If we can’t honestly laugh at our own flaws, we’re doomed. No one knows us better than ourselves, and it can be funny to see how some things never change despite our best efforts. A sense of humor helps make light of those situations where we disappoint or otherwise fall short of what’s expected. Humor can take the sting away from hard truths when we are finally honest with ourselves, too. We can’t fix what’s wrong in our lives until we address the issues, and that starts with facing the truth head on.
Honesty isn’t just about telling the truth to other people; we have to be honest with ourselves as well. Often times we know what’s good for us, and whether or not we are taking good care of ourselves. We know what we need to do, it’s just a matter of actually doing it that’s difficult.
On this topic, Anne Wilson Schaef writes:
“How refreshing when we can be honest, even humorously honest, about ourselves! Often, we are so busy protecting ourselves that we don’t dare risk letting others know that we aren’t perfect. Of course, usually we are the only ones fooled by our masquerades, but we make ourselves believe that others are fooled, too.
When we can be honest with ourselves, we usually know very clearly what we need and what is destructive to us. The trick is, can we listen to ourselves? Are we capable of following our own good advice? Can we let ourselves see our foibles and laugh about them? After all, no one knows us as well as we know ourselves. So, naturally, we are the persons who are most capable of seeing ourselves clearly. Are we courageous enough to let ourselves see ourselves and be honest about what we see?”
Honesty takes a certain amount of bravery. It can be hard to face what’s wrong and recognize that we need to change. It takes a big person to look at their life and admit their mistakes, not to mention decide to do something about them. Honesty about what’s wrong in our life and the need to do things differently is the first step to recovery, because before we can put things right, we must be able to see that there is a problem.
Taking our own advice is often as hard as recognizing there is a problem to begin with, and doing right by ourselves is often easier said than done. I usually know what I should be doing to take care of myself, and when my anxiety starts to creep back in, I can pretty easily pinpoint the culprit behind my negative feelings. It’s when I have been smoking too much, not sleeping enough, eating too much junk food, not making time for hobbies, isolating myself from friends and family. I know I should eat real meals instead of snacks and junk food for dinner. I know I should engage with people rather than veg out on the couch. Actually following the sound adult advice I give myself though? Now, that proves harder than one would initially think. Before we beat ourselves up over our inability to take our own good advice, however, we’d do well to remember that it is this way for everyone. We will try to be better tomorrow, and the day after that, we will continue to try some more. Honesty means we recognize also that we are only human! We fall short sometimes. We make mistakes. The beautiful thing is we can pick ourselves up and try again; we can continue to move forward a little each day. Ten steps forward, two steps back—we’re still making forward progress!