Bring your life into balance

Empathy works. It always does.

Self-compassion, day 3: radical honesty

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Radical honesty. Nope, not my thing. It sounds nice, but not for me. I rather believe what I want reality to be, than be upfront with what is true.

Byron Katie suggests we increase our self-awareness by turning thoughts about others around to the self. You replace the ‘he’, ‘she’ or ‘they’ in the thought with ‘I’.

Castel Sant' Angelo, Roma.

Castel Sant’ Angelo, Roma. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I much rather not do that. It shows up as “I am not completely honest with others about my actions and situation.” I don’t like that at all. I prefer to keep my focus on the other, and judge him for not being completely honest. It’s just easier that way. I have no desire to focus on the not-so-sunny-sides within myself. I rather keep believing that I am completely honest with everyone and everything.

Hum. That doesn’t work either. It creates cognitive dissonance. My system remembers all the times I didn’t disclose information if I thought it would harm me. My system remembers all the times I presented myself much more positively than I in reality was.

Peter Senge describes personal mastery as the ability to be completely honest about your current situation and to hold on to your dreams. Personal masters are those people that don’t get overwhelmed with the emotional tension that arises when they see the difference between where they are and where they want to be. Or who they are and who they want to be. They don’t get discouraged when they are less compassionate than they want to be, they don’t give up when their mindfulness is not as full as they want it to be. The difference between reality and vision generates creative tension, and they use it take a first step to their vision. Their honesty helps them to identify where they are and buy the relevant map to get to where they want to be.

They want to arrive in Rome. They bought a map of Germany, thinking they were in Germany. Now they wake up to reality and realize they are on the North pole. That sucks. And they understand that their German map doesn’t help, and buy themselves a new one. Then continue their journey to Rome. They don’t despair for being farther away than they thought. They don’t blame themselves for being stupid thinking they were in Germany. They take a breath, nurture themselves, get the right equipment and continue their journey.

Hum, that sounds yummy… Maybe I should tell my friends that I have secretively been eating their chocolate, every time I’m at their house. To get more real with who I am. And then take it from there. On my path of more joy, compassion and harmony.

Author: Elly van Laar

I am a coach. I specialize in helping mission-driven professionals bring their lives into balance. I have a Master's degree in Political Science, Leiden University, the Netherlands. I'm currently in an ICF-coaching certification program. I love meditation, walking, gardening, biking, and hanging out with family and friends.

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