At the beginning of 2014, I made the commitment to myself to take this year to work on being more honest.
As I explore honesty at a deeper level, I find myself face to face with dishonesty. I have found myself in situations where being honest was difficult and challenging, and I’ve discovered that I have an underlying fear of being judged that has been crippling me. But I realized that whenever I chose dishonesty in these challenging situations, I felt stressed, anxious and fearful, which ultimately made me want to hide and become invisible. Yet every time I overcame this fear and chose to express myself with authenticity, I felt at ease, and somehow I didn’t care so much about being judged by others because I had put my focus on accepting myself and embracing all that I am.
As I see it, there are different types or levels of dishonesty, including:
- little white lies
- lying by omission
- lies that manipulate others or situations
There are also the lies we tell ourselves:
- when we don’t listen to our intuition
- when the truth is too painful to handle
- when we fear confrontation
- when we judge ourselves or we fear being judged by others
I believe that any kind of dishonesty ultimately moves us away from being present. Our minds are very clever at creating powerful reasons to lie, and sometimes we manage to justify our dishonesty. I believe that we have learned to lie as a way to survive. We have created the unconscious belief that if we show our true selves, we won’t be accepted and loved. Maybe that was our reality as children, and we had to behave in a way that went against our true nature, so that we could be accepted. In doing this, though, we lost touch with many valid aspects of our personalities, and we went through life with a feeling of shame or guilt, a feeling of not being good enough or like something was missing in ourselves and in our lives.
Being honest takes courage. To be honest, we need to feel safe, and sometimes we place that safety outside ourselves. But the only real way to feel safe within ourselves is to challenge the fear and choose honesty.
I have a lot of clients who come to me because they want to be more assertive. I believe that the only way to do this is to start being honest and to let go of the fear. When we choose honesty, we can move away from pure survival and really start living.
How to be honest in your relationships:
- Communicate in a manner that is respectful and takes responsibility
- Move away from blame
- Move away from being right or wrong. Avoid judgement, express yourself, and listen with an open heart.
- You cannot help it when others judge you. People will judge you whether you’re true to yourself or not. But that judgement belongs to them because it’s based on their own perceptions. So move the focus away from them to yourself, and be aware of what you’re judging in yourself.
- The more honest and open you are, the more intimate your relationships become.
We have to live with the consequences of our actions, whether we choose to be honest or dishonest. Dishonesty creates separation from ourselves and others, and we become absent; while honesty creates connection with ourselves and others, so that we become more present. It’s not about judging ourselves at those times when fear takes over and we choose to be dishonest. Rather, it’s about being aware of what we’ve done or are doing and the energy behind it.
Every time you choose honesty, you become more assertive, respectful, and loving towards yourself. That’s when you start knowing who you are, and that in turn creates empowered relationships.