How to Be More Honest with Yourself

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We all have limits to how honest we can be with ourselves. But, it’s worth pushing past them and challenging our preconceived notions of what we believe about ourselves and the world around us. Being honest with yourself helps you better achieve your goals and live your life on your own terms.

Why does being honest with yourself matter?

Being honest with yourself means you have control over your thoughts and actions. Only you can hold yourself accountable for living up to your ideals and recognizing when you fall short of those standards. Honesty is an important aspect of self-improvement, yet many people would rather make up excuses for themselves in order to not make the hard choices.

When you’re not honest with yourself, you can almost become oblivious to the truth of your situations. This leads to you giving into circumstances instead of rising above them. For example, if you want more from a job, you likely don’t know how to do that. If you simply settle for the status quo out of fear of losing that job, you won’t come up with potential solutions to get what you really want out of life. 

Be honest with yourself about your fears

We all have fears, whether they involve failure, rejection, or a loss of control. While it’s normal to have such fears, it’s important not to let them get in your way. It may take some time and practice, but learning how to deal with fears can help you reach your goals.

Fear can make you do strange things, including isolating yourself and even leading to self-abusive behavior. However, being honest about your fears first means admitting that they exist. Second, learn to understand why you fear what you do, then armed with the knowledge, resolve to face them head-on a little bit every day. Otherwise, letting our fears get the best of us often leads to bad habits that are destructive in the long run.

Sometimes your fears can serve as a sign that change needs to be made. Perhaps you simply need a change of pace; perhaps, there’s different work you can do. Maybe it is time to find a different employer altogether. If you realize that you need to change careers, start taking steps to figure out how to do that in a constructive, but timely manner. 

Other times, fears emerge from past experiences, where something traumatic or extremely unpleasant happened to us. It’s important in these cases to recognize that those fears, while not unfounded, are in the past. When you are fearful of a situation, it’s OK to tread lightly, but still teach yourself to move forward one step at a time.

Still other fears come from misconceptions, misinformation, and sometimes just pure ignorance. This is why once you identify your fears, if they aren’t giving you useful information, then you need to learn how to overcome them. Sometimes, our fears come simply from us not knowing why someone or something isn’t how we expect it to be. Coming to more of an understanding of these things we fear can help us to drive these irrational fears away.

You’re not alone in lying to yourself

Lying to ourselves can seem an attractive way to help us get through our days by allowing us to ignore uncomfortable aspects of our lives. Unfortunately, in the long term, this mindset isn’t productive. The sooner you can admit you lie too much to yourself, and start being honest about your life, you’ll be able to take productive steps toward changing yourself and your life for the better.

But, also don’t judge yourself harshly for doing this. People are endlessly complicated. Even if you’re being totally honest with yourself, chances are high that there’s a ton you don’t know about your own personality and reactions. Work on eliminating self-criticism from your life, even when things do go wrong. Beating yourself up doesn’t help you solve anything.

Stop dwelling on what goes wrong, and instead plan your next move

Sometimes, it’s easy to get caught up in dwelling on your setbacks. Instead, stop and think about what went wrong. Did you have an off day or a bad week? Did you lose out on a lucrative opportunity because of an outside factor, such as another person’s actions? If so, write down what happened and what went wrong. This reflection requires you to be honest about the situation, allowing you to then move on from the experience.

Then, figure out how you can make sure those setbacks don’t happen to you again. Ask yourself how you can improve your thought process and how you can increase your chances of success next time. Remember that everyone makes mistakes, but not everyone allows themselves to learn from them and move on successfully. Sometimes, failures will happen due to no one’s fault at all, due to unexpected circumstances or results. Just take the next steps you need in order to move forward.

Confronting the truth requires courage, commitment, and training

It takes courage and discipline to face the truth. Refusing to be honest with yourself can only lead to self-delusion, costing you valuable growth and learning opportunities. If you need to improve your life, confronting the truth is essential. 

If you’re struggling with your current truth, try writing down a list of things that make you unhappy. Every answer will likely be painful, but once you do this exercise, you’ll realize which things are completely out of your control and which are in your control. Then, focus on the things you can control and do something about them. The things you can’t control you must learn to let go.

Along the way, it’s especially helpful to find people who can help support your quest for change. Having emotional support from peers, friends, and family can help you minimize your own personal doubts. But, being honest with yourself still always starts with you. Create an action plan for yourself, then gather the courage and commitment needed to tackle each of those obstacles one at a time. It won’t be easy, of course, because nothing worthwhile ever is.

Change your mindset, and change your life

It’s easy to think of ourselves as being victim of circumstances. But, human beings are so much more than our circumstances. When we change our own perspective on how we look at things, we can then start changing our outlook, which can lead to positive change in the real world. 

Start changing your mindset today by identifying your thoughts that aren’t serving you. These include the ways you talk about yourself, your situation, or people around you. Now, re-frame these thoughts as goals to achieve and come up with honest solutions for each of them. 

For example, say that you are new in town. Your new job keeps you so busy you don’t have time to make friends. So, you feel isolated and spend your time outside of work at home alone. The obvious solution may be that you need to get out more. But, if you focus on what is wrong and how the situation makes you feel, you may not even recognize the solution. 

By focusing on solutions rather than circumstances, your thoughts turn to how to make time to make real connections, rather than allowing your circumstances to define you. If you change your mindset to one of honest reflection, you will watch your life improve significantly. 

Amelia Desertsong is a former content marketing specialist turned essayist and creative nonfiction author. She writes articles on many niche hobbies and obscure curiosities, pretty much whatever tickles her fancy.
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