social events, and if I can avoid the details of where I’ve been or what I’ve been doing, I will.
So here is the truth- my problem is junk food, beer and coffee. And you reading this might have some of your own- drinking wine, playing on your phone a lot, or working to much.
But today I decided to lift the rock and peek underneath. Why am I doing this? Why on earth am I doing these unhealthy things?
What I figured out is that I am sure in need of some therapy, life coaching and I need to sort out my life. I am thankful that I have an extremely patient partner, so now I am taking the steps into the light.
Telling the Truth
I’ve learned a few things about honesty along my path. And as much as I’d prefer to keep them to myself, I’m pretty sure that’s not how it works. So here we go:
Honesty can be hard.
This is the first thing to know because it’s super-duper true. If you’re not used to being honest with yourself, you can’t imagine the suckitude you’ll experience when you start. The good news is that you’ll probably only be able to dish it out in small doses, so you can get used to it over time.
You have to do the work.
Most of us are deceiving ourselves in any number of ways every day. Not all are dramatic as mine, but all require a commitment to the process.
The results are unbelievable.
Remember the depth of suckitude I mentioned? Well, that’s only rivaled by the heights of awesomeness you feel when you lift the oppressive burden of your nonsense. Sometimes you only glimpse it for a moment, but that feeling isn’t something you’ll forget.
For me, it’s similar to the high I feel after eating one of my favoute Big Mac meals. But the difference is that the high of the truth isn’t laden with shame and guilt, which—I don’t know about you—are typically things I prefer to avoid.
Making it Happen
Now, this honesty thing isn’t only theoretical to me. It’s also for-real concrete, which is really what it has to be if you’re hoping for some change in your life. So not to worry: I won’t leave you hanging without some thoughts on how to peel the layers to your own truthy core.
1. Find something to write on or with.
You’re going to need to do some serious excavating, and there’s no place better to start than with your own thoughts. Ask yourself some questions: “Why am I doing X behavior?” “What don’t I want my best friend to know about me?” “What’s my next step?”
As you start to write on questions like this, some interesting things may come to light, which brings us to our next step.
2. Seek help.
No, you don’t need a therapist, life coach, or whoever because you’re messed up. You need outside assistance because you want to undertake a process to set yourself free. And that’s really best done with an objective ear and skills.
3. Keep coming back.
Telling the truth about yourself (especially to yourself) isn’t a linear process. It requires coming back and coming back and coming back.
4. See yourself in the future.
As I mentioned, once you get a taste of the freedom of honesty, it’s hard not to want more of that. So set your sights on a time when you’re living fully into your life, and then go from there—making that reality present a little more every day.
After all, if setting ourselves free in this lifetime isn’t our primary work, what is?