Honesty (noun) fairness and straightforwardness of conduct,
b: adherence to the facts: sincerity (merriam-webster.com)
I don’t know about you, but these days I just don’t know where to turn for honest information. We can’t scroll through social media without feeling bad about ourselves and all that we aren’t doing.
But here’s the honest truth, there are very few people presenting their honest self on those platforms, they are our ideal selves, what we want the world to see. And who among us has any faith that a politician is telling any truth?
And that’s just lying to others, what about the lies we tell ourselves? How often do we tell ourselves that the image we are putting out on social media is our reality?
That our flaws and character defects aren’t obvious, that we are actually getting away with the stage show we put on every day?
When we are not living an authentic life, we often construct a false, public self that we present to the world, believing that we are the only ones who know that we are being dishonest, when in fact most of the time we are fooling no one especially ourselves.
“Above all, don't lie to yourself.
The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others.
And having no respect he ceases to love.”
Self-deception is the key flaw that will lead to our own undoing every single time. When we lie to ourselves about the realities of our lives, when we tell ourselves stories about how we are always right, when we let the ego dictate the way we see the world, we are truly lost, because if you lose trust in yourself, you will never trust anyone else, either.
We think dishonesty will keep us safe, but it is slowly killing us and the people around us, now more than ever.
It might seem as if society has a tacit understanding that lying about the way we live and present ourselves to the world is actually the price we pay for “being in the game,” and that the world operates this way and so we must also if we wish to succeed, but presenting a fake self all of the time takes away the energy we could be devoting to bettering ourselves and improving our lives from the inside out and not the other way around.
In the end, self-deception is the most counterproductive thing we can do.
Being Honest ...
1/Can Lower Stress Levels
A 2012 article from US News states:
“Research on how lying affects health is scant, but lying is thought to trigger the release of stress hormones, increasing heart rate, and blood pressure. Stress reduces your body’s number of infection-fighting white blood cells, and over the years, could contribute to lower-back pain, tension headaches, a rapid heartbeat, menstrual problems, and even infertility.”
Who knew? That alone should be enough to stay in an honest place. But as a society built on stress, it can be hard to see how anyone thing could really improve life.
2/Strengthen personal relationships
Intimacy can be hard to build in any relationship. Honesty between two people can be the fastest way to a long-lasting bond. Trust is the glue that holds people together.
3/Free up brain space to focus on other things
When we aren’t spending our time trying to remember what story we told to what person, we suddenly have the space to be more creative, focus on a project, or just relax.
“If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.”
4/Attract honest people your way
I know you’ve heard this saying before: like attracts like.
If you are living an authentic life, with honesty as a North Star, you will bring other people into your life who are holding honesty up.
5/Living life as your authentic self feels great
Start today to really check in with yourself and examine the ways in which you may be deluding yourself. You will know when something doesn’t ring true because your gut will tell you.
Be gentle with yourself, but don’t put off doing this very important inner work. When you finally look back and see all of the falsehoods that were weighing you down and that you released, you will be amazed at how far you will go.