- Real change can only come from honesty. Whether it was my finances, relationships, physical wellbeing, or mental health – it took a rather uncomfortable intervention between me, myself, and I, before any real change could happen. The honesty did not feel good – in fact it felt upsetting. But sometimes, kindness is the greater evil. Being kind to myself, rather than being honest, enabled me to keep making the wrong choices. The kind thing, especially according to our self-love obsessed society, often leads to nothing more than another day of the same exact life. Kindness is comforting, but nothing grows in the comfort zone.
- Honesty builds resilience, kindness fosters fragility. The honest statement of “that just was not good enough,” can hurt. But so can working out for thirty minutes when you haven’t exercised in months. The pain comes not from bad intentions, but from the reality of the situation. Although the kind thing may be to accept ourselves “just as we are,” the honest truth is there is a lot about us that is unacceptable. At least, there is a lot that is unacceptable if we are really serious about our dreams. If the goal is to live a comfortable life, with a predictable daily pattern, a set income, and a rinse-and-repeat lifestyle, then yeah, sure, self-acceptance is nice. But if the goal is to rise above one’s current circumstances, there should be at least one thing that is unacceptable. Kindness in the face of flaws fosters fragility, and a fragile ego cannot advance to the next level. Jesus said, “the truth will set you free,” and Gloria Steinem added, “but first it will piss you off.” Getting pissed off at the truth about your flaws is better for personal growth than saying “it’s okay, we’ll get it next time.” There is no next time. Each day is an opportunity to get closer to a goal, but overlooking personal flaws in the name of kindness is a failure to build the resilience necessary to succeed.
- Honesty makes goals more realistic. We’ve all been told, “You can do anything you set your mind to.” I beg to differ – if I set my mind to lifting 500 pounds right now, I will hurt myself. If I set my mind to writing the next great American novel tonight, I will hurt myself. Yes, I do believe we are capable of achieving amazing things – but I can’t pretend it’s possible through positive thinking alone. People need time, effort, and discipline to achieve goals. If I’m being honest, I will admit that I am deeply flawed. My weaknesses include laziness, lack of discipline, arrogance, and vanity. These are things that can hold me back from my goals, and they are the reasons I still haven’t reached my goals. Therefore, I must focus on minimizing the damage my weaknesses cause. I must not only acknowledge my flaws, but set goals with those inadequacies in mind. I don’t want to stop having big dreams, but I have to be realistic about my abilities in this present moment. Of course, within six months or a year, if I practice and put forth time and energy, I will be able to do more, and set a bigger goal. But convincing myself that I can go from zero to one hundred in a small amount of time, only sets me up for disappointment.
- There is a difference between honesty and cruelty. In a world obsessed with being kind to one another, honesty feels like a slap in the face. But honesty is not the same as cruelty. When I am abusing myself, or telling myself I will never succeed – that’s cruelty. When I am actively making choices that go against my inner Knowing – that’s cruelty. When I am making myself miserable over something I can’t change – that’s cruelty. But honesty is neither cruel nor kind; honesty is neutral. It simply is. Facts don’t have feelings. My ego and pride may be hurt if I lay out the truth about myself, but I am not my ego. Despite the discomfort of being honest, the realness is not meant to hurt my feelings. If honesty is mistaken for cruelty, then it will be avoided and shamed, rather than faced.
- Honesty leads to real self-love, while kindness leads to fake love. And fake love ain’t love at all. We talk so much these days about self-love, but what about self-honesty? What about being able to look in the mirror and say, “I know I struggle with discipline. I know I tend to overeat. I know I spend too much time on Instagram. What is one thing I can do today, flawed as I am, that will get me toward my goal?” Pretending to love, without practicing honesty, leads to a warped perception of self that is built on a false foundation. Self-love is without honesty is worthless, and time invested in it is wasted. I do believe in the power of self-love, but it can only come via self-honesty.
Thanks for reading, as always. Xo,