truthfulness in thought and action
Stress, worry and uncertainty can make it difficult to see the truth. And because the present reality is sometimes painful, we may distort and deny facts through justification and by hiding and stuffing our feelings. Or, we may simply allow our minds to take us into the past or the future. Without realizing it, bad situations become temporary disruptions as we continue to ignore or bury them. We may have told ourselves that a bad or painful situation will just go away; we may have believed that something was wrong with us when someone hurt, betrayed or simply ignored us; that we were simply being “patient” when we held back from expressing ourselves to our business partner, employee, peer or spouse. Such lies insured peace at work or home - after all, our only goal was temporary peace and sanity. Ultimately, these lies compromised our authenticity about who we are and what we believe in. The resulting effect is often a false or distorted sense of reality.
In the Journey, we ask that we be honest with ourselves about ourselves. Our part, our response to others and our interactions with others, are the only things for which we are responsible. In physics, for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. In the world of self-awareness, your ideal reaction to an action is thoughtful, contemplation from your heart. Here we face the reality of our circumstances, where we accept our lives for what they are, based upon the facts. Our purpose is to see who we are, how we became this way and the characteris- tics that are ours to work with. With this intention, we take a positive step to- wards self-actualization.
“When I was a competitive runner, my coach asked me to train with a heart moni- tor. He wanted me to increase my awareness in listening to my body, as well as understand that what my mind was telling me about my efforts was not always accurate. I immediately learned that there were times when my mind told me that I was working really hard, yet my heart monitor showed otherwise. And yet sometimes when I was “in the flow”- running with ease, my heart rate was much higher than I imagined.
In regard to honesty, something very similar took place. Previously, honesty was not an issue; I saw myself as a very honest person. However, in working with my coach, I learned that I wasn’t very honest with myself. By learning tools for self-awareness, I began to identify when I was rationalizing, denying or simply burying feelings that I did not want to feel. My life gradually became less complicated and my thinking more clear.
One of my most profound learning experiences during VIM’s self-discovery process centered on honesty. As I began to practice “rigorous honesty”, I experienced increased clarity and less drama in my life, but also saw there were some aspects to my use of honesty that were creating challenges. I began to identify situations where I was not being kind to myself. In the name of honesty, I heard myself judge certain actions harshly for even the smallest of errors and say things to myself that were laced with negativity, anger and self-doubt. In addition, I was receiving negative feedback from individuals in my life, including my wife who told me I was hurting people with my “honesty”. What was the solution? It was twofold: first, I don’t use honesty to justify hurting myself or another. Second, I practice compassion. Honesty without compassion can be cruelty. Honesty has become a valued, necessary compass which guides me in the flow of my busi- ness and personal life. I now know there is no final destination in skill development, but rather it is an on-going journey.”
R.F. Investment Banker
Questions for Self-Exploration
The content, structure and flow of this exercise are designed to guide you in:
listening to your thoughts
examining the truths and perspectives your thoughts may contain
learning what to do with this information
applying this knowledge to support your authentic self