Honesty

The most important and the most challenging lesson of my life has been honesty. And this is one that never ends, as it can be explored in so many different ways.

By honesty I do not mean to blurt out whatever garbage the mind can come up with about others. It is not about daring to say 'You're an asshole!' That's only opinion, which is very different. It's definitely not about being right, for manipulation often proclaims itself to be honesty. To me, honesty is about becoming transparent to the world by means of first becoming transparent to oneself; of taking ownership of everything that one's person carries. Without vulnerability and humility there can be no real honesty, for it is about exposing oneself - of exposing one's game.

Honesty means to not appear better than we are, to not pretend, to not hide behind niceties, and not find excuses about what is being felt. It is to come face to face with life and the inner responses to it.

I had a brutally honest girlfriend at one point, one who would tell me every time she felt I wasn't being honest with her. I would mostly defend myself, get angry and upset, and deny it again and again. For at the time, not knowing myself very well, the thought in my head said that I was being honest, and I still couldn't see the difference between who I wanted to be and who I actually was in these different situations. The one I wasn't truly honest to was myself, and so my surroundings and my relations kept challenging me and pushing me around, stepping on all the sore toes I didn't want to have and deal with. For we can never escape what we run away from.

It was only afterwards, through these deeply humbling experiences, that I was learning that, true, I wasn't admitting that I was feeling anger, that I was jealous, that I judged her, that I was feeling superior, that my heart was closed, that I really didn't care about some thing that was important to her. Part of the time these were outright lies as I was ASHAMED of what I was feeling. It didn't fit the ideal I had for myself and who someone like me was supposed to be. And partly I still hadn't explored the dark spaces in me and learned to interpret my emotions and the constant shifts in my energies. In psychology this is sometimes referred to as 'the shadow' - the part of us that we deny and push back into the deep of the subconscious.

The more I became interested in how dishonest I was about my needs, my desires, my fears and so on, the more I realised that I myself had screwed up all human relations I had had in my life by not being myself completely, not being transparent and available. And that needed to start with becoming transparent to myself. And that is the journey.

Why is honesty so incredibly difficult? Why do we lie to one another and to ourselves all the time? Why do we trick everyone by making claims that are at best only half of the truth?

It is because being honest means to have no security. When we break down the facade we build up towards the world so others will think we are perfect, happy, well-adjusted, politically correct, smart and lead a life others should be envious of, we loose control. We think that by constantly manipulating the image others have of us and telling a story about our self that only contains the pretty stuff, that others will like us more, and perhaps it will be true in the end if I hide away that which I dislike and then I'll be really happy. I'm a constant one-person marketing agency for this child that I am, and my dreams for myself and all my subjective beliefs about the world that I'm convinced are true, for it's who I want to be. 'Hello world, this is my identity!' When was the last time we heard ourselves (or anyone else) say 'Yeah, I used to believe that, but life showed me otherwise... I was wrong and screwed up"? It takes incredible maturity to do something as simple as admit to faults and mistakes in a truly honest way.

When was the last time we heard ourselves say 'I wasn't being honest, I was just trying to get my way by emotional blackmail and manipulation...' When we hear that it's time to pat oneself on the back!

Being transparent is scary as hell. There is nowhere to hide and anyone could always point out something negative that they know about me. But it stops being scary when the mechanism that wants to be perfect begins to fade. It doesn't hurt so much anymore when being fallible is completely normal and nothing to worry about. When there is no image or facade to defend, there is a tremendous relaxation taking place in the being, and only then does one understand the madness of keeping up appearances.

And best of all, when honesty grows on the inside and we know ourselves better and better, it seeps out into the surroundings. We begin to express what we actually need, what we actually feel, what we are afraid of, what limits us, our most challenging struggles and human ugliness... for we know that lying about it leads to having to live up to it. And so hypocrisy is born. And who can truly live up to perfection?


Through honesty, we begin to see and directly experience that everyone prefers open people to closed people. Everyone prefers real people to pretenders and pretentious ones. For everyone can see themselves in those that stumble and struggle. We can relate to those that are human. We can't relate to something that doesn't exist outside the mind: the perfect ideal.


(25 August 2016)

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