The Internet is an amazing tool. It allows new writers to connect with experienced, published authors. It allows students to access information and knowledge that can make their education experience more robust. It allows people to share ideas, quirky facts, pictures, videos and so much more.
The Internet also allows users to be selective and at times quite grandiose about who they are and what they have accomplished. Sometimes the anonymity provided by the world wide web allows people to create alternate identities that are more well read, well travelled, successful, smarter, and more interesting than our real world counter-parts.
“So what?” you might ask. “I’m not hurting anyone,” you might think. But what if you were? What if you were actually causing significant damage to yourself?
The truth is, the more you misrepresent yourself, the more you solidify the idea that the real you is not good enough. This subconscious thought will become stronger and stronger, destroying your self-esteem, leading to deep-seated feelings of shame, self-loathing, and regret.
Honesty is the best way to break those bonds. Honesty is freedom from deceit and fraud, especially your own. There are three ways in which honesty can be beneficial in a very real way.
- Honesty allows the freedom to make mistakes. So many people burn themselves out trying to be perfect. The fear of not being the best, the first, the fastest, or the smartest can consume and cripple. Don’t give into the fear. Let go of your self-imposed pressure cooker. Be honest about making mistakes, only then can you begin to learn from them.
- Honesty allows the freedom to be real. Pretending to be something you’re not only keeps other people from getting close to you. This will affect your ability to communicate openly with others and will keep you from forming deep, meaningful relationships. Pretense doesn’t only damage relationships, it also damages your ability to perceive your own identity. Over time people can actually lose themselves, unable to separate who they are from their facade. Be honest about who you are, the only one you are fooling is yourself.
- Honesty allows the freedom to let go. Anger, hate, regret, guilt, shame, disappointment, and hurt are so often buried deep within us. Sometimes people believe that if they admit that they can be wounded, that makes them weak. So instead they bottle up every distasteful emotion, every hurt feeling, in an effort to feign strength. Be honest about being vulnerable, you can heal only after you let go of the barbs that wound you.
Don’t underestimate the power of honesty. It’s not a quality, it’s not a personality trait. It’s a skill. Practice it regularly and reap the rewards.