It’s one thing to talk about being honest with other people, but at the end of the day, the most honest we can be is with ourselves!
You might be thinking, “but how is it possible to lie to yourself?!”
And if you’re someone who does it, you know it’s true.
Being honest with yourself is about acknowledging where you’ve gone wrong, your flaws, your mistakes, and basically not deluding yourself into thinking things that aren’t true.
But when it comes to learning how to be honest with yourself, we have to get clear on what that means before we can fully embrace it.
Learning how to be more honest with yourself isn’t about negative self-talk, telling yourself you can’t do it, or anything like that.
It’s about holding yourself accountable, getting in touch with your true emotions, discovering your authentic self, and being brave enough to face them rather than squash them down.
Here’s how to be honest to yourself, spoken by someone who had to learn the hard way.
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1. Let Go of the Fear
When it comes to learning how to be brutally honest with yourself, you first have to figure out what’s holding you back.
For me, I went a long time living a life that I absolutely did not want in terms of my job and how my overall life and social activities were structured.
But I kept carrying on, because I was afraid of messing up the status quo.
If I was honest with myself about not being happy, what would be the implications?
I’d need to change things, but that was scary.
Sitting in my own misery was about all I could do out of fear for making any drastic chances, and so I let it drive me to the point where I could barely show up to work without crying.
When we fear things like that or hurting people or making changes, the person we’re ultimately hurting the most is ourselves.
Take a deep breath and understand that life on the other side of being honest with yourself is a huge relief, even if it feels terrifying right now.
2. Keep Track by Writing it Down
If you want to learn how to be truthful to yourself, sometimes you need to keep yourself accountable by writing things down.
I don’t just mean being honest with yourself about your feelings either.
A lot of people find it difficult to be honest with themselves about how much work they have or haven’t done, or how much time something will take them.
I know people who consistently think it takes them half the amount of time to do something as it did, but if they were just honest with themselves by keeping track during previous times when they did the task, they’d be living in reality rather than their dream world!
If you have a big goal you’re working towards, write down what you’ve accomplished on your to-do list and make yourself own up to it.
It might say what you’re expecting, or it might be like, “oh, shoot, I didn’t do nearly as much as I thought!”
Use a bullet journal like this one to have some fun while you’re staying organized and motivated.
3. Do a “Gut” Check
Sometimes, you need to do a “gut” check which tries to eliminate all of the parts of your brain that want to lie to yourself.
The way I do this is, for example, by telling myself both outcomes and see how I instantly react.
For instance, if I’m trying to be honest with myself in a relationship and wondering if I should end it or not, I would first tell myself that I’m staying with him.
Then, check yourself.
What are you feeling, truly?
Then, tell yourself that you’re leaving him.
How do the feelings differ?
Do you feel relief?
Do you feel sad?
You can do this with so many things and choices you need to make, because you will have a gut response that you will learn to identify – it’s the feeling that kicks in before your thoughts do.
In my example, if you had told me that I was quitting my job and changing up a lot of things about my life, I would have instantly felt relief, but then I would immediately talk myself out of it by saying I didn’t really want that because of all the things I was scared of.
But that relief spoke volumes, and I should have listened to it.
To trust your gut, you will need to practice being honest with yourself, but a good way to do this is to tell yourself when you’re learning that you won’t necessarily make a decision based on your gut, but rather get better at identifying what it feels.
That will help you be more honest because you won’t have any repercussions to figuring out what it says.
4. Spend Some Time By Yourself
How can we be honest with ourselves when we spend almost all of our time surrounded by other people, whether at work or school or home, and in our free time, we sit on social media platforms and engage with even more people?
You can start to lose yourself and it becomes easier to be dishonest with yourself about what you think because you don’t have a moment to think for yourself.
Whether you go on a weekend retreat or just head to the park or go for a walk by yourself or quit social media, retreat into yourself a little to try and get more comfortable with listening to your own inner voice.
It can be so easy to be swayed by what other people think and say, and learning how to quiet the other voices can help yours become louder.
This self-love workbook is a fantastic way of realigning your own thoughts and outlook on yourself, which is important to do before you can really deal with anyone else’s feelings or thoughts about you.
Believe it or not, talking to an objective person is a great way to learn how to be more honest with yourself.
When you know there is no judgment coming from them, just support, you can hone in on what you’re really feeling and play around with being more truthful about what you think or where you want your life to go.
You can see a therapist in person or you could try something like TalkSpace which is a virtual therapy service with certified counselors.
It’s a safe space to practice before going back into the “real world,” and I have found it incredibly useful in gaining that clarity and not being afraid to be honest about what I really want.
At the end of the day, they’re there to help you be more honest with yourself, and to act as kind of a mirror or a sounding board.
Take advantage of the chance!