Being Honest With Yourself

I met my high school classmate today.  It's been a while. Sad to say that we have grown up to become those adults who succumbed to the "hey, let's meet someday" wherein for some odd reasons, we just put it off until "someday" never happens.

Fortunately, we made it today! 

As we slowly finished our food, we caught up with one another’s recent life updates. In our conversation, there was a part where she asked me, “do you think people are honest with themselves?”

That’s a very interesting question and I was taken aback because I often have similar thoughts but I’ve never asked it out loud in a conversation as bravely as she did. Afraid of being judged as a weirdo or also afraid that I might make people uncomfortable, I usually only read about such topics on Reddit or watch Youtube videos about them.

I replied, “No, I don’t think so”. 

Humans are fascinating creatures. I can’t help but wonder how God set his auto programming when designing humans. How complicated would His system or software be to create homo sapiens along with their individual emotions, psychology, and personality. Because I find it so darn fascinating that humans have this “talent” of lying to themselves, which whatever humans do actually stem from psychology – isn’t it?

Mind you, I’m not coming from a place of “holier-than-thou” but rather I’m a real-life example. 

The thing is though…we humans talk about other people/we talk about ourselves, but we seldom talk to ourselves. Even if we do, it’s more about finding excuses or coming up with seemingly rational rationales to protect ourselves from anything that our brain perceives as dangerous or discomfort. 

Self-awareness is the key here. Oftentimes, I feel this word has been thrown around too excessively that people don’t even take the time to reflect on themselves or even to figure out what this self-awareness deal is all about anyway. 

Or rather, people don’t even know who they are, let alone be honest with themselves. I mean…think about it, if you don’t know who you are, what are the things that you like/dislike, what are the things that you truly desire and would like to go after without fear, what are your strengths and weaknesses, etc, it is hard to be honest with yourself. 

For the sake of this blog post, I will use myself as an example because where’s a better place to air my dirty laundry without shame other than my blog xD 

Dirty laundry #1:

When I first stepped into the corporate world, I was so fixated on buying material items. Not just things per se but branded items. Thank god I wasn’t too reckless with my finances back then but looking back, I could’ve/should’ve/would’ve done a lot better. 

I had this rule, or should I say distorted mindset that “now that I am a working adult in the corporate world, I have to only wear and use branded things so people can take me seriously”. 

How pathetic I was back then (in hindsight)! However, when I was within that state, I had 1000 reasons to support my theory, such as:
- these are investments in myself
- life is about working hard and buying all things you like
- what is the use of saving money if you will never spend it on the things you like

There were many underlying issues for me to act this way, but I did not have the awareness to notice let alone admit them to myself.

 I was feeling lost in life, so I used “work hard, shop hard” as a form of motivation to have something to look forward to.

 I had low self-esteem, so I thought all these brand names could act as a shiny armor to protect me from my imaginary condemnation coming from everyone that I could be meeting.

If I could identify the root cause back then, I surely wouldn’t have bought so many bags and clothes that I ended up throwing and donating, as well as the time spent shopping. I could have been richer by a few grands by now if I could reverse those unwise spending. Because at the end of it all, it’s not about the physical objects themselves that I was chasing after, but a specific feeling that I associated upon purchasing those objects, such as feeling controlled, feeling the adrenaline rush even if it’s temporary, feeling great about myself when I wore it for the first time and so on.

Dirty laundry #2:   

Another way people lie to themselves might not be intentional as it is a form of self-protection that was stimulated by the brain. Because humans are programmed to avoid danger, risk, discomfort, and pain. I was a victim of this too most of the time – from small to big things. 

It might sound like procrastination for the “small” things, but the underlying theory is the same.

 I do not have the attention span and time to read routinely.
Puhleaseeee, you have time to scroll through Instagram reels watching cats and hamsters for 2 hours straight, you are saying you don’t have the time.

 I’m feeling tired today, so let’s just skip the workout.
I end up watching 3 movies in a row till midnight after telling myself that excuse.

(Believe me, I know I’m not the only one with this whole I-do-not-have-time bullshit. You could be guilty too in some areas of your lives. But hey, there’s no shame in this alright?)

