The uncomfortable truths we should be telling ourselves every day
Life can be rough sometimes, but it only gets rougher when we stop being real.
by: E.B. Johnson
It can be tough to grow and find genuine inspiration in a world that seems so superficial at times. Today’s trends are all about stroking the ego and reinforcing our preexisting notions; delivered to us through a sea of click-bait virals and memes.
We try to find our niche in this strange new world, but it can be hard when we don’t know who we are or what direction we’re heading in. By reminding ourselves of some uncomfortable home truths, however, we can find our way back to path of enlightenment.
Why we lie to ourselves.
Last week, I discussed all the ways we lie to ourselves and keep ourselves stunted and miserable. We lie to ourselves about anything and everything; big lies, small lies, white lies, dirty lies. We, as a species, love lying. We just can’t help it.
Everyone has a bit of denial in them or is a bit delusional about something. Lies are false beliefs, often motivated by our insecurities or feelings of inadequacy. We build castles on these shifting, mountainous sands, and when we do so we damage not only our own mental and emotional wellbeing, we also can damage our relationships and isolate ourselves from the people that matter most.
When we lie to ourselves, we’re attempting to protect ourselves from a reality that might be a little more uncomfortable than we’d like. This lying relieves us of any responsibility and allows us to shift the blame from our own poor choices to the choices and behaviors of others.
Lying to ourselves is lazy and allows us to take a backseat when life gets tough. Rather than accepting a call to action, we allow ourselves to take the back seat to our lies; developing beliefs and attitudes that handicap our growth.
Happiness is hard to come by, but it’s even more rare when you’re searching for it in a forest of lies. To get to the root of your truth and unlock the power of your potential, you have to start thinking big and you have to start getting uncomfortable.
The Uncomfortable Truths About Life & Love We Should Be Reminding Ourselves of Every Day
Being uncomfortable and facing new realities is one of the greatest ways to grow and develop the person we are on the inside.
If you truly want to grow and remove those stumbling blocks that leave you scrabbling in the dark, then you need to seek out the things that make you uncomfortable and challenge the perspectives you’ve formed on false beliefs.
1. Accepting the things you can’t change is the only way forward.
If you’re looking to cultivate happiness in your life the first thing you need to learn is acceptance.
Life is brutal and it only seems to get more difficult as time goes on. Things don’t always turn out fair and even when they do, they aren’t necessarily how we wanted them. In order to find any peace in any such situation you have to learn how to accept those things, and move on from them with as much grace as you can muster.
You have to learn to accept the situations in your life as they are and you have to learn to accept the people in your life as they are — yourself included. Total acceptance as hard, and it doesn’t always feel nice, but it’s the only way to find true happiness and a state of total zen.
Rather than focusing on things being the way we want to be, face things (and people) as they are. The truth hurts, but it equals results.
2. Embrace change as a friend rather than an enemy.
As humans we fear change in any form it takes. We threaten riots over coffee cups and can’t stand it when our favorite midnight binger disappears off of Netflix. We’re a species that likes things as they are and we tell ourselves that change is bad. The problem with that, of course, is that it’s a lie.
Change is great and learning to embrace it is key. Rather than viewing change as an enemy to be avoided at all costs, face it with a brave face and embrace it with open arms.
Every living thing on this planet has been made better by change in some way, and it is change that allows evolution to constantly make improvements to all the beautiful flora and fauna of this planet (our species included). Everything on our planet is in a constant state of change, and denying it as anything else is foolishness.
Consider all the things in our lives that have been made better by change: music, food, medicine, science. There is no aspect of our lives that hasn’t been made better by change, so clinging to the past is to cling to less than we deserve.
Let go of the things that have already happened and look forward to the future happily and expectantly. The change bus is moving whether you want it to or not, so you might as well look forward to the change in scenery.
3. Understand that everyone gets disappointed and you will too.
Most of the unhappiness that we experience in our lifetime occurs when things happen contrary to how we expect them to. We build up situations and experiences in our imagination and get let down when things fall through. We tell ourselves that things should occur as we want them to and we base our worth on variables we can’t control.
Letdown is serious and it can wreck our self-confidence. The sooner you realize that everyone experiences disappointment (you included) — the happier you’ll be. Life never happens like you want it to, so stop expecting things to be a certain way.
4. Whatever sense of “control” you think you have is an illusion.
One of the more uncomfortable truths we have to face is that we actually have zero control over the things we like to think we do.
The longer you live under the illusion that everything in your life is under your control, the greater your unhappiness will be and the greater your disappointment when things go wrong.
