Why You Should Be Honest With Yourself

be honest with yourself looking toward a lake
Photo by Joshua Earle

This my story on why you should be honest with yourself.

A bit of background: Yesterday, I was going through a lot of stress. More than usual and it wasn’t coming from any apparent source. Among other things was the stress of my dad’s birthday. I haven’t spoken to him in 6 months or more. It’s been so long and I have to face him. It was always my plan to have a real talk with him around the time of his birthday. I intended to have an income by then but things didn’t turn out as I hoped. The fact that I still don’t has demoralized me. 

I was about to sink into doom and gloom feelings or drop into a depressive state, amongst all that stress. That was going to be too much to take so I had to do something about it. To avoid further down-spirals, I turned towards the hard feelings, faced them instead of running away from them. I went ahead and sat with the feeling, the image of me standing in front of my dad and being completely honest and open about the fact that I failed. 

My mind tried to save me by pulling me towards three different safety mechanics:
  1. Over exaggerate. I portray myself as the victim to get mercy. It works wonders in all situations, but it’s simply not true. It is in itself a huge lie. So I pulled that mental strain back into the real truth. I’m not a victim. I just am. It’s been so long since I said I was going to get my life set and I didn’t do it, couldn’t do it. No matter the reason, this is what it is. I allowed myself to accept the judgment.
  2. I don’t have an income yet, but I have a lot of things going that could succeed in the future. Yet another lie that’s there to buy me time. It’s something I do when I want to make it look like all is not that bleak, there’s hope, etc. But experience has taught me that those are only promises. Just like that despicable teammate that always promises and say he/she’s been working on something this whole time and will deliver soon. And they never do. They always end up dropping out. So I pulled that mental strain back too because I didn’t want to be that horrible person. And also because, maybe if I’m not like that person, then I could break a vicious cycle of sorts and hopefully things will be different. I may have a lot of things I’ve done already, and this is true, but I don’t have the willpower and the energy to see them through. So the reality of my situation is that I have nothing right now. I don’t want to inspire any hope when I don’t believe in myself to actually deliver.
  3. Soften the blow. Control the conversation to make it feel less serious. When I have upsetting news to give, but I’m afraid of how the person will react, I do this. I take control and start playing a role of “This is happening, but it’s ok. Look, I’m aware of my faults, and I don’t know what’s going to happen next, but I’m sure we’ll figure it out”. It opens the door for people to come up with solutions, to take responsibility for me instead of me taking the responsibility for my faults. Just like no.2, this buys me more time. And though it presents the situation in a more realistic light, it’s still not 100% honest. So I pulled that mental strain back and told myself that it’s unacceptable to twist the narrative. I wasn’t doing it so I can get real punishment from my dad, but instead, I wanted to get an authentic reaction from him. The responsibility is not on him, it’s on me. I take full responsibility for my situation. 

I’m happy that I managed to kill off all my safety mechanisms and to take full honest responsibility for it all. What I’ve found is that, standing there in front of my dad, being completely honest and unafraid of any judgment he might give me (and also willing to take it), was very freeing. I am who I am. I don’t need to be fake. Now we can both change the tactics, and perhaps things will work out differently if we do. 

The good news is, doing that already changed me dramatically. Admitting to a truth that I’ve been trying to run away from all this time freed me. Now I can move on. I’m not a failure. I wasn’t going to spiral down into beating myself up. But I did fail in this, and that’s ok. 

When you start being honest with yourself, you will realise how superficial social expectations are

Facing honesty made me realize that social expectations are just … superficial. They are not even close to being very realistic either. I simply signed out of them by doing the process above. I’m glad I don’t necessarily have to make my dad proud like a good daughter, and I can just go my own way and do my own thing. It’s ok to let him down. Which in turn meant that it’s ok to be myself. When I settled the fact that it’s ok to be myself in my mind, everything changed dramatically! 

It was incredibly freeing to cut myself off from trying to make my dad proud. I found that I was guilting myself because I couldn’t be what he wants me to be.

And that is why now I have all this energy and motivation! I feel so free and happy to be myself! I’m no longer punishing and guilting myself for not making my dad/society proud!

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