There are few values held so dear in our culture as honesty. Honesty is the very rock on which relationships are built and dashed, even our relationship with and understanding of ourselves. We want honesty from others, but when it comes to being honest with ourselves and looking at our own mess, we are quite adept at self-deception and rationalization.
Self-honesty requires great bravery and hard work. After all, isn’t it easier to cast blame on someone else? Isn’t it easier to make an excuse for your behavior, your addiction, or your bad choices than to look at yourself honestly, take responsibility for your part, and make a change? But at what cost?
If you aren’t honest with yourself, if you can’t assess your circumstances with clarity and perspective, then you dishonor yourself, you deny your reality, and you can’t move forward. Little by little, you give up pieces of yourself and who you are meant to be, ultimately lost in a quagmire of halfhearted compromises, misplaced blame, and lost opportunity. William Shakespeare said, “If I lose my honor, I lose myself.” And isn’t that true? How many times have you lost a piece of yourself by dishonoring yourself and being dishonest about your true narrative? How many times have you given into the expectations of someone else, ignoring your own wants and needs?
Your journey to Hope and healing requires a commitment to self-examination and self-honesty.
Friend, you don’t have to stay where you are. It is time to move forward. Take a hard look at yourself and your situation, and consider how you got there. If you have Surrendered the things over which you have no control, and if you have found your place of Stillness and confronted your Grief, you are ready to turn the page. And self-honesty provides a beautiful, blank page on which to write your true narrative, not with the pen of fantasy or disillusion, but with self-awareness and transparency.
For some of you, the pain you are experiencing started as no fault of your own, perhaps with the death of a loved one. Honesty still has a place here. Maybe you need to face emotions of anger or resentment you feel toward your loved one who “left,” or maybe you need to come to terms with regrets of things unsaid, or the depths of your loss. Or maybe you are perpetuating bad habits or bad choices and blaming your loved one’s death for your decisions. Your journey to Joy and Hope can only come after you are honest about the emotions you are feeling, no matter how ugly they may seem at the time.
For others, you know deep down that your own actions or inactions have contributed to the pain of your current situation. Friend, there can be great healing when you accept responsibility for your part in your mess. Honoring your pain means giving it its proper place, but it also means being completely honest about its place and how it got there. Honesty will illuminate the masks you wear and the ways you hide from your reality: maybe you do cover pain with alcohol, maybe you do get into bad relationships because you don’t feel like you deserve better, maybe you do work too much and use the validation you get as a substitute for true self-worth.
At Living Hope, Honesty is the fourth step on your journey to Hope. Honesty is the rejection of fantasy or delusion and the acceptance of what you know to be true, regardless of how ugly it may feel. It requires that you recognize the difference between what you want for yourself and what others expect of you, and the willingness to act on that distinction. It also serves to illuminate the ways in which you present yourself inauthentically and falsely, allowing you to see clearly the circumstances of your reality.
You will begin the Practice of Honesty when, after determined self-examination and transparency, the center of your being begins to stir and you choose to listen and accept what it tells you as truth. Understand that it takes complete faith and dedication to begin to trust and act on the messages you receive from this place of bold Honesty, but it is a necessary step in your healing.
You can begin the Practice of Honesty now. Ask yourself the hard questions: How did I get here? What part did I play? Why do these things always happen to me? But you must ask these questions, not with the intent of blaming others, but with the intent of getting to the truth. How did you get here, friend? What part did you play? Why do these things always happen to you?