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Tag Archives: Facing the truth

Tell the truth about your life

If you are unhappy with any part of your life, the first step is to tell yourself the truth about it. This sounds simple, but it’s often very difficult. But without knowing how you really think and feel about something, you won’t have a clue about how to change it. So the first step in this process is to confess how you really feel about the things that are bothering you.

We often discount the truth about these hard situations because we are afraid that we can’t change them. And in some cases this is true. We can’t always change things that we don’t like. For example I can’t change the fact that my job is in Atlanta but all my extended family members live elsewhere. I simply have to live with this and adjust the best I can. I can, however, choose how to think about this situation so that I don’t make myself miserable. I can choose to see this situation as beyond my control, and plan to call or visit family members whenever possible, so that the connections remain strong.

But we frequently let ourselves off too easily when we don’t take the time to find out the real causes of our discontent. So here’s a technique for getting to the root of your feelings about a situation.

Complete each of the following sentences honestly:

When I think about this situation I feel….
What I dislike most about this situation is ….
If someone close to me knew about this situation they would tell me ….
The one thing I wish I could change about this situation is ….
If I didn’t have to deal with this situation I would be able to ….

Each one of these sentences forces you to look deeper at the situation and confess a little about how you feel. By slowly unwrapping the thoughts that surround it, you are moving closer to the core issue. Now pick an area of your life where something isn’t working and ask yourself these questions. You may be surprised to find that the real reason you are unhappy is quite different that the reason you tell yourself at first. Read more of this post

The comforting lies we tell ourselves

It is often very difficult to gain an accurate perspective on one’s own life. We are often so busy living our lives that we may have a hard time finding time to evaluate where we are, and where we want to go. It’s also often the case that when we do take time to evaluate our life, our perspective is distorted by the lies we tell ourselves to comfort ourselves. It’s more difficult to be completely honest with ourselves than we realize.

We tell ourselves little lies to soften the hurt that so often comes from unrealized dreams and expectations. If we don’t get the job we want, we tell ourselves that it wasn’t a good fit for us anyway. If our relationships with others become strained, we explain this to ourselves by saying that they are distracted or busy. And if our circumstances are not what we wish, it’s very easy to blame the economy.

These are comforting lies, and they do have value. They shield us from the shock that we would feel if we faced the truth head-on all the time. They defend us from harm in the short-term. But they were never meant to be a cure. So while they provide protection from harm in the short-term, if we want to grow we need to get beyond these defences and deal with the reality that hides behind them.

How do we do this?

First, we acknowledge that we are using these defenses and that they have short-term value.

Second, we choose to move beyond these defenses by confronting them and calling them what they are – first line emotional reactions.

Third, we gain perspective on these defenses by writing them down or sharing them with a trusted friend.

Facing reality in our lives is not easy, but it is essential if we are to move ahead.

In my own life I held onto to a dream of being able to return to a career in which I had failed earlier in my life. For years I dreamt of finding a way back to this job. It was only after I honestly faced that fact that I was not really good at the job that I finally let it go. This was not easy, as I had invested years of education and hard work into becoming successful in this field. I walked away from some significant investments – and released the energy that had been tied up in this dream to spend in other areas of my life. And this has made an enormous difference in how satisfied and committed I am to the areas of my life where I am successful and find satisfaction.

So work to get past the lies that comfort you now, but trap you in the present and prevent you from becoming even better in the future. You deserve better.

You can’t handle the truth

Most of us don’t handle the truth about ourselves very well. We don’t want to know the truth because it makes us uncomfortable. It means that we are not perfect, that we are flawed and inferior.

But is also means that we are human, and as human beings we have the power to change.

Most of us will go a long way out of our way to avoid learning something negative about ourselves. We will avoid people whom we have hurt so we don’t have to face them and see the hurt in their eyes. We will back out of conversations when the topics become uncomfortable and might expose a weakness. And we will avoid bringing up topics and confronting others who offend us because we don’t want to face the potentially nasty consequences of these exchanges.

I’m as guilty of these offences as anyone one else. Just recently I managed to get through an entire half-hour conversation with my boss without either of us ever addressing the real issues between us. We’ve been doing this once per month for several months now, and it’s pathetic. I don’t handle the truth well, either. So I need to change this.

Here’s the strange part to this: I know that if I face these issues things will get better. But up to now I haven’t been willing to pay the price to get to the “better” place. So I need to act like an adult and to this.

How about you? Are there conversations you should be having? Apologies that you need to make? Actions you need to take?

What better way to begin a new year than to leave behind one issue that you don’t need to carry with you into the next year. So pick one – you already know what I’m going to do – and do it. Do a little planning and thinking about how you want to do it, and then – Nike style – just do it.

You will find that living a life based on facing the truth will indeed set you free.

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