5 Action Steps To Achieve The Goal Of Being More Honest With Yourself

It was legendary American football coach Vince Lombardi who once said “The successful man is himself. To be successful, you’ve got to be honest with yourself.” The fact is everyone lies to some degree. These may be small untruths or lies of omission but everyone does it and to a degree we all probably lie to ourselves a little bit as well.

Professor of Health Economics of Addiction Shahram Heshmat PhD says everyone practices self deception often to support psychological needs. (ref.)

1| Take a Different Point of View

It is easiest to lie to yourself when you only consider how things you have said or done affect you. It is therefore important, if you are truly seeking self honesty, to consider how you have affected others.

An understanding about how other people feel leads to the important emotion of compassion. When you can consider the emotional impact on other people and give them compassion you can also afford to spend a little compassion on yourself. The lesson to learn is that life is not all about self and that accepting one’s own faults is healthy.

2| Earn Personal Brownie Points

People often hide their sins even from themselves because they are ashamed and subsequently are in self denial and unwilling to blame themselves. Your sins may be very minor and just make you too uncomfortable to be honest with yourself. In order to give yourself the confidence to indulge in some self honesty you need to boost your sense of worth. 

The best way to achieve this is to try and do small things daily that you can be proud of. Help someone out with something, pay for the person behind you in the drive-thru line, basically make a positive impact. Use the feeling of having done a good thing as a token to be open about something you’re lying to yourself about.

3| Be Forgiving to Yourself

There should be one person you can 100% trust to forgive you for a failure in honesty and that is yourself. Psychotherapist Beverly Engel suggests that constantly punishing ourselves for the things we have done wrong is not healthy. Feeling of shame and guilt affect self esteem and can lead to destructive behaviors.

If guilt leads to a damaged psyche then you are in no position to make a serious amends for what you have done. Those seeking forgiveness for things they have done must first forgive themselves. (ref.)

When someone forgives themselves, this does not mean they absolve themselves for what they may have done merely that they will not indulge in self punishment. They are acknowledging that they did wrong and that they must seek forgiveness outwardly. You can not effectively work toward forgiveness while you still play a victim to yourself.

4| Embrace the Use of Compassion

As you progress towards a more honest attitude with yourself and your sense of outward compassion grows, embrace that feeling. A sure sign of a centered self-aware mindset is a preeminence of feeling compassion towards others. 

Seize the opportunity to act on these compassionate feelings, don’t let awkward feelings stop you from helping others if you can. The very act of helping those who need compassion and doing it because it feels right will help you be personally more reflective.

5| Constantly Reinforce a Sense of Personal Honesty

It may take a while but strive every day to be honest in all interpersonal dealings. As crazy as it may sound it is important to make a choice to be more honest with others and of course yourself. If you make this conscious effort before you realize it you will automatically tend toward an honest attitude.