Being Honest With Yourself
In my frustration, I told my husband. “I do not know what is wrong with this food plan. I guess I will just buy bigger clothes.” I then laughed at my logic immediately, realizing I was blaming a reliable healthy eating plan for my weight. He knew I was low on energy from the extra pounds, and also had an answer. “Give yourself a break. You just stopped nursing a baby, maybe that is the reason.” I could not believe I forgot about that factor. When I nursed, I had to eat more for the baby. Now, I needed to go back to an amount of food for just me. I think rather than forgetting about this, I was just avoiding the truth. It was more convenient for me to ignore any possible responsibility on my part to prevent having to change what I was doing. Change. Uncomfortable, yet freeing. I grumbled a bit, consoled myself, and then made the change.
Losing the weight was worth the adjustment. I chose to be healthy, and I had to be honest to get there.
When you are not honest with yourself, something just does not feel right. You may feel disconnected, frustrated, or apathetic, and you are not sure why. Maybe you avoid being honest about little things, hide from the reality of important matters, or maybe you even avoid the truth when your life depends on it. You may feel like you are just trying to get by, and wonder when life will be fun again. Inside you feel one way, but you ignore it, rationalize it away, or avoid accepting the truth. Figure out what is driving you to deny what is, get honest with yourself, and change your life today.
Here are four reasons we avoid being honest:
1. We resist being honest with ourselves because it hurts and seems overwhelming. These create defining moments when we must decide to conquer fear and trust God for strength to push through the pain and achieve the honesty we need.
When my eating disorder was draining me of strength and hope, I had to get honest with myself despite how painful or difficult it was to face my circumstances. Psalms 51:6 says “You desire truth in the innermost being, and in the hidden part you will make me know wisdom.” and John 8:32 says “You will know the truth and the truth will make you free.” (NASB version of the Bible). I faced the truth and dealt with the pain of my past rather than continue to stuff it down and pretend it did not exist. I moved on, determined to succeed and to be defined by only the positive events in life. Now, I am 15 years free of that hold, and God reminds me to take care of myself as best I can. Now I live to be real, and to have what I feel be in line with my actions. If I have a chip on my shoulder about something, I deal with it, because that is a part of being honest. I need to be honest in both big and little things, no matter what.
When we are hurt, we naturally avoid dealing with the pain. Our bodies react to pain by sending a message to the nerve receptors to “numb out”. Eventually they adapt and we sense the pain, signaling it is time to fix the wound. We act this way emotionally too. We initially want to deny trauma or other events occur, but to grow and thrive, we need to face the pain at the right time and with the right help. Sometimes there are deep wounds that need healing. I have fought this battle, and no longer allow this pain to rule my life. It took time to process through, to understand I was not to blame, and to heal, but I did it, and you can too, whatever your hurt. A deeper cut needs more attention than a superficial scrape. Attend to your wounds. Be honest about where you are and move past your past.
2. We avoid the truth when we are embarrassed or ashamed of our mistakes, or misfortunes, and would rather pretend they do not exist. Without getting honest and taking responsibility for our goofs, whether tragic or just slightly embarrassing, we can allow even one event to steer our life off course. Big or small, we still need to face our circumstances.
One time in college I fell for a scam phone call that promised a free trip for just a nominal “shipping” fee. I delivered my money, with the promise my prize would arrive in the mail. When I later realized my mistake, I was so embarrassed. I was supposed to be smarter than that! I was convinced by the idea of something for nothing, and I allowed myself to see only what I wanted to see. It could have cost me my entire checking account balance, but I swallowed my pride and went to the bank. I stopped payment on the check in time, and the bank said I was lucky it was not too late, because this scam robbed so many of so much. I saw the looks of the bank officials as they saw another young lady duped. I almost did not go to the bank. I rationalized why I should not worry about it and that it was too late anyway, but I felt God tugging at my spirit and my conscious would not stop bothering me until I acted. I am so glad I did fix it, embarrassment and all. In this trivial life lesson, I learned to be more guarded with my trust.
3. We resist being honest because of what the truth says about us, and the fear it changes who we are. You are not your fears, but you define yourself by them when you give in to the lies trying to beat you down. Are you replaying an event over and over again in your mind? Stop it. Process the pain yourself, or go to a friend or counselor to get it out, but find a way to move on. If you are stuck in a loop you will keep going around in circles and miss the beauty of the terrain up ahead. Get back on track for your life journey.
When you think about who you are, if you find yourself too harsh, maybe you are not being honest with yourself about your abilities, your inner strength, and your endearing qualities. Do you treat yourself like dirt? Stop it. You are valuable, and you have something to offer the world. Find out who you are, be proud of your skills, and hold your head high. Being honest is not just about the challenges. You need to be honest about your strengths, too!
4. We resist being honest because it means we have to change, and with change comes sacrifice.
There is always a fix. Many times things will not be as they were, but there are often actions you can take, and things you can do to change the effects of an action, to forgive, to restore yourself, to heal. Find a way to be more honest and embrace the change it brings.
Be honest with your finances. Are you really cutting back when needed, or are you just stressed because you do not want to change the lifestyle you desire? Finances strain relationships, and how you spend your money shows what you value. Be honest with yourself and be aware of your choices.
Be honest with your relationships. Are you treating others right, and are you treated right? Where there is pain, get healing. Where there is tension, fight your way back to peace. Start by investing your time.
Be honest about your habits. Are you managing stress or robbing your life of precious years with self-destruction? Are you acting on life as it comes, responding to change, and adapting to accomplish your goals? Get honest, get hope, and change today. You can do it!
Be honest about your priorities. Your life affects others. You have something to offer, so seize it and work for it every day. Do your actions reflect your true priorities, or are you aimlessly wandering through life? Are you blaming others or your past for your inaction today? Get focused, get ready, and take action today.
Ginny’s courage fighting her illness taught me to look for the positive despite good or bad times, to fight for what is important, and to be honest with myself. Being honest is rewarding, healing, and energizing. Think of a time when you were honest with yourself and faced the difficult or uncomfortable. How can you be more honest with yourself now? Create a better you today. You can do it!