To Heal, You Must First Be Honest With Yourself

woman in gray overalls
Nick Grant / Unsplash

I lived many years of my life in complete denial of my reality.

Denial of how unhappy I was. Denial of the fact that my relationships were not healthy. And denial of who I was, who I was really was, at the very core of my being. Living my life in denial meant I had to create masks for many occasions, and for many different people. It meant I had to go against the grain of my own soul and of my wants and needs. And it meant denying myself the opportunity to experience true happiness and joy.

I’m not even sure I was aware of what I was doing. I had become accustomed to living against my true self that it became a normal way of being. But deep down, I knew something wasn’t right. I intuitively knew that what I was doing was not serving me or anyone else. I was not living in alignment with my truth and my heart. I was not being honest with myself.

I remember all the excuses I gave to others and myself. I remember trying to justify my choices because others questioned my happiness; they could see right through me. They felt my suffering, and they sensed my inauthenticity.

It came to a point where I was beginning to experience severe anxiety and health issues. Because I was not living “in truth” with my heart’s deepest desires, things started showing up in my physical being. I was out of balance and alignment with myself and with my soul.

I needed to do something and I knew what I needed to do.  I had to get honest with myself — really, truly and deeply honest about everything. I had to lay it all on the table and look at where I was, what I was doing, and most importantly, why I was doing it. I had to understand myself and my choices.

So I sunk right in and I went deep. I realized there was so much unconscious stuff going on beneath the surface that it was dictating my choices and controlling my decisions. I knew the moment I got honest with myself, everything would change. And it did.

​Sometimes we want things to appear so perfect to others that we sacrifice our own soul. We neglect our truth and what our heart really wants because we fear what others will think and what we will think of ourselves, and we fear the outcome of change and uncertainty. So we live our lives without being truthful to ourselves. Not just in relationships but in other areas of our lives as well, such as our careers. We go about our days being who we are expected to be just to please others. We wear the masks we create and force fixed smiles to hide the tears that are screaming to come out.

We lie to ourselves until we decide to tell ourselves the truth.

Honesty is healing — it brings change and it sets you free. It brings new breath and new life to your lungs. It’s the key to unlocking your truth, your authenticity and your true self.

The most important thing I tell myself is that I am going to die one day. And I refuse to die with the beautiful essence of who I am buried beneath a mask of someone who I am not.

​It’s okay to admit your marriage isn’t working, that you do not like your job. It’s alright to leave friendships that drain you and make you feel bad about yourself. Because at the end of the day, if your heart isn’t in it, you shouldn’t be either.

Trust yourself enough to get honest with yourself and give yourself permission to be you in a world where everyone expects you to be someone else. TC mark

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I’m 42 and I’m never worked a 9-5 job in my life. Follow Vanessa on Instagram or read more articles from Vanessa on Thought Catalog.