We all strive to have honest relationships with our friends, family members, and significant others. After all, honesty is the best policy. We want to feel like we can trust those who are close to us.
But sometimes, we are so caught up in determining whether there is sound honesty in our relationships, that we forget to be honest with ourselves first and foremost.
What does it mean to be honest with yourself? It means to reflect on your values and ideologies and evaluate whether you act in accordance with them. It means to listen to what you preach, or tell others, and interpret whether or not you practice these beliefs in your everyday life and actions. If there is a disconnect between the way you are, and the way that you tell yourself that you are, then perhaps you are not being honest with yourself.
If by being introspective you discover that there are inconsistencies between your actions and your dialogue (either internal or external), then perhaps it is time to reevaluate what is important to you and how you portray it.
It is definitely not easy to be honest with yourself. Sometimes it hurts. Sometimes the truth feels better left unsought. Sometimes we’d rather lie to ourselves than deal with the discomfort of living with the truth. And still yet, no matter how honest you think you are being with others, if you are not honest with yourself then you are living less than ideally. Honesty with others often relies on the mere stipulation that you’ve been honest with yourself first.
When we ask others to be honest, therefore, we are really asking them to be honest with themselves. Nothing else is true or valuable without first the knowledge that this person has come to understand and uphold their own belief systems and values. They must be true to themselves, in order to gain our respect…and in order to gain our trust.
You can only suppress or deny a truth for so long, until it bubbles up from beneath the surface and becomes so blinding and apparent that you can barely withstand its noise. You cannot live a satisfying life by lying. You cannot feel fulfilled.
Introspection is key. Unfortunately, there are many individuals who will live their lives feeling unsatisfied, but never find the courage or patience to look within. When you look within, questions are answered, conundrums are solved, and discovery is promising. You can never unlearn what you learn, but who would want to? The truth will always set you free. The truth is your identity.