How to be honest with yourself

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We all tell ourselves stories. They explain our emotions. They give meaning to our lives. They tell us how to react to certain situations and give us patterns to fall back on when we’re not sure what to do. The question is: are you telling yourself the full story? Do your stories serve you? Are you able to be honest with yourself, or are you using your stories to cover up your true feelings?

You can have a relationship, a job and friends when you’re not being honest with yourself. But you can never find true fulfillment. To make your life a masterpiece, you need to learn how to be honest with yourself – so that you can go after what you really want.

Why being honest with yourself is essential

It’s possible to live a whole life without realizing that you aren’t being honest with yourself. That’s because most people aren’t in touch with their emotions. If you want to live life to the fullest, don’t be one of those people. Once you master your emotions, find your purpose and begin to live your vision, you’ll discover a conviction and fearlessness you never could have imagined.

The most passionate relationships are those between two people who are completely honest with themselves and with each other. The most fulfilling careers happen when we are in touch with what we really want out of life. When you learn to be honest with yourself, you gain self-esteem, compassion and an unshakeable belief in yourself.

Signs that you need to be honest with yourself

If something feels “off” in your life – your relationship is losing passion, you’re not excited about your career or you feel busy but not productive – you may need to learn how to be honest with yourself. Do any of these signs apply to you?

You self-sabotage

Do you say you want one thing, but then do something that’s the complete opposite? Many of us sabotage ourselves because we’re actually afraid of success. Our limiting beliefs tell us that we may lose respect, friendship or more if we gain success. Being honest with yourself means uncovering those beliefs, even if they’re painful.

You complain, but don’t take action

Do you constantly talk about hating your job, but don’t take any action to find a new one? Or love to complain about how there are no good men or women out there, but don’t bother trying to find new ways to meet people? It’s time to be honest with yourself: You enjoy the connection and attention you get from complaining, and haven’t truly made an effort to change your situation.

You don’t take criticism well

Do you become defensive whenever someone gives you feedback? If criticism feels like it hits too close to home, that’s probably because a part of you knows that it’s true. If you respond by getting defensive instead of looking within yourself, it could be a sign that you need to be honest with yourself.

How to be honest with yourself

Once you’ve identified that you need to be honest with yourself, it’s time to take action. This won’t be pleasant – it might even be painful. But it will open up a new world of possibility and happiness.

1. Be vulnerable

There is nothing more courageous than allowing yourself to be vulnerable. Absolute courage and vulnerability is one of the Five Disciplines of Love – and that includes self-love. Whether you’re working on a relationship with a significant other or your relationship with yourself, you’re going to have to open old wounds. Be willing to step into your pain so that you can face your fears head on.

2. Reflect on your decisions

Taking time out each day to reflect can not only help you be honest with yourself, but can make you feel more fulfilled and grateful. Try writing in a journal at the end of each day, answering questions like, what did I do right today? What can I do better tomorrow? How did my actions help me reach my ultimate goals – or prevent me from reaching them? When you write down your thoughts, it’s much harder to lie to yourself.

3. Picture your future

Learning how to be honest with yourself isn’t just about reflecting on your past. Dreaming of your ideal future can often provide more clarity on what you really want. When you are 90 years old and sitting in your rocking chair, what will be your biggest regret in life? What will give you the most fulfillment? When you frame your life this way, you begin to see what really matters to you.

4. Develop self-awareness

Have you ever told someone, “You know me better than I know myself”? It may be true. Others see things in us that we aren’t able to see, but if we’re willing to ask for outside opinions, we can become more self-aware. Tony says, “Self awareness is one of the rarest of human commodities.” When you become aware of your own patterns – when you know why you are the way you are – you can finally begin to be honest with yourself.

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