There have been times you were honest about something you liked and didn't enjoy, and it didn't turn out so well. One example I can think of is when you told someone you liked them, and then you were immediately rejected because they didn't feel the same way about you. In this post, we're not discussing honesty toward others. Today, we're talking about honesty towards ourselves. This, in my opinion, is much harder because whatever comes to the surface is there, and as much as we try to avoid it; we can't.
Over the past few months, I have focused on being honest with myself. I explored the effects and where I still need practice. This exploration began a year ago, halfway into my mindfulness teacher training. I had to make a decision; should I stay or should I go? And reflecting on that scenario, I came across two aspects I'd like to discuss. The first one is how do we relate to honesty, and secondly, what does it mean and do to be honest with me? I also had some input through a questionnaire I created. If you haven't had a chance to submit your anonymous answers yet, there is still time ;).
I realized that when we talked about being honest, I initially related it to the negative things about us. I was focused on where can I improve and what aspects and our surroundings have I been dishonest about. The more I thought about it, the more I recognized that we are leaving out an essential detail of this equation when we don't include the things that are already going great and what makes us who we are. Using my past experiences with my peers, I reflected on what I needed to improve. I added pressure instead of adding the parts I loved about myself that I brought to the group—for example, my ability to express myself emotionally.
Being honest with myself allowed me to include all the parts of me, the things I love about myself, and the things I'd like to improve. It's not an either/or but both/and. The more I investigated this subject, the more I discovered. For example, seeing both sides, the positive and the negative, we realize that everything we encounter has more than one side. Like the fire in this example, if I stay at a safe distance, it keeps me warm, and if I go too far in, I can burn myself, so the fire has both a positive and a negative and more. When we can relate to honesty with ourselves, less of a judgment and more of an inclusion of the whole person we are, we begin to see the world around us the same way.
By establishing this groundwork relating to "Honesty with Myself," I can explain why I find it necessary to practice this. I believe it will increase our self-worth. It won't reduce us only to what we approve, positive or negative. It will help us see our world, inside and outside, as more integrated and inclusive. And the further we go into this exploration, we sooner than later will discover how everyone is dealing with the same complexity of being human and that no one has the answers on how to be ourselves at all times. Instead, we allow ourselves to be curious about what else we have been avoiding not to get uncomfortable and possibly find out how being uncomfortable only last a short period. Once we get over that hump, we find more joy on the other side of that mountain only because we started being honest with ourselves.