 Oh, not forgetting my biggest one:
I am not ready to trade (forex) because I haven’t learnt enough – even though I spent so much time and effort making notes, watching videos, and learning from different mentors and friends. I’ve been trying to learn how to swim while keeping myself dry by reading a book. Good job Fion.

 Another big one that cost me a fortune, literally:
As a short-term trader (not an investor) cutting losses quickly is the number one rule in this survival game. However, I often ended up trying to persuade myself to not do that with some seemingly logical reasons, such as:
 “This is a fundamentally good company, it’s fine to hold onto the stock until it comes back up.”
 “The overall trend is still healthy, I’ll remove the stop loss and see how it goes.”
Traders do not cling onto something for the long term, that’s an investment thing. I brought snorkeling equipment to scuba dive. That’s why I drowned in the sea.

Thankfully, I learnt my painful lesson last year. I have been disciplining myself this year after taking a hiatus – because those lies that told myself ruined me not just in trading but my self-confidence and self-esteem. The domino effect of not being honest with yourself is deadly. No pun intended. I could even use the word 'literally' at this point because it nearly ruined me. 

All in all, being dishonest with yourself often comes with a price. You either pay it right away or you pay it later. 

And let’s be honest about this: When you are trying to avoid the short-term discomfort, pain, loss, or anything that comes with a negative feeling, you aren’t really avoiding it entirely. It still bugs you somewhere within your head. For me, it was losing sleep, feeling lethargic every day, regular headaches, insomnia, and occasional panic attacks. 

Anything that costs you your health and sleep means it’s costing you too much. Sometimes, it also badly affects the people around you – people who you should be showering love and care for but because you are too blinded by your own bullshit, you aren’t giving them the best version of you. On the contrary, most people leave the worst of the worst version of themselves for their loved ones.

Bet you have heard things like these:
 I can’t change because that's how I always am. 
So, does that excuse automatically give you a right to speak in an inconsiderate manner, hurting people's feelings yet condemning people for being too sensitive? 

 I can't take care of my diet. It's just too hard. 
That statement translates into: I'm happy being fat and I will condemn whoever tells me I am fat (even if that person's a doctor) and tell people that this is self-love. 

In conjunction with this topic, I'll quote my friend @pohhuexp (on Instagram) who's a Precision Nutrition Certificed Coach:
Body positivity is loving yourself no matter what society thinks - you don't need abs to be sexy and healthy. The part I disagree with body positivity is when people use it as an excuse to be overweight and call it healthy. Being overweight isn't healthy. It's fine if you personally choose and prefer to be at a certain weight, but don't promote that as healthy scientifically, it's not. 

 I will do anything to get my ex back because I love him/her. Then, you proceed to do 'ugly' things like threatening, begging pathetically, harassing over the phone, stalking on social media everyday. 
I challenge you to look yourself in the mirror and ask yourself, "is this love? am I really acting out of love?" 

I read this quote somewhere that says:
Saying “this is who I always am” reflects a person’s EQ, stupidity, and selfishness. It leaves the other party in a state of “take it or leave it” because you are not mature enough to deal with your own shit. Address the elephant in the room by being honest with yourself, not by protecting your stupid ego at the expense of your loved ones, or even yourself! 

Carve a bit of time out daily, sit in silence alone and ask yourself:

"Am I truly fine with all these?" 

"Do I love this version of myself?"

"Am I genuinely happy?"

Dr. Joe Dispenza said that one thing humans don’t pay enough attention to is the skill to control one’s mind and thoughts. Like training a horse, you can’t let it run wildly – you’d get thrown off the horseback for sure. You gotta sit it down, tame it and then command it to listen to you. 

The way to do just that is to start by being honest with yourself. Only when you can be honest with yourself, then you can set up a comprehensive set of calls to action, if not you will just be going around in circles in pure vanity – like a hamster. 

At least hamsters are innocently adorable. But being dishonest with yourself is nowhere near cute. That is a hard pill that I am learning to swallow too on an everyday basis. When in doubt, I’ll look at them and think “I can do a lot better”.

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