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Being Yourself is Exhilarating

Photo by Shinta Lauw

Honesty is an easy thing to do. But somehow, we still tend to choose dishonesty. Either because we’re reluctant to say what is right or we’ve given up and perceived that telling the truth will not drastically change things.

Social pressure is one of the main reasons for this false perception to exist. Maybe we want to respect others’ opinions, such as the reluctance to be involved in an argument or the assumption that we need to be polite. All these external factors are then becoming the main drives for our internal decision. And tragically, such force has suppressed, if not killed, the personal truth values that we all need to build our self-identity.

Before going further, the truth that I am referring to is not the divine truth, as many of us perceive in religion, ideology, etc. I know that when we say the word truth, many of us will associate it with that kind of external truth. This way of thinking perceives the truth as something that does not exist within us, and it made us look for the truth elsewhere, the truth that has been formulated by someone else. I want to talk about the truth within us that already there all this time.

Of course, this kind of truth is abstract and sometimes hard to be put in exact words. Still, we can find its manifestations in our feelings, opinions, and then in our views on something without the need to over-analyze it. This truth is like our windows in seeing the world. It will build our perception of the world based on our values.

Dostoyevsky once said, “Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to the point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him or around him and loses all respect for himself and others. And having no respect, he ceases to love.” Dostoyevsky clearly illustrates how dishonesty can mislead our perceptions of ourselves and ultimately obscure our judgment towards reality.

Scientifically speaking, humans are creatures that are evolved with the ability to think. We have a bunch of ideas that are formed in our minds. It could even be said that the ability to think is the main characteristic of a human being. But it cannot just be ideas. For the sake of sanity, humans are required to be able to assemble these ideas in a series of rationalities. These rationalities will then later becoming our perceptions; how we perceive and interpret the world.

When we can construct these ideas into the wholeness of understanding, we will eventually discover our sense of identity. And in this phase, we can finally distinguish who we are and who we are not. And when we know ourselves, understand the elements and values ​​that build our consciousness, we can finally interact with the world as who we are.

Interaction with the world is where honesty becomes essential. Honesty, as we all understand, is the courage to express ourselves fully, the ability to say what’s on our mind, and the freedom to choose not to act like someone else. With honesty, we will be free to say, “this is me,” without too much worrying about any possible objections to obscure our perception of ourselves. Honesty to express ourselves will make the formation of new ideas over the old one possible, which will broaden the level of individual consciousness.

On the contrary, when we come out without stating the truth or saying what’s on our mind, we’re eliminating the possibilities for our mind to form new ideas. We will be obscuring our perception of ourselves and then repeating the process of developing our awareness with the ideas that do not belong to us. This reconstruction will positively impact if the source of the new ideas has a broader level of consciousness than ourselves. But in many cases, this does not happen.

This kind of consciousness is personal, and to assume that the others have it higher than you is a form of repression of the magnificence of one’s thought process. It must be emphasized that consciousness is different from intellect; consciousness is a manifestation of personal truth. These elements shape a person’s identity.

Emotions can be used as an example to explain this process; happy, sad, angry, disgusted, and so on. When we pinned a feeling to an object or individual, this sense of emotion towards something becomes one of the elements that make us who we are. The more we act dishonestly with these emotions, the more we lose the basic ideas that previously shaped our perception. When that happens continuously, we will eventually find ourselves losing a part of us that we’ve constructed as an identity. This phenomenon briefly explains someone’s anxiety when they, forced or not, must suppress their own emotions. And yeah, the solution to that problem is simply honesty.

We need to get used to and feel comfortable telling the truth. This act, of course, can be delicate. But the more we familiarize ourselves with honesty, the easier it will be to articulate perceptions and express desires. By being able to articulate our opinion and desires, we will make our life simpler. We will save much of our time by not fooling ourselves and pretending to be someone else.

When we can be honest as an individual, then our social interaction will produce more values. Every conversation will be more meaningful and drastically bring us closer to existential fulfillment. Even though we all know, by telling the truth, we will be more likely to be confronted by others’ perceptions that are on the opposite ends of our truth. But that’s okay. It is better to know the differences in advance and then work on it or agree to disagree rather than keeps on pretending to be someone else, which will only be a loss to both sides.

Consequently, we need to consider honesty as an essential element of humankind. When we choose to be honest, we wish to make peace with reality. This act of fairness means that we do not take the easy shortcuts just to fit in. Whatever the situation is, honesty will always be the right choice. Because in the end, honesty can solidify our existence; it will not obscure our identity, nor will it deny the situation.

Simply put, honesty starts with accepting ourselves, our thoughts, feelings, circumstances, and so on. On the other end, dishonesty will only lead us to denial. It is an attempt to become who we are not, which is the most foolish thing to do as a free human being.

Given this, honesty will continue to coexist with the truth, our personal truth, and the divine truth, whatever it is. When we learn to be honest, we will be more intimate with ourselves. And by being intimate with ourselves, we will be able to spread compassion to the world. When you can see all the differences and still capable of giving love, that’s compassion; love that builds on honesty and not just pretending. That’s enlightenment.



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