Honesty without Self-deception
Let’s talk about honesty. Not cash register honesty where you pay a certain amount and the cashier does not pocket your change. That’s the type of honesty that is intended to denote morality in choosing not to lie, cheat, or steal in any way. Let’s all be honest in that way on a regular basis. One should not choose to lie, cheat, or steal and expect to have a high level of assurance or a well-balanced life overall.
What I mean here is more so the kind of gut-level honesty that requires the loss of some self-deception. I mean the work it takes to dispel some of the lies in which we may indulge ourselves. There are things you might want to justify in your conduct or rationalize away somehow. Is there something coming into your consciousness now as you read this? What is it? Perhaps nothing is coming up for you right now. We may have to dig deeper.
I am not immune to this.
Let me not write to you from some spiritual hilltop because I do these things myself. Sometimes it’s simple and other times more complicated. It can come off as something I know that’s not in my best interest, such as an extra donut that I told myself I wouldn’t eat because I’m doing sweets in moderation. ‘To thine own self be true’ is not lost on me, but rationalization wins out sometimes. It won’t hurt me now and here’s why, I tell myself, followed by some resolve to work out later that day which I may or may not intend to do. This place is where the self-deception comes in. I would be much better off walking away or merely allowing myself the extra donut without the internal dialogue laden with dishonesty.
This example may or may not be a part of your story, but do you have things you wish you did not do? Do you try to justify your behavior as well?
The problem here is that my behavior goes against my integrity. Saying what you will do and then following through is integrity. It’s a very estimable act that gives you the kind of confidence that is needed to prosper. The first person you need to prove yourself to is yourself. If I choose to take actions that chip away at my integrity, then I lose a sense of self-respect.
Reality rules the day.
The idea that perception is reality is a half-truth in my opinion. My understanding, viewpoints, and opinions skew my reality. It is then through my interpretation of these things that I determine what’s true, but will it be the whole truth? Reality is reality should you choose to live in it or not; it still wins. Reporters like to ask several people in the area for an eyewitness account of what happened because everyone has a different perspective. The people present tell various aspects of that same story, and even though they believe it to be the whole story, it probably isn’t. The reality is if I continue to eat a regular diet of donuts for breakfast, I will gain weight and the scale will tell me the whole truth whether or not I choose to accept it. I will still have to buy new clothes to fit the expansion of my waist or, better yet, my rationalizations. My perception may be that I’m doing fine, but my doctor and lab tests may say otherwise. If I’m honest with myself, I know what’s really going on. I can’t hide from me because everywhere I go, there I am.
Why it matters
These things can be difficult to face because we tend to be attached to the old tales we tell ourselves so much so that they tend to become limiting beliefs. I know it’s tough, but the results of living life without self-deception are worth it. It’s necessary if you want to have confidence in your words, and it builds trust within yourself. Trust that not only what you say is right because it’s the truth, but that your word is good and you’re reliable. So, press the dig deep button and ask yourself some questions. What are some of the things you tend to justify in your behavior? Are there areas where you are not in full integrity? What does honesty without self-deception mean to you? What are you potentially trying to hide from yourself? Are you living in your truth? What are some areas that you would like to emulate others who you see living in their authenticity? Be sure not to take these questions to a place of shame, but instead start doing things different right now if you need to. Changing for the better is hard, but it is so worth it.
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