Honesty is a huge part of self improvement and overcoming delusional thinking.
If we aren’t honest with ourselves then we can’t expect to learn and grow as individuals, because we aren’t willing to recognize reality for what it is.
When we are dishonest, we only choose to see what we want to see, but we ignore what we don’t want to see. This may provide short-term happiness or relief, but in the long-run it’s unhealthy and destructive.
Being honest with ourselves can sometimes be painful, but it’s a necessary component to long-term happiness and success in our lives. Here are key ways you can become more honest with yourself.
Acknowledge both the good and bad in your life
One common way we delude ourselves is by ignoring the “bad” aspects of our lives. Sometimes it’s easier to turn a blind eye to our problems rather than confront them face-to-face.
However, the truth is that ignoring problems in our life doesn’t fix them. It can even make things worse in the future – because when we aren’t honest about our problems they can grow out of control. Then what started out as a small problem can become a much bigger problem.
Be honest about both the good and bad in your life. A balanced view is a healthy and practical view.
Take time to reflect
Just take 5-10 minutes every night to reflect on your day. Ask yourself questions like, “How did things go today? What did I do right? What could I have done better?”
Be honest with yourself, but not too judgmental or critical. The goal isn’t to hurt your self-esteem, but to take the information of the day and use it to improve tomorrow.
Studies show that reflection plays a key role in learning and problem-solving. When we give ourselves time to analyze the events of our day, we can often walk away with greater knowledge and insight into how to improve ourselves.
Admit it when you make mistakes
One of the most painful things about being honest with ourselves is admitting when we make mistakes.
Often times we try to protect our egos by coming up with excuses or blaming others for our problems. However, true self-esteem can only be found when we are comfortable and honest about our mistakes and short-comings.
Only a person who admits their mistakes can learn from them and correct them. But someone who ignores their mistakes is setting themselves up to repeat them in the future.
Pay attention to your feelings
We all experience emotions, and they play an important role in how we understand our world and interact in it.
While emotions can be misleading, they can also be very revealing. When we ask ourselves the true causes behind our emotions, we can learn what thoughts, actions, and situations cause us to feel a certain way.
This knowledge gives us a better understanding of ourselves and how to respond to our emotions differently in the future.
Be straightforward – don’t over analyze
I believe self-analysis is an important and underestimated aspect of self-improvement. However, I also know that many people get carried away and over analyze themselves.
Being honest with yourself isn’t about trying to intellectualize or rationalize everything that happens to you. Just be straightforward and “matter of fact” with yourself.
You don’t need to make up some elaborate story about why some bad event happened to you. Just make note of how things are in the moment, and put your best foot forward. You don’t need to understand everything in the world, just enough to be sensible, practical, and realistic.
Know what you don’t know
A necessary part of honesty is being aware of our limitations. This includes recognizing our imperfect knowledge and understanding that we don’t know everything.
Being honest about what we don’t know keeps us humble and realistic. Often times when we assume we know everything we act in stubborn and irrational ways. We also ignore evidence that may contradict our current beliefs.
Understanding our limitations keeps us open to new information and knowledge. This also allows us to be more flexible with our beliefs and modify them when we learn something new.
Honesty takes practice
Honesty is something we need to practice on a daily basis. We don’t just become completely honest with ourselves overnight. It takes constant self-awareness and vigilance.
Being honest with ourselves can be painful but highly rewarding. When honesty meets our willingness to change, there is no telling the ways we can grow and improve.
Learn all the tools to daily growth in the digital guide The Science of Self Improvement.