“Relate truthfully with yourself.”

[Narrators note: This post continues from yesterday.]

Step number two in finding happiness is to commit to living truthfully in all of your relationships.  The hardest of which is yourself.

We all learn that we need to be honest with other people.  Well, not all of us, but it seems to be a basic moral principle of most people, and when we are done today, we’ll solve that anyways, so I won’t go into too much detail on that.  However, what we don’t really learn is to be honest with ourselves – and it is here where we really trip ourselves up in the path to happiness.

The problem is that as a child, no one is honest with us.  Our parents, teachers, friends, society, they all lie to us.  If you want, I’ll give you specific examples, but I am sure you can find places in your own life that you can remember where they lied to protect specific interests. So what all this lying did was teach you that it is okay to lie to yourselves to protect yourself.  So you did.

Let me show you how this works to your disadvantage with an example from myself to show you how this works.

I am a very anxious person.  Just am.   Let’s examine why.

An event happens, and I start asking myself a bunch of “what if” questions.  For example, a friend doesn’t answer the phone and I say “what if they were kidnapped.”  Now both you and I both know that the likelihood of anyone we know being kidnapped is very rare, but none the less, I start getting anxious – and stay anxious until I hear from my friend.

So let me ask you something, what do I gain with my anxiety?  I’ll answer for you.  It forces me to remember that there is something important out there that needs to be resolved – kind of a mental red string around my finger.  Trust me it works.  I don’t forget things that I need to do.

One more step and you’ll get the point of all this, I promise.

Why do I need this kidnapping issue to be resolved and create anxiety to remind myself?  Because I need my life to be in order, which means no outstanding issues (such as unreachable friends) and for me to be in control of my environment.  That is the base reason.

So look what I did here.  In order to ATTEMPT to control my environment (which we can’t do, right), I lied to myself, and said there is something I can do – I can worry about it.  But worrying doesn’t accomplish anything does it?  It just makes me unhappy.

Whew.  We did it.  A full example of where we lie to ourselves and in doing so create our own unhappiness.

Now you will find sometimes that they you tell yourself outright lies, other times they are denials, and still other times they are you fooling yourself.  However, in all cases they are you not telling the truth to yourself.  And in all cases, they are making you unhappy since you are suffocating your true self as you live untruthfully.

P.S. Tomorrow, we’ll discuss how to live a truthful life.

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