When was the last time you truly looked at yourself in the mirror, both literally and metaphorically? The last time you took a long hard look at yourself, and acknowledged your truths? All of them: The good. The bad. The happy. The sad. The weird and the magnificent.
I heard a morning DJ say today that he never looks at himself in the mirror — from the shower to the robe without passing a reflection — and he avoids looking at himself at all costs, looking at only his hair or his teeth as he grooms individual parts. Aside from the fact that this was way too much information to know about one’s morning DJ, I realized how often I have heard a version of that from clients. One woman was so unhappy with her weight she refused to look at herself in the mirror, or the eye. A high-powered business man so dissatisfied with his personal relationships couldn’t bring himself to talk about them with any depth or meaning, so he stuck to work for the longest time.
Too many people don’t want to acknowledge their truth, fearing it’s more than they can bear, confident they wouldn’t like it if they saw it in all its glory, or named it with words. But what does this kind of honesty, this kind of acknowledgement with oneself, even look like?
As weird as it sounds, it can look like standing naked in front of a mirror until you have the courage to truly look, and honestly see yourself (and here’s the catch) without judgement.
It can look like witnessing a situation around you, and separating the circumstances and rationalizations — until you can see yourself for who you really are. Until you can see what you are really feeling, with all your biases and baggage, and own how you have contributed to the situation — both positively and negatively — again, without judgement.
Too many of us mistake honesty for self-abuse. People think that to be honest with themselves they must own their faults so they can criticize, judge and admonish themselves for those faults. They think that honesty is brushing off the good parts, if they even see the good parts, so they can get to their “brutal truth.” Sorry, but that’s partial honesty at best, and if it’s wrapped in the admonishments, then it’s just abuse. You can’t learn, grow and evolve from that place because those judgments, criticisms, and acts of self-abuse will hold you down rather than release you. And the whole point of the honesty is to release you, to set you free, to give you wings, to lift you up to a higher level of living, being and engaging.
Why is it so difficult to just be truly honest with ourselves?
Is it as simple as, “The truth hurts”? If so, does that go for the good parts, too? Sadly, clients have answered yes to that second question. It’s almost as if they don’t feel worthy of the good truth, because the weight of the bad is so great. If this is true for you, there is your real work: worthiness. For many, they seek external validation from others to help bolster up their worthiness, but wonder why it’s so short-lived, like a sugar high. The reason is overly simple: their loved ones are sowing seeds on infertile soil. If you don’t feel worthy and can’t believe them, words will only have a surface impact at best.
In the end, there are many reasons we resist, or avoid altogether, the act of being honest with ourselves. What is it for you? What permission do you need to give yourself in order to face that honesty without judgement? What will you do to also stare nakedly into your beauty, wisdom, intelligence, love, passion, power and humanity? To see yourself for who you really are — not just the bad stuff, but the good stuff as well? What I have found with so many clients is that when they have the courage to honestly look, in the end they see way more good than bad, way more smart then dumb, way more beauty than ugly.
So go ahead. Be honest with yourself. I dare you.