As a life coach, I can see daily that being honest with yourself is one of the most challenging things. Most of the people live under the spells of illusions about their capabilities and who they are, and this keeps them in a vicious circle.
Majority of the people don’t even know what being honest with yourself means and where to begin. I was one of those people about 8 years ago, I assumed that I knew who I was, but then slowly I started realizing that I built my life around behaviors (like not speaking up for myself) that I presumed others wanted to see. The thing with not being honest with yourself is that you don’t even realize that you keep yourself imprisoned with the tiny lies.
What does being honest with yourself mean?
Being honest with yourself means that you put down the pink or dark glasses coloring the perception of you. There are two ways how people live in self-denial about who they are. One is that they assume that they’re better than they actually are. Two is that they continuously devalue themselves.
a. You overvalue yourself
When you think that you’re better than you’re then you tend to brag about your skills, personality, or even possessions or appearance.
You assume that you’re better because you lack the real-life experience to back up your beliefs. For instance, you may promise your friend to help him fix something in his house, but you’ve never done it.
Of course, if you’re the kind of person who quickly learns new skills, then it’s not self-denial to think you can help. Maybe, you can watch a YouTube video, and with the commitment, you manage to finish the task. But if you merely live in your head and you assume that you can fix everything because you fear to admit that perhaps you don’t know, then you’re not honest with yourself.
The people who overvalue themselves fear to admit the truth to themselves and others. Quite likely, they were ridiculed or punished in the past when they didn’t know the answer or they failed at something important in front of the others.
People who brag about themselves fear to admit that they may not know or they’re not that successful or good. Thus they try to prevent a potential pain in the form of disappointment, punishment or ridicule.
Hence for the subconscious mind, it sounds like a smarter idea to create illusions about our abilities in order to prevent potential pain.
People devalue or overvalue themselves because they don’t test out their beliefs in reality. Rather they live in their heads and let their minds to create illusions about who they are.
b. You devalue yourself
On the other note, people tend to diminish their abilities. When you devalue yourself, you assume that you’re not good at something or you diminish your existing skills as “mere luck” or “not a big deal.”
If this is your case, then you struggle to receive compliments or praise even if it’s justified. You rather observe the life from the distance than fully plunge into the real world. It’s likely that you don’t trust others and want to sustain the safe distance from them. Once again, the motive is to prevent a potential pain.
I know that for spiritually oriented people it’s challenging to be in the spotlight from time to time. Moreover, if you’re an empath and you’re at the center of the attention, you may also receive not such positive energies of envy or jealousy. Thus it makes sense to play it safe.
Except that …
You can’t achieve greatness when you don’t accept the totality of you – with all the messiness, awesomeness, mistakes, successes, and the essence of you.
How to Start being honest with yourself
If you don’t accept yourself, there will be an unpleasant voice in your head telling you that you’re not good enough or that you don’t deserve to be happy because of a past mistake.
When you admit to yourself the truth about your feelings, desires, visions, thoughts, needs then there is nothing to stop you.
No one can hurt you because you take ownership of your life. You become the CEO of your mind, and you know that you can improve anything – but first, you need to know the set of the cards you were given.
Being honest with yourself is like knowing your starting point on a map. You know that you’re in Cairo in Egypt and you wish to go to Osaka, Japan. Now, you know that it’s possible because you know your reference point. You may fly to Dubai and jump on another plane to Osaka. Or might do a stopover in Seoul or Beijing.
But if you wish to fly to Osaka and you don’t know where you’re then you can jump on many wrong planes and forever missing your final destination.
The same principle applies to your life. Let’s say that you want to start own business and become a personal trainer. If you live in illusions about yourself, you may make one of these mistakes; you either oversell yourself, or you fear to promote your skills.
I can see it often that people start having a service-based business without having the real experience, they want results fast and spend big money on promoting but the quality of their services may not be so high because they didn’t take the time to hone their skills. Or they’re really good, but they fear to be visible and promote themselves.
In both scenarios, you get results later than you expected and it’ll be a struggle because you’ll not be sure which next steps to take. On the other hand, if you take time to assess your strength and weakness to see where exactly you stand, you may create a road-map to success.
Perhaps, you can teach your clients for free for some time to gain real-life experiences. Or if you already have them, maybe you need a clear marketing strategy and work on your mindset which is stopping you.
When you admit to yourself your position on the map of life, you know your next steps.
Being honest with yourself: the 15 questions to think about
Take a pen and paper (or open an MS document in your computer) and write down everything that comes to your mind without judgment. Remember that you answer as you feel and think about it now. Self-honesty is all about owning the present moment.
- In which life situations am I not satisfied?
- Why do I feel this way?
- What would I wish these situations to be instead?
- When do I feel at my best?
- Why do I not have more of these moments when the life flows as I wish?
- What is stopping me from achieving my dream?
- In which situations and with who do I feel powerless?
- What would be my top 30 list of dreams if I could do anything?
- Am I satisfied in all of my relationships? Is the giving and receiving balanced?
- If not, how would I want my relationships to evolve?
- What is my relationship to finances?
- What do I believe about myself?
- How do I honestly feel in my relationships, body, job, finances?
- What am I good at and I don’t give myself enough credit for?
- Where do I overvalue myself and pretend to be better or someone else than I believe to be?
I hope that these questions bring some clarity to you. As with anything in life, you get from life exactly what you invest in it. Thus the more honest you’re with yourself while replying, the bigger impact the new awareness will bring you.