How My Life Changed When I Stopped Lying to Myself and Others

Freedom comes only from radical honesty.

Dimitris Leo ⭐
Jun 30 · 7 min read
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Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

want to start this story by emphasizing this:

Lying is a cancer.

It is what makes us miserable, and keeps us that way. It is an aggressive form of cancer that grows exponentially. Lying creates false expectations. It requires you to act based on these expectations, which is exhausting. It requires extra brain processing to remember and cover your lies.

Lying makes you forget who you truly are, because if you pretend for years, you risk losing yourself.

In the process of understanding myself and forming a real identity, I started realizing how many times we lie to ourselves and the world.

We lie about our lives. We say we are ok when we are not. We want to conform to the expectations society has given us.


Omitting Information And Holding Back

“Honesty is the Highest Form of Intimacy”

We lie by omitting information. We think others will judge us, so we stop sharing.

This is a protection mechanism. We want to protect ourselves from embarrassment. We take ourselves too seriously.

But sharing is what forms connections with other people. Being open and authentic makes you relatable. People crave realness but are also afraid to show their unfiltered life to the people they meet.

I know it’s scary to open up, but trying to hide will give you more pain long-term.

When you are authentic with other people, you get a great sense of freedom. You stop wearing a mask. It was exhausting to try to reach my ridiculously high expectations that made me feel unable to open up.

I thought it was bad to show weakness to others. Now I know that by telling the truth, I empower myself. People respect you more when they see that you own your life. They see that you don’t care about your inadequacies.

This makes people feel relaxed around you. They can open up and share their insecurities without fear. And many people will start respecting and admiring you for your courage to be yourself.

Your relationships will be better, your self-esteem will get higher, and your mind will have less negative thoughts.

Remember, everyone you meet is struggling with similar problems as you are.


Filtering Yourself

“No Legacy Is So Rich As Honesty”

— William Shakespeare

I was also filtering my thoughts and discussion topics because I had been taught that being boring is the worst thing for a discussion.

That was a lie that I had accepted and had to work hard to discard. I was second-guessing myself when trying to discuss deeper topics.

I am a person who likes to dive deep and discuss ideas and philosophies. I don’t like to make small talk all the time.

But because of the fear of being boring, I tried to make my discussions more fun. And by trying, I ended up not enjoying them myself.

I wasn’t respecting myself enough to talk about topics that I enjoy. I had been taught a lie that was making my life worse.

The funny thing is most of the people out there get fascinated by the topics I like to talk about. I was sabotaging myself for years because of a lie that I had accepted as truth.


What is the truth today won’t be the truth tomorrow

We learn how to behave by adhering to the following rule:

“We want to avoid situations that have caused us pain in the past, and we want to place ourselves in situations that have caused us happiness.”

The problem is that what brings us happiness today won’t bring us happiness tomorrow. When we were babies, we learned that if we cried we would get food and affection. But if we follow a similar strategy in our adult relationships, we will end up alone.

Unfortunately, most people keep lying to themselves. They adhere to their philosophies and values even when they only bring them misery.

This is why it’s very important to re-evaluate our beliefs as we grow older.

Is that belief still the truth or has it become a lie? Does it help me or limit me?

Questions like these keep us honest with ourselves. They keep us open-minded to change.


Radical Honesty Will Help You Accept Yourself More

“Honesty is a very expensive gift. Don’t expect it from cheap people.”

— Warren Buffet

When we tell the truth about ourselves and stop hiding, we bring the real us back to life. We stop being consumed by the lies we are telling to others.

People start liking us for who we are. Friendships and relationships get more real. All this helps to accept yourself as you are.

Because the fear of not being good enough goes away only if you prove to yourself that you are good enough.

When you allow yourself to be more real, you can track the results. People are still your friends, people still love you, they still respect you. More often than not they like you more.

And this acts as proof to destroy any negative belief that you might have that you are not good enough.


How to Practice Radical Honesty

1. Observe yourself lying

The first step is to catch yourself lying. We lie so many times throughout a day, that most of them fly undetected.

2. Understand the negatives of lying

Most of our everyday lies are told to spare someone’s feelings. But in the process of sparing their feelings, we are doing them a disservice by being untruthful.

If we have a different opinion, we should feel obligated to share it. I would feel very bad if I could help someone, but didn’t because I was too scared to speak the truth.

Of course, you should only give your opinion when asked. No one likes unsolicited advice.

When they ask you, however, it’s your duty to answer truthfully. Stop sugar-coating the truth.

It might be awkward the first few times you try it, but it will get easier.

3. Be honest with yourself first

It’s very important to be truthful to yourself. Never hide behind excuses. Take control of your life by taking responsibility.

But please remember. Honesty doesn’t mean negativity.

Many people who try therapy think they have realistic beliefs, when actually they have negative self-talk that causes their problems.

Being honest with yourself means that you don’t point fingers at others for your inadequacies. It means that you don’t follow society’s rules without analyzing them first.

It can be scary to admit some truths to yourself, but the only way to unburden yourself is first to admin and then let go. Only when we admit the truth can we feel free.

Being honest allows you to love yourself more. It allows you to accept yourself more. Don’t try to use honesty as an excuse for being rude to yourself.

4. Take criticism graciously

If you are prepared to allow honesty in your life, you should expect the same from your friends. Don’t let your ego get in the way. Listen to what others say to you and be open to talk about it.

5. State your intentions

It’s always better if you tell people that you’re going to be completely honest. As a society, we have been conditioned to expect a white lie, so the truth can catch us by surprise.

So before telling your opinion, you can say something like “I’m trying to be completely honest, so here it is without sugar-coating.”

People will appreciate that you know you might have sounded harsh. It shows you have good communication skills.

6. There is a difference between being honest and being rude

Being radically honest doesn’t mean you get to be an asshole. If your wife asks if her dress is looking good on her, you can say “I think you can do better”. But if you say “You look ugly in that”, you are not honest, you are rude.

7. Don’t be scared of telling the truth

The truth — no pun intended — is that your fear of making the other person uncomfortable is worse than what actually happens.

Especially if you state your intentions, radical honesty will create better relationships with others, while making you feel “lighter” at the same time.

Conclusion

People are usually scared of radical honesty. We don’t want to hurt other people’s feelings, so we end up lying to them.

Unfortunately, all these lies make our relationships insincere. They make us anxious and full of negative thoughts.

By practicing radical honesty, we can unburden ourselves and build real, intimate relationships with the people in our lives.

It can be scary at times, but it’s the only way forward.


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Dimitris Leo ⭐

Written by

On a mission to make the world a kinder place. Writer on Self Acceptance, Compassion & Improvement, Mental Health, Psychology, Leadership, Fitness and more…

The Ascent

A community of storytellers documenting the journey to happiness & fulfillment. Join 120,000+ others making the climb on one of the fastest-growing pubs on Medium.

Dimitris Leo ⭐

Written by

On a mission to make the world a kinder place. Writer on Self Acceptance, Compassion & Improvement, Mental Health, Psychology, Leadership, Fitness and more…

The Ascent

A community of storytellers documenting the journey to happiness & fulfillment. Join 120,000+ others making the climb on one of the fastest-growing pubs on Medium.

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