I heard this phrase many times as a child, and later found it over and over again in books and inspirational quotes.
My daily interactions, however, seemed to contradict this adage.
Growing up, I often felt that “being myself” was too much for some people to handle. Being myself didn’t always get teachers to like me, classmates to befriend me, and later, invites on dates or to social events.
These experiences inadvertently taught me to hide some aspects of myself: the unacceptable parts, the odd parts, and the parts of myself that people didn’t seem to like.
It wasn’t until years later that I realized what I’d given up on my quest to fit in: my honesty and authenticity.
How did this happen? Well, hiding parts of myself resulted in a vicious cycle that went something like this:
People don’t seem to like me when ‘I am being myself’. ->
-> There’s something wrong with me. ->
-> There are parts of myself I need to hide in order to be liked. ->
-> When I interact with others, I should hold parts of myself back. ->
-> I don’t feel I truly connect when I interact with others. ->
-> I feel alone. ->
-> See, I knew there was something wrong with me!
Does this sound familiar?
As I got older and began to unpack these thoughts, I realized that many people felt similarly.
In our quest for connection we’d accidentally lost touch with vital aspects with ourselves; the effort to be liked had disconnected us from being truly seen by others.
Luckily, there’s a way to break this vicious cycle of our own making.
We do that by opening our hearts and approaching interactions with people in our lives with honesty. We dare to show ourselves as we truly are.
Honest connection with people means…
~ sharing all of yourself, and not just the parts that you think others will like
~ being truthful about your fears and dreams, even if that sometimes makes you an outlier
~ being brave, vulnerable, and going out on a limb that could potentially snap off
So yes, being honest can be scary for most of us.
But honesty is also ever giving and healing.
The more we live honestly, the more we:
~ soothe that insecure part of ourselves and feel reassured that ‘it’s ok to be me’
~ regain our most meaningful relationships
So…how can we start living with more honesty today?
On Seekers Collective we offer an opportunity to practice honesty daily in a supportive online environment. We call it—appropriately—Honesty.
There are plenty of online spaces where you can be something other than yourself. Many social media networks are purposefully or accidentally curated to encourage us to only show part of ourselves: the happy parts, the acceptable parts, or the witty parts.
This is understandable: it’s not always safe or necessary to share our deepest feelings, especially in a space that may not be supportive.
On Seekers Collective’s Honesty page we provide daily prompts that nudge you to be authentic and brave. This is an opportunity to reflect, share, and support each other’s feelings and ideas.
Taking a moment to be vulnerable is like tapping into a part of ourselves that is hungry to connect. When we do so we get to share the unique parts of ourselves, and we are reminded that we’re never alone in these feelings.
On the Honesty page, you’ll likely find an entire tribe of people who have been where you’ve been…and can support you right where you are.
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I learned the most from fucking up. Here’s how I forgave myself, learned from my mistakes and moved on.