And does it even matter?
First, before reading anything further, ask yourself 1 question.
Are you an honest person?
Pause for a second. Think about people who are close to you, family, friends, work colleagues… So, are you?
I am trying to be, with mixed results, but after I published the story about my 3,5 years working for Microsoft I was overwhelmed with response and what struck me the most is that many people were surprised that I am honest.
Like no one was expecting that they will read something real on the internet.
When I started to think about it, it actually is rare to share the whole truth about oneself. Even though every coach, every motivational speaker tells you to be true to yourself and with thousands of books and YouTube videos I would expect the situation to look differently, it doesn’t.
Being a human is building different facades, wearing different masks so often that we forget who we are underneath them. Whether you are pretending to be always happy, always reliable, always knowledgable, always … anything, the point is, why are you doing this? What are you striving to achieve? What are you trying to avoid?
I have a couple of popular examples:
- Online: One side of the story stimuli (posts, videos, photos). When you go on Instagram, you find: selfies, photos with friends, photos of activities, gadgets, food. Generally all the good stuff. With filters. And poses. And 20 shots for each photo.
I know it’s not necessarily lying, it’s just exaggerating the good things and pretending there are no bad ones. You show what you want people to see, you hide everything else. Just like everyone else. You fit in. Easy. But that is like a half honesty that builds a fake image of you.
Reality check: Think about social media — do you actually believe you are being real with people who follow you?
2. Offline: Auto censorship. When at work or with friends, it is also common to focus on the good stuff, because of the fear of being judged/rejected/…
At work — I can’t say that, because the manager will think I am incompetent; I will not start an innovative project, because if I fail, I will get fired so I’d rather stick to what I know.
With friends — I can’t say that, because they will think I’m depressive. I can’t cry, because they will think I’m weak. I can’t share something, because they will think I’m weird.
And don’t even get me started on dating… Rings any bells?
Ok, so by now, we know that people aren’t really honest. Noone is. You are not either. So what? Is that even important? We live in a society of fake people. Many of us are not even honest with ourselves — about who we are, what we really want. And it’s not even because we don’t want to, it’s just really, really hard. I am putting my full awareness to be true at least to myself and you know what? It doesn’t always work. Even when I put my attention and intention, I still get confused about what is really me and what isn’t. What do certain emotions mean at the certain time. It’s a huge effort.
Which might pay off, because once you learn to deal with your tough emotions and can be 100% true to yourself, you will be able to really be there for others. Not many people I have met share on a deep level. 1 — because they don’t want to face their weaknesses, 2 — they don’t want to share them with the world, 3— because even when they share, they often do not get the support needed anyway.
But does that have any meaning to you? It does to me, but I don’t seem to understand the ways that the world works now. It’s a broader subject of values that we come across here. What is your priority in life? What’s the most important thing to you? Relations? Money? Family? Fun? You don’t need honesty to make money or have fun, maybe that’s that?
I personally believe in the value of honesty and I do my best to live by it. To not hide my emotions, to share not only the successes, but also my failures, but I feel like it’s not getting me anywhere though. Everyone is struggling with the pursuit of their truth, whether it’s starting a family, having a great car, building a business etc. and nobody else really cares. My pursuit I guees is to be real now and I don’t think anyone cares either. So if you’re not honest with yourself and the rest of the world — no worries, it doesn’t really matter, as long as you truly believe you’re doing well.