As kids, we all get the same lesson: always tell the truth. We enter society, however, and quickly realize that honesty often has terms, conditions, and fine print. The topic of lying to others (whether of the Little White variety or otherwise) is back burner to a bigger question in my mind, though – why do we lie to ourselves?
Mahatma Gandhi tells us, “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” For that to be true, we have to be honest with ourselves on all levels, and be confident enough to carry that honesty throughout all we say and do.
When we get caught up in doing what we think we “have” to, we block our inner voice telling us what we really want and need. Society makes us feel obligated to do and be certain things, so because of that, how many people walk around closed off to their own emotions, too afraid to be honest with themselves? How many people have become zombies trudging through life just doing the status quo? It’s not always easy to follow the path that will make you the happiest, which is why many people tend not to do so.
As a society, I think we’re finding it harder and harder to be honest with ourselves, largely due to social media abstracting our views of ourselves and each other. We’ve become trained to view “real life” through the dishonest lens of a social media page, and are being rewired to think that happiness comes from being able to earn “likes”. We edit ourselves to the version we want others to see. But, at the end of the day, when the gadgets have been put away, there’s only one person you’ve got to be able to face in the mirror.
“Who am I?” is a deceptively simple and crucial question, because knowing what makes you “you” is the foundation for being honest with yourself in all other aspects. There’s so much social pressure to fit into the ridiculous little box of “What’s Acceptable” that it forces people to try to mask the truth, causing unhappiness. To really know yourself, you’ve got to toss the mask aside and start digging. When you’re being you, those who matter don’t mind, and those who mind don’t matter, as they say.
Wanting to please everyone and “keep up appearances”are two huge factors that lead us to being dishonest. You can’t focus on what you truly want if you’re too busy worrying about who you might upset by being true to yourself. Many people work hard to put up a façade to impress others, but really, what’s the point?! It never ends well!
Not surprisingly, money fuels the fire. At some point, it gets instilled in us that a high-paying job equals lots of money, which in turn (supposedly) equals happiness. Naturally, people feel they’ve got to do whatever it takes to chase and achieve that, even if it means lying to themselves in the process. Of course, if money were the solution to all of life’s problems, well, you wouldn’t see miserable celebrities and rich people.
You’ve got to be at peace with yourself and your life in order to be happy, no matter your income, and that peace comes with honesty. Making more money, driving a better car, or having a bigger house won’t fix things that are broken – thinking it will is being dishonest with yourself. Placing too much stock in material things is always a slippery slope! Constantly chasing the “latest, biggest, best” this or that is just another quick-fix attempt to generate happiness through objects. The key realization to make is that the most valuable things in life are the ones money cannot buy.
On the flip side, we’ve also got to be honest with ourselves about the things already in our lives. So many of us live putting up with some thing or person or circumstance (whatever it may be) that makes us some degree of miserable, because we think we have to. We’ve all probably got at least one – it could be anything from a crappy significant other to a toxic friend/family member to a hated job. But how many people ever weed through the muck and hone in on their true feelings, and are honest with themselves that this thing/person needs to go?
At some point, we’ve got to take stock, and start asking big questions: Who/what does/doesn’t make me happy? What do I most enjoy doing? What do I do because it makes me happy vs. what do I do because I feel obligated? What am I best at? What makes me feel fulfilled? What are my core values? What things in my life don’t make me happy, and need to change?
It may not be easy to start answering these questions, and at times might be a little uncomfortable to face what your inner voice has to say, but I can promise this – it’s worth it. You are worth it. Your happiness is worth it!
Over the last year, I’ve been working hard to be honest with myself and be in tune with what makes me happy or not. The more you listen, the more you’ll hear! I’ve gotten way better about trusting my gut, because those feelings rarely lie. Not surprisingly, I’ve found myself feeling happier by pursuing things that make me feel good about myself, while distancing myself from situations/people who don’t.
The key to all this, of course, is getting started. The person you should be most honest with is you, and only you can do that. What better time than the present?
Wishing you healthier, happier days!
Main Image Credit: quotefancy.com