It’s a brutal truth to embrace, but the fact of the matter is that most of the things we do in life are dependent on more than just ourselves. Our control is limited and — in many circumstances — is nearly non-existent, despite what we may tell ourselves.
Shine a light on the reality around you and understand that there’s always something or someone that’s pulling the strings behind the scene. Take a deep breath and accept that things are actually out of your hands. Do the best you can with what you’ve got and embrace whatever comes next.
5. Life is a mostly lonely experience.
Even those of us that are lucky enough to have a relatively happy and fulfilling relationship often get lonely. Why? If we’ve found love, shouldn’t we be happy and content and feeling chipper all the time?
Life is a lonely road, even if you have a companion to keep you company. From the time we take our first breath, to the time we close our eyes for the final time, we experience our lives completely alone, no matter how many beautiful souls we might be surrounded with.
You are the only one who will ever stand behind your eyes and feel the things you feel, and until you realize that you feel as though you are the loneliest person in the universe.
Accept that times are going to come when you’re going to feel completely alone. Embrace the solitude and learn how to revel in it, using it to get to know the hurt or wounded child that might still be hiding inside of you.
Until you learn to embrace the solitude experience of life, you’ll forever find yourself searching for someone or something to make you feel not-so-alone. Embrace the loneliness instead and realize that — like everything else — it’s a temporary feeling that will come and go with time.
6. Love isn’t what it looks like in the movies.
We were all raised on the Hollywood ideal of love; a romantic love-storm of an affair, followed by a confession in the rain and a happily ever after. In our minds, love is big and sweeping and grandiose.
Love is anything and everything; it’s the center of everything we do. We want to love and be loved. We’re obsessed with love as children and we’re obsessed with it as adults. We’re absolutely obsessed with this idea of love.
We’re also absolutely delusional.
Love is nothing like the over-the-top affairs we’re shown on the silver screen. While love can most definitely be a warm cocoon of emotion that sweeps you off your feet, it’s far more brutal than that. As anyone who has ever really been in love can tell you: there’s way more nitty gritty to it.
Being in love is an experience that is both brutal and cruel. It lures us out of the safety of our carefully constructed bubbles and leads us into new world, situations and behaviors we may never have imagined. Love is the single most binding force two humans can share on this planet, but it’s also a complex one that comes with many fluctuations, so understanding the reality of it is critical.
No matter how good any relationship might be, it comes with pain. Even if you manage to live together for a hundred years without having a single fight, in the end, one of you will watch the other one fade away and your heart will shatter into a thousand pieces.
To be in love is also to be in pain and accepting that and embracing it is the key to ultimate happiness and release. Being in love leaves our souls naked and exposed, but it also allows us to grow, by lending our true selves into the care of another who can see our world in a way that we cannot.
7. You’re not owed anything and you never were.
It’s a lot more convenient to believe that we’re “owed” something by others, rather than working for it instead. Our self-doubt and feelings of hopelessness can make us stumble and fall and when the going gets tough we can often look to others to dig us out.
You’ll often feel like you didn’t get what you deserved in life, but you have to realize that you’re not owed anything — by anyone.
It’s hard truth to swallow, but the fact of the matter is no one owes us anything. We are the ones responsible for getting what we want and we cannot depend on others to go out and get it for us.
8. Death is inevitable.
The idea of death might make you squirm but it’s an inevitable truth we all must face one day.
Death is the stripping away of the veil the separates us from everyone and everything else. It is the great equalizer and, through it, we can come to realize some grim truths that can make us view life in a more positive light.
Embracing the idea of death and cultivating an acceptance of the fact that you will one day die can help you to cultivate a zen acceptance in all the other facets of your life. When you consider the fact that, one day, everyone will cross that great divide, you can come to remember that not everything is worth stressing.
Rather than carrying a weight on your shoulders that burdens you into the future, accept that you time is finite and live it with your arms stretched open wide. Only when you learn to embrace death can you truly learn how to live.
Putting it all together…
Uncomfortable truths can be a powerful catalyst for change in our lives. By embracing reality, rather than shying away from it or building up delusional narratives around it, we can tap into our true potentials and transform ourselves and our lives.
Learn that the sense of control you have is an illusion and embrace the change and temporary nature of your life. Life is a mostly lonely experience, but by building relationships founded on strong connectedness we can plug into our life experiences in truly transformational ways. Understand that love isn’t like the movies and no one owes you anything. Embrace the disappointments and the obstacles and love them for the learning experiences that you are and you’ll find yourself happier and healthier in mind, body and spirit.
Life is hard, but it’s only made more difficult by living in a world of lies. Stop lying to yourself and start getting real. Embrace the uncomfortable realities of the future and have the courage to transform the person that you are from the inside out.