There are so many quotes based on honesty and it feels great to have one of them plastered on the phone or laptop screen doesn’t it? It suddenly feels like you’re doing great and you forgive yourself for crossing out a task on the to-do list when you don’t really feel like doing it.
My struggle with honesty started right as I started having conversations, so that means a very young age. You would be surprised at all the details I can recall. I remember never wanting to admit a mistake to anyone, let alone myself. I lied about losing things at school, eating extra candy, being mean to others and so many other petty things. If I had been caught then and there, I’d probably be writing a very different post.
Forward 20 odd years later, I am policing myself, catching my lies and doling out appropriate punishment. Due credit for the transformation goes to my partner, best friend, and husband (they’re all the same person). He caught me in my first lie and up until then, I felt I was invincible. He asked my why I lied and I lied again saying I don’t know. I knew of course; the answer being it’s second nature to me. It’s how I (used to?) handle uncomfortable situations.
I’ll get to the pros of being honest in a couple of paragraphs, hopefully. If you need to know now, scroll away. If you’re still here, it’s the cons of lying I’ll throw some light on first.
One, it’s so fucking hard to keep track of all the lies. My nightmares would be made up of people I’ve lied to coming together and realising that I’ve been mouthing off nonsense to all of them. And that has definitely happened. Did I learn early on? No.
Two, it changes how you see yourself. At one point, I was full of myself and when I crumbled under the weight of the lies, it brought down my self-esteem as well. It felt like I lost purpose and it’s true because I thought to myself lying and pretending is something I’ve know so well.
Three, it’s addictive. And so much springs from that addiction. It did for me. I developed nervous habits at every age. I won’t mention all of them, but the worse ones have been stress eating, manipulating people, hair pulling, not eating, not sleeping and the worst I’ll send to some black hole for safekeeping. A remnant I still carry is talking too much when I find myself itching to lie. I’ll say anything to not lie, which in itself it quite suspicious behaviour.
Stop here if you’re here from three paragraphs ago, you’ve reached the silver lining. For the past ten years, I have been working on being honest, especially to myself. That’s the simple request my partner had for me. And it’s taken a long time to get to writing this post. I am confident with the fact that I am very honest with myself and there are few times when I am not. I do allow myself a few white lies for self-assurance in dark times.
Honesty is good for the mind, body and soul. That sounds grandiose, but I can vouch for it. It was a weight off my mind when I dumped the lies. I didn’t have to keep track of anything and I was participating better in general. My body felt a lot less tense because I wasn’t in flight mode all the time. My soul, or energy as I like to call it, felt more useful because I put it to use outside of myself. I built real relationships, including the one with myself.
Honesty teaches you to face yourself. It’s a good measure of your skills, preferences, boundaries and choices. Once you admit something to yourself, it becomes easier to stay by it. I’d change from conversation to conversation, and I effectively ran away from my true self. Parts of me are still a moment away from accepting themselves.
And it’s a wrap. I am in a much better place than when I started out a decade ago. Take it from me if you’re starting out: keep at it. Find someone to keep you accountable. Turn to yourself and be kind to yourself. Don’t just be hard on yourself, keep forgiveness at hand in case of emergencies. It’s a journey worth taking up 💜