The first series of blogs to appear on “Perceptions of Self: We Don’t See the World as It Is We See the World as We Are” are written based on the Five Steps to Staying on Track by Peter Branden while channeling Zarathustra, a lifelong friend and teacher of Den Nelson. Honesty is the first step.
Stating our feeling honestly and not holding back, especially to ourselves, is the first step in this series for a good reason. It keeps us grounded and helps us avoid drama. As children, we needed love like water or air. We were all programmed on different levels that honesty could get us in trouble. It could get love revoked. We learned very early that there isn’t always a positive response to the honest expression of the things we’re thinking – our inner truths.
But the reality of the situation is that I work best when I’m honest about what I’m feeling. When I’m not honest with myself and others – I contract. I withdraw from the environment, the relationship or the situation that I’m in. Anxiety increases. In order to have room to be, I have to express what I’m feeling. That’s not to say I’m going to say everything I think, or use truth as a weapon, but to be happy and healthy I have to communicate with my environment in a way that’s honest.
Stating our feelings honestly is tough. We’ve all had life lessons that tell us don’t rock the boat. Don’t bring that up. We’re not supposed talk honestly about the way that we feel because it may require tapping into things that are unpleasant.
However, stating what’s true allows us to be present with ourselves, even when it’s not pleasing to others. It allows us to be comfortable with our feelings. If I’m not addressing my world honestly, it’s hard to be present. In my mind, I slip into the future or the past. I bring my heart, my soul, and all the awareness I can muster to the present.
In order to access the domain of intimacy (including with myself) I have to be willing to be vulnerable and self-disclosing. It’s all about honesty. I’m speaking to what’s inside of me, not what I think makes me look good, be pleasing to others, or acceptable.
Sometimes we say yes when we want to say no. We don’t consult with ourselves to see what our truth is. We don’t take the time to say, “Let me think about that” or, “I’ll let you know” when we hear a request. We’re like tight rope walkers who use a pole to balance. It swings between there-for-myself and there-for-others. We’ve all fallen off the tight rope for being there too much or others of there too much for oneself. This returns to not holding back when it comes to being honest.
We like to think that we’re super heroes. Super man and Wonder woman don’t have any needs. They only rescue, but did you notice they don’t have any relationships? It’s time to revisit those notions of self. Often the perceptions we learned of ourselves were distorted, and yet, they have never been up for review.
There is an immense, recurring temptation to hold back. You say to yourself, “Maybe I shouldn’t say that …” When we withhold from someone close to us, it attracts more withholding. We distance ourselves from people in our lives, which first limits and can eventually cut our connection. It all starts with not being honest and not expressing clearly how something impacts us or makes us feel in a way they can hear and understand. It all begins by holding back what we’re feeling, sometimes from ourselves.