Last night I voiced one of my most honest thoughts. It felt wrong to vocalize words dripping with anger and jealousy—two things I am ashamed to be associated with—but with a grainy cracked voice I decided to let it out, repeating my words a few times just to be thorough. And just as I suspected, it hurt. The words were ugly and muddled coming from my mouth, but the honesty rung like the clearest of bells.

Most of us would say we are honest. It’s one of those words we use on our resume: honest, trustworthy, hard-working. But are we truthful with ourselves? Perhaps this is something not normally thought about or discussed because we assume honesty is intuitive. After all, how could we be hiding something from ourselves?

When we are dishonest with ourselves, pain is the most likely culprit. Whether it is pain we have caused or pain that has been done to us, it begins with those little white lies. Sometimes thoughts are born unexpectedly in the mind, but they remain disconnected from the heart. We push them away as fast as they pop up, because they are too painful to take further.

Likewise, there are stirrings felt in our soul that are never fully processed in our brain. Sometimes the dark feels safer than the light—and so our heart and mind keep secrets from each other, protecting one another in tandem. Similar to a parent who explains death to a toddler by saying that their loved one has gone on a long trip, some realities are too hard for us to understand or explain.

So we tell ourselves we’ve forgiven, but continue to harbor destructive bitterness. We say it wasn’t a big deal, when really it was. We say we want this, when really we want that.

Eventually there is a choice we have to make. Our hearts and minds reach a fork in the road, so to speak. To the left we are free to be blissfully unaware of our true self; which usually looks like the easier road to travel. To the right is honesty; a place that frees us to admit failures, ugly thoughts, secret anger and devastating disappointment.

The latter road is unpredictable. You never know where you’ll land, but at least it’s an honest place. Want to start being honest with yourself? Start with asking yourself these questions, then turning the responses into action:

1. What would it feel like to be honest with myself?
2. What are areas in my life where I know I haven’t been honest?
3. What are some of the things I am using to hide my hurt?
4. Who in my life needs to hear the truth?

 

Photo credit: http://top-knot.tumblr.com/post/25966798839