be honest with yourself
“Honesty is such a lonely word, everyone is so untrue.” - Billy Joel
In my last video blog post, I recapped everything that was happening in my life up until that video. Last week, I wrote about the first two items on my list of what I call ‘the big three.’ Last Monday I wrote about holding yourself accountable and accepting personal responsibility, and on Wednesday I wrote about valuing your time. I promised to save the best for last, so here I am. And I truly believe that honesty is the most important quality someone can have in life.
Have you ever caught yourself or someone else in a lie? It could start out as something as simple as “yes, I already took out the trash,” but you actually didn’t take it out? It seems harmless, right? But before you know it, the trash is building up and it starts to stink and attract lots of creepy crawly things that no one invited into your home. It’s the same thing with any other little lie you tell. It seems harmless at first, but before you know it that lie becomes part of an even bigger lie, and suddenly it seems like there’s a lot of ugly, unwanted external things inhabiting a space where those negatives were not originally invited. And once those lies build up, it becomes hard to remember the truth. But when you tell the truth from the start, you don’t have to remember what you told someone. You’ll know what you told that person because you told her the truth.
Lying isn’t just an act that takes place externally. Yes, it’s awful to lie to other people. I’ve been lied to a lot, and it sucks, but it doesn’t hold a candle to when we lie to ourselves. And people do it all the time. I've done it. Most of the time we lie to ourselves, it’s actually because we’re worried so much about external factors: what will other people think, how will other people perceive me, what if I fail? The list goes on, yes, but we all know how I feel about external vs. internal. Starve your ego, feed your soul.
I’ve recently had a few conversations with friends of mine on the topic of honesty. The conversations were amazing because they were with people who were willing to be honest and open. It takes an incredibly strong person to show that kind of vulnerability and empathy for another person, but you’d be amazed how much you’ll receive just by giving. It was refreshing that someone shared similar views with me. Growing up, I was always taught that honesty is the best policy. Having just celebrated Mother’s Day, I would be remiss if I didn't mention that my mom (and Dad, of course) played a huge role in that intrinsic value I hold.
Honesty is the key to everything, but it starts from within. You cannot be completely honest and authentic with others unless you are first honest with yourself. And it’s hard. It involves a lot of work on oneself and a lot of inward-reflection. I’ve written it before, but it’s worth repeating: “That type of inward-gazing can be hard because you might see some things about yourself you may not like. And that’s okay. The beautiful thing about the process is that you can change the things you don’t like, which leads to growth.”
So why save honesty for my last post of ‘the big three’ instead of leading with it if it’s so important? Good question, and it’s one that I recently received via email from a subscriber. I think it’s important to save Honesty for last because my previous two posts tie in perfectly with the idea of being honest with oneself.
When you’re honest with yourself about what you want out of life and why, you’re better able to hold yourself accountable to your goals and better able to prioritize your time. For me, when I’m completely honest with myself, I recognize that there are certain things about my career and life plan on which I am not willing to budge. As a woman, a question I face a lot has to do with marriage and children. Do I want to get married one day and have children? Yes I do, but I do not feel the need to seriously consider those things for at least 10 years, which is a belief I've held for a pretty long time. It has everything to do with my goals for myself, but it also has everything to do with the future I want my kids to have if and when I cross that bridge one day.
I’m a value-driven person, so I like to practice what I preach. What kind of person would I be if I told my future children to go after their dreams with all their hearts if I did not first lead by example? And although I am a positive-minded person who, by default, does not view things negatively, I would never want to put myself in a situation where I might feel resentment towards my children. Having nannied and having helped my parents raise my little siblings, I know the commitment and amount of time it takes to raise children. I know that if that day comes where I decide to get married and then my future husband and I decide to start a family, it would have to be a discussion of equal partnership. And he and I would have to figure out, as a team, how to always keep our family the priority.
It seems like a lot to think about, right? But, the truth of the matter is that I’m young. I’m only 27 and although I can’t predict the future, the uncertainty of it doesn’t scare me; it excites me. My parents are incredible. My Mom went through a lot of pregnancy struggles to have me, but since day one I’ve been a fighter. A long-running joke in my family was that my Mom would always tell my childhood friends growing up that she was 39. She must have had at least ten 39th birthdays (and maybe still does). It’s beautiful, though, when I really think about that number. My Mom was 39 when she had me, and by always celebrating that specific age, it felt like she was always celebrating us - the relationship she and I had since day one - and how I was the baby that fought like hell to be with her. I’m tearing up a little writing this, but it’s such an incredible feeling to have that love from a Mother, especially 3000 miles away and being that Mother’s Day was yesterday. I am so grateful for it.
Uncertainty shouldn’t scare anyone. Life is a beautiful ride meant to be lived. It has hard times and times of total fulfillment, but you can’t appreciate the full spectrum of life’s beauty unless you’re willing to make the choice to dive into it headfirst. By diving in headfirst, fearless, you get closer and closer to achieving all the things you want out of life.
And it’s also worth noting that it’s okay if your dreams change along the way. The dreams I had for myself 10 years ago are not the same ones I have now. My dreams have gotten bigger and grander - not smaller and less important. And life should be just like that. Life should get bigger and more beautiful as we grow and change. I hope my goals and dreams I have 10 years into the future are even bigger than the ones I have for myself right now. When you’re honest with yourself first-and-foremost, you’re better able to hold yourself accountable and value your time.
Since Billy Joel played at Dodger Stadium on Saturday night, I thought it would only be fitting to include a line from one of my favorite songs of his - “Honesty” - in which he writes, “Honesty is such a lonely word, everyone is so untrue. Honesty is hardly ever heard but mostly what I need from you.” Admittedly, it carries a melancholic tune throughout the song, but I don’t see things as most people do. That song, “Honesty,” is one of my favorite songs because in it, Billy Joel recognizes that what he needs from another person is honesty, not secrets. It’s absolutely beautiful - that recognition. It can feel isolating sometimes in a world where so many people are untrue to others, but what hurts even more is the realization that most people aren’t honest with themselves.
But, even though the majority of people are so concerned with the externals (validation from friends or romantic partners, how they look, what their parents think, etc.), it makes it that much more special when you find someone who values the same things you do and who is also internally-motivated. And it makes you cherish and nurture those relationships that much more.
As I’ve written before, the most important relationship you can have in life is the one that’s based internally: your relationship with yourself. Once you’re honest with yourself about who you are and about your wants, accountability and valuing your time fall neatly into place. That’s why, for my next post, I think it’s important I write about setting boundaries. I’ve written about following fun, following fear, and saying yes, but it’s also equally important to know when to say no.
So for now, I’m going to stop as I could go on about honesty for hours! But I promised this is only the best 4-5 minutes of your day! So, of course, as always, if you have any pressing questions or if you want to discuss something further, feel free to subscribe below or reach out to me on the “contact” page. I’ve been hearing from people in other countries, and it’s been so incredible. I’d love more of it. I’m here for you, and I’m also here to learn from you!! Thank you for giving me the opportunity to do this; I couldn’t do it without you!