Everyone knows in their head that lying to yourself is not a good idea. However, not only do we do it on a regular basis, we don’t know why it’s so terrible for you! I am going to discuss not only several of the consequences of not being truthful with yourself but also offer my insights on how to overcome this. This may be the single most transformative practice, that you can start today!
Growing up, I could think of nothing more terrifying than confrontation. It made my blood freeze, and my mind cloudy. I was so scared of it that when I faced confrontation, I would choose to do the easy thing and simply adopt the other person’s perspective. It relieved me of going through the hard feelings that come when I am faced with conflict.
Backing down under pressure and letting others have their way seemed like the right thing to do at the time. If you laughed at that statement, I am laughing with you! It wasn’t until a year ago that I realized how detrimental this was to my self-perception. I never had any idea who I was l because I would constantly abandon my honest viewpoints and perspectives to keep a harmonious atmosphere. To prioritize other people’s feelings.
To be honest with myself meant confrontation with others. That was not a price I was willing to pay as a child.
After living most of my life with this habit I formed in childhood, I discovered the consequences of not being truthful with yourself. Spoiler: It primarily harms you, but it also harms others. This realization hit me like a ton of bricks, and I felt a sensation that the world was finally falling into place; That I was falling into place.
What are the consequences of not being truthful with yourself, on yourself?
There may be more, but I have found three main ways which are inextricably linked. In each, you will find my thoughts, as well as an insight that has helped me out of some very dark places.
Murder of Self:
Why should we seek honesty?
Being dishonest with yourself is murder of self. This may sound extreme, but it is not only extreme. It’s also true.
It is murder of self because it kills the very things that make you yourself.
Imagine you’re a pine tree, but all your friends are oaks. If you always prioritize their advice, you will grow to look less and less like yourself, and more like everyone around you. Some of this is good, but an enormous part of being dishonest with yourself includes dismissing your own intuition over the advice of others. Everyone is different. Listen to yourself and trust what you hear back. You instinctively know what to do.
How do you want to see yourself?
When faced with difficult situations where I am tempted to revert to my childhood habits, I remind myself of a little phrase I made up.
"Honesty is the choice to fight, deceit is the choice to cower. Do I want to be a fighter or a coward in my own mind?"
This is about not only being honest with your words but with your actions. Your actions play a tremendous role in creating your own definition of yourself. This is about actually living as the person you want to be. If you don’t practice living as the person you want to be, how can you ever become them?
How do you see yourself?
Don’t be afraid to look in the mirror. The only harm that comes from looking in the mirror is the judgments you make about what you see.
"It's not good, or bad, it just is."
This is a phrase that you can use, to be honest with yourself about who you are right now, without judgment or condemnation. After all, how can we ever become who we want to be if we cannot see who we are right now? It’s this truth that leads me to the realization that if I am dishonest with who I am right now, I will never have what I want, live as I want, or be as I want.
What are the consequences of not being truthful with yourself on the people around you?
The real you has more to offer than simply prioritizing other people’s feelings. The real you will prioritize what is actually best for other people. That is vastly more impactful. Keeping my mouth shut about my honest thoughts, hurts my friendships and relationships alike because if I don’t bring my problems into the light, they can only fester and grow. All of these bricks falling into place were topped with a simple, and practical application. The “lights on” moment.
If I want good relationships with people, I need to be bold with my thoughts and emotions.
Essentially, by not being truthful with yourself, you are robbing the people closest to you of experiencing the real you! The closest people in your life deserve better! Additionally, if someone crosses your boundaries making you upset, and you lie to yourself to keep the peace, that’s not a healthy friend/relationship for either of you! In order to keep healthy friend/relationships, you have to be willing to establish your clear non-negotiable boundaries.
The consequences of not being truthful with yourself can be quite extreme. It harms the people around you, your self-perception, and your inner growth. However, I believe that every person is born with an inner strength that we don’t always know how to access. It took me over twenty years to find mine when living honestly became a matter of life and death.
If I continued being dishonest with myself I would have inevitably committed suicide out of self-hate. In order to be honest, I had to choose to live by fighting with strength and boldness. I think it’s important to note that everyone has a different inner strength, and most of the time can only be found through experience, and then reflecting on life. If you don’t know yours yet, it will come. You just have to experience life in the meantime.
“The choice to be honest, is the choice to live.” That is an aspect of my personal inner strength as an example for you.
To top it all off, I want to give you some encouragement. Some people say, “life isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon.” I say it’s not a race at all. It’s a growth process. You are not in competition with anyone else to be the best you, because nobody else stands a chance. People inevitably grow and change over time, so it’s about growing in the direction you want. You will inevitably be confused at times, and even fail in some cases, JUST LIKE THE REST OF HUMANITY, but you will never stop growing. That is why you will win.
Be patient with yourself. It’s not about being perfect, it’s about growing
Food For Thought:
What are some consequences of not being truthful with yourself that you have noticed in your own life?
What are some solutions you have used to overcome this?