“Sanity is to be found in accurate honesty to oneself.” David Bain
I have no idea who David Bain is, but when I saw this quote I knew it captured exactly how I feel on this subject. I call it radical honesty because it’s extreme to most of us, but it’s the beginning of the road to sanity.
Being radically honest with ourselves and with others about ourselves is a practice many of us don’t engage in. I know I was a master of denial and of lying to myself and to others. It’s the kind of denial and lying that lead me to live a life out of alignment with my own true nature. I engaged in it for a long time in a relationship that I tried hard to convince myself I could live in. I behaved as if I didn’t need the things my heart called out to experience. I lied to everyone else, too, in an attempt to make it look like everything was great. I wanted their approval and to uphold a particular image of myself that would make me worthy in their eyes. For so long I was unwilling to face many hard truths about how I really felt and what I really wanted. It wasn’t just in my relationship either, it pervaded much of my life.
The consequences were very painful for me because the bottom line is it took me out of self love and made me a victim in my own eyes. I see that same pain in my clients now as they’ve disconnected themselves from their truth. There are so many ways in which we all do this. We pretend to be okay with a life we don’t really want, we cut parts of ourselves off for fear of the unknown, and we justify why it’s okay not to live out our heart’s longing. It could be a relationship we pretend to be happy in, a job we settle for, or a deep desire we have that has never come to fruition so we lie to ourselves that we can live without it. It can also be the truth of our hurt and sadness which we would rather skip over actually feeling and addressing.
Why do we do this? It’s simple: fear. Fear that we aren’t good enough, fear that there isn’t anything better out there, fear of the unknown, fear of hurting others, fear of change, fear of disapproval, fear of feeling. What is the result? Energetically speaking, we become almost dismembered as we cut off these parts of ourselves through dishonesty and denial. Our lives don’t work but we can’t figure out what the problem is because we’re so disconnected from our truth. We are stifling the truest expression of ourselves as we deny who we really are and how we truly feel.
For me, the first step in transformation really has to be the practice of radical honesty. When someone is talking to me about the discontent in their lives, the confusion they’re experiencing, the lack of direction, or the story of drama that never ends, I know there is something they are not admitting. I know it will involve asking some tough questions and their readiness to change is evident in their willingness to finally be honest. I see that when they finally tell the truth to themselves and to me, as their witness, they are relieved and lightened. Once they’ve told the truth, we can get on with the business of healing. How can you address the real cause of the state of your life when you’re in denial about it? I know when I got real with myself things began to open up, allowing me to heal and make the shifts needed to create real change. I practice it regularly anytime I feel that uneasiness within, so that I can get to the heart of the matter.
When we get really radically honest with ourselves, we start finding that we have a lot of unfinished business in the way of resentments, unfulfilled dreams/desires, unhealed wounds, guilt, or anger. It’s usually a case of denying ourselves in order to fulfill some unspoken agreement we’ve made to be good, win someone’s approval, or uphold an image we’ve created. A lot of our energy is engaged in denying those feelings and desires and when we begin the practice of radical honesty, we let go of the resistance which frees up this trapped emotional, mental, and spiritual energy. We finally let out that which is crying for freedom inside of us. It is the beginning of a process that holds the possibility of a life fully expressed in authenticity, integrity, and greatness.
I encourage you to consider where you may need to practice radical honesty with yourself. Tell yourself the truth about those things you’ve been denying and see if it doesn’t open the door to more possibility and greater vision. We are meant to fulfill our dreams and we are meant to experience deep joy and peace. This is the natural state of things that we have been trained out of by our unnatural habits and responses to life. So, give up the resistance and tell yourself the truth. If you’re feeling particularly courageous, tell someone else your truth. Admit your deepest dreams and desires, admit your fears, admit your true feelings about the situation you’re in, admit the hurt and the sadness. Free yourself!