Over the past 15 years of working on my own personal development, I have come to realise that the main key to resolving the majority of my anxieties from change is by mastering the practice of self-honesty.
When I tune into my own self-talk, listen to my clients and the people around me there is one thing that really stands out. The language being used.
When we are struggling to come to terms with something difficult, different or a big change it’s easy to go into defence mode and place ourselves as the victim. It’s easy to blame others, point the finger and make excuses. To make you feel a little bit better about the situation, for a while at least but it’s not the language or behaviour of someone practising self-honesty.
Where are you with your own self-honesty?
Where are you on the scale of self-honesty with 0 being nowhere near and 10 being totally self-honesty?
Why is self-honesty so important?
Being self-honest is about listening to what your head and heart are chattering about. Most of the time we are working on automatic pilot unless, of course, we take the time out to stop, and listen.
It’s a case of learning more about yourself. The more you learn about yourself the more understanding you will develop making you more aware of your behaviour.
I’m sure we have all had an argument with a loved one. You have pointed the finger and blamed them for the upheaval and bad mood and starting the argument. It’s easily done because we feel threatened. We go into defence mode and retaliate. Resulting in a lot of cross words being blurted out, and you may say things you don’t really mean. Doors may be slammed, may be some stomping about the house and a bit of crockery may even be thrown on the floor.
In reality, where does this leave you and your relationship?
In my experience, a lot of tidying up of relationships and broken crockery. It’s amazing how far the crockery and the feelings spread.
It’s easy in hindsight when looking back on the situation how you should have dealt with it. However, these outbursts usually come at a time when you are under pressure, or in a state of anxiety. Your level-headedness will not have been engaged or under as much control as you had anticipated.
But that’s okay. This is now the time to put your hand on your heart and really reflect on:
- How you can learn from this.
- How to put it right.
- How to avoid it happening again.
How do you do this?
- Take a deep breath.
- Perhaps listen to some relaxing music.
- Get out into the fresh air.
- Give yourself a little breathing space so you can think things through more clearly.
- As you become calmer you will begin to have a more realistic view of what happened.
- Work out how you are going to start changing it.
- Then take action.
Our whole life, everything we do think and feel is revolved around communication. Communication within ourselves and with others, even the people we have fleeting encounters with.
Considering this, if it is your fault, you can put your hands up and say, “I’m sorry, it was my fault” and explain why you thought it was your fault. And then hopefully, that will open up a great discussion to be able to fix whatever needs fixing.
What’s the important thing to remember?
It’s human nature to defend ourselves to make ourselves feel right. However, insisting on saying you’re right when you’re wrong isn’t going to improve the situation. In fact, it’s going to deepen it because you are allowing yourself to embellish the story, you’re telling yourself. Giving yourself credibility to staying right.
- Step back from the situation
- Put your hand on your heart
- Ask yourself, what are the real issues here?
If you can be totally honest with yourself; if you can learn from the experiences of your thoughts and your feelings, then you’re in a better position to be able to do something about it.
Make things right.
What are the problems with being self-honesty?
The only trouble with self-honesty is it can be hard. It can be hard because you’ll have to delve deep into those thoughts and feelings you have been trying to hide from. It may bring you the heartache of reality. This heartache comes from having to admit that perhaps you were the problem, which can be very hard. It is far easier to point the finger and blame somebody else than hold your hand up, be accountable and say, “I’m sorry, it was my fault.”
If it’s an ongoing issue over a long period of time, you may feel that you’re the victim.
Long-term issues can carry an investment of a lot of emotional baggage, blaming everybody else for the way you have felt when in actual fact, you might have bred the thoughts, bred the feelings, and misinterpreted or manipulated other people’s words and actions to keep you in a place where you are right now.
Once you have started to practice the skill of self-honesty you are immediately putting yourself in a position of control. This control comes from:
- Being able to look deep within your thoughts and feelings.
- Honestly work out where the problems.
- Hold your hand up and say, “I’m sorry”.
- Or, hold your hand up and say, “I want things to be different”.
- Begin to take action so you can begin to start making positive changes.
The soon you begin to do this the sooner you will become an expert in communicating with yourself and other people.
In my recent TEDx Talk, “Children of Transgender Parents Need Support Too”, I talk about the 3 keys to managing a big change in your life. One of these keys is self-honesty.
The right choice for change might not be the easy option but the one that we have to learn to understand.
It’s important to practice self-honesty