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Be Honest With Yourself / CC BY 2.0

“Truth will out.” – Shakespeare

In order to change anything in our lives we have to start from where we are.  Where we are now may be pleasant or unpleasant, but making changes requires that we take action based on the truth.

Being honest with yourself about where you are right now is a valuable skill.  Temporary discomfort will give way to being on the road towards what you want, but you have to start from the truth.

We really dislike thinking negative things about ourselves.  Many times we will come up with excuses and justifications and apologies for why we are where we are.  But you don’t need to do any of these things.  You need to simply tell yourself the truth.

For instance, lets say that you are in a relationship that you don’t like or that is clearly not going well.  You can say to yourself, “this relationship is really terrible and I need to find a new one that is more fulfilling,” or you can try to tell yourself that you really do want to be in the relationship, that you just need to work on it a little harder.  But really, you just don’t want to start over with a new relationship.

In the first situation, by being honest with yourself, you are admitting that this relationship has failed.  And that’s OK.  It may take some work to recover from this relationship and work on starting a new one, but you are putting yourself on the right path.

On the other hand, making up excuses about how the relationship isn’t that bad keeps you walking along with the status quo – which is an unfilling relationship.  Maybe the thought of starting over bothers you or you are upset that this relationship has failed, but if you can’t be truthful about it, you keep yourself in a position of failure, instead of making positive changes to get what you want.

Saying to ourselves that we are somewhere we don’t want to be, means that along the way somewhere we have failed.  This can be difficult to admit.  But without the admission you are still failing, walking down the same road you have been on.  Saying that you’ve failed is actually the beginning of success.

We don’t always have to shout the truth about ourselves and our lives from the rooftops, but we must always be truthful with ourselves.  The truth is the starting point for all that we want in life, it’s the fertile soil of all possibility.

Hanging on to what we wish would happen instead of what actually is keeps us stagnant.  Start from the truth and your actions will be powerful and grounded in reality, and therefore potent.  If you want your life to be as you want it, be honest with yourself and connect your actions to that truth.   Don’t be afraid of what actually is.

How can you become more honest with yourself?  Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments!

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  1. Even a small amount of honest investigation into these ideas reveals the profound truth: We get what we ask for in life, and quite often what we claim we want and what we actually devise are very different.

    People often whine and moan about poor finances, bad health, and unfulfilling lives. And the very same people waste their money on nonsense as soon as it clears their bank, continue to eat toxic foods, or spend most of their time watching prime time television and working a job they absolutely loathe.

    If there is an area in your life that you are unsatisfied with, and you often pay lip service to the idea of making change, take a moment to consider the truth. Are you really doing anything at all to create or allow change?
    .-= Shamelle- EnhanceLife´s last blog ..Waiting Time Doesn’t Have To Be Wasted Time! =-.

  2. Amanda, I am a huge proponent of being HONEST with oneself… you
    said, we don’t have to tell everyone but we can never trick ourselves, or for very long.
    Wonderful post 😀
    .-= Eden´s last blog ..Summer 09 Mosaic =-.

  3. I believe another useful skill is to be able to distinguish within yourself when ‘you’ are actively thinking compared to when your brain is running on it’s own (which usually results in nothing new).

  4. Saying you have failed is the beginnig of success.

    People stay in relationships, sometimes violent way too long. This is a well needed post.
    Keep doing good Amanda!
    .-= Tess The Bold Life´s last blog ..Do You Dare Be More Loving? =-.

  5. Amanda Linehan Amanda Linehan

    Hi Shamelle – The truth is quite often painful, but in the end, it’s more painful not to know the truth. 🙂

    Hi Eden – Yes, we are not so easily fooled!

    Hi Jarrod – Interesting distinction between our “self” and our brain. They are not one in the same!

    Hi Tess – Thanks!

  6. Thanks for this. I know that, if I’m feeling afraid for instance, the fear actually starts to dissolve when I can admit to myself (and even to others) that I’m anxious, rather than resisting and keeping that energy stuck where it is.

  7. Being honest with oneself also means taking responsibility for ones acts.
    Knowing thy self is about having a deep self realization of who you are an individual and keep your self in tact in such a way!
    Great post!
    .-= jonathanfigaro´s last blog ..Top 10 Quotes to Improve Mind Instantly =-.

  8. Amanda Linehan Amanda Linehan

    Hi Chris – I’ve had similar experiences. If I try to block my emotions – they get stronger. But, if I simply feel them – they start to dissipate.

    Hi Jonathan – Absolutely! If you won’t be responsible for yourself you can never create change.

  9. Hello Amanda,

    Another way to look at “failures” in life is to view them as “results”. You work your plan that you have for achieving and review your progress, or look at the results you have from the actions you have been taking. If those results do not align with your ultimate goal, then modify your plan and go at it again! 🙂

    A very good article Amanda!
    .-= Keith´s last blog ..Stay The Course! =-.

  10. What a great post, Amanda! I truly believe that being honest with ourselves is one of the most important things we can do. It’s also one of the hardest sometimes. Looking for truth in everything though is the best way to live life, even if it’s hard at times. Thanks for sharing your insights on this topic. It’s SO important!!
    .-= Positively Present´s last blog ..a positive present just for you =-.

  11. Amanda, you got me thinking about what I do. What I do most often is ask myself am I happy? Answering this truthfully leads me to what I can do to make things better or what is it that I am not comfortable with in my life.
    .-= Avani Mehta´s last blog ..Enrich Your Life – Part 1 =-.

  12. Amanda Linehan Amanda Linehan

    Hi Keith – That’s a great way to view failure in a bit different light. Thanks. 🙂

    Hi Dani – It is difficult! Probably why it’s so worthwhile to do.

    Hi Avani – Great idea for getting at the root of your problems. With only one question!

  13. Amanda Linehan Amanda Linehan

    Hi Jonathan – Haha, definitely trial and error. 🙂

  14. Amanda: As I think I said on Twitter, this post couldn’t be more timely and right on. I’m beginning to think that honesty with oneself is one of the first steps to recovery — it’s that self-awareness, admitting your flaws and weaknesses in order to become better and stronger, in order to correct the things that need correcting. Honesty makes you vulnerable, but I think it also offers you strength and motivation to change, as you suggest.

    This is such a great post, and one that I will have bookmarked for the reminder of what it means to be honest and how that alone can change the way you think of yourself and your circumstances. Thanks!
    .-= Susan Pogorzelski´s last blog ..Let Your Troubles Fall Behind You =-.

  15. Amanda Linehan Amanda Linehan

    Hi Susan – Honesty does make you vulnerable. But, paradoxically, being vulnerable, even with yourself, requires a lot of strength and courage. 🙂

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