Most of us would say we are honest people. And it’s true. We are as honest as we can emotionally afford to be. The places where we lie to ourselves are necessary to our stability and survival and are hidden even from ourselves. This quote sums it up nicely:
A neurosis is a secret that you don’t know you are keeping.
But what if we’re ready to face the lies? What if we recognize that we are obscuring something beautiful beneath the surface? How do we begin to dig beneath what we think is our honesty, to deeper levels of telling the truth to and about ourselves?
How can I know what I hide from myself?
It’s insidious and subtle, the lies we often live by. It took me some time to uncover some of my self-secrets:
- Thinking I was not worth it and did not deserve the good things in life
- Denying and pushing down my feelings
- Blaming my past for my unhappiness
- Believing I had no opinions or views worth sharing
- Thinking others knew better than I what I should, could, or wanted to do
- Believing I was ugly and unattractive
- Failing to recognize, acknowledge, and enjoy my accomplishments
- Ignoring and pushing aside compliments
Though not obvious, these were manifestations of coping mechanisms. For example, I had to focus on others’ emotions and needs growing up in order to keep the peace and try to keep balance between family members. Focusing on others meant denying myself – my worth, my feelings, my opinions, my value.
Piercing through these lies is a matter of awareness and persistence.
These ideas can help us face up to and turn the lies around.
1. Be patient – Awareness is a slow and unpredictable process. Rather than push oneself, it can be more productive to allow discovery of our layers to unfold naturally.
2. Be willing – Answers may come from anywhere at any time. Be open to hear and willing to accept and apply what comes to you from whatever source.
3. Drop ego – This goes along with willingness; unless you can let go of ego, it will be harder to hear the wisdom from other sources. If you want to heal, you have to admit you don’t know all the answers.
4. Be good to yourself – Remember that the self-lies originated for a reason, and like crutches for a broken leg, must be put aside slowly as the truth strengthens. Take care of yourself in the meantime, don’t force things.
5. Sit with discomfort – Recognizing unpleasant or even painful truths about ourselves can cause unease, but the only way past it is to go through it. Sometimes you just have to allow yourself to be uncomfortable. This too shall pass.
6. Don’t judge yourself – As you allow the lies to arise and pass by, just let them be without judgment. They served a purpose and are no longer needed. Let go of guilt and shame.
7. Stop comparing – Your journey is your own. It may appear that others are moving toward their truths more quickly, but it’s impossible to know. You can’t judge your insides by other people’s outsides. You can face yourself at your own pace.
8. Accept what is – There’s no changing the past, nor predicting the future. Try to stay with the reality of the present moment, and allow the truth-revealing process to unfold.
Here are a copule of other posts I’ve written on the topic of hiding from and rediscovering ourselves:
- Love Me, Love My Neurosis: How to Uncover Unhealthy Patterns
- Spotlight on Your Blind Spots: How to Adjust Your Mirrors
In what ways have you told yourself lies and hidden from yourself? What helps you dig beneath the surface?