Self-Honesty: otherwise known as “damn, I can’t UN-know that”

I’ll start out by saying that self-honesty is either the easiest thing in the world or the honesty_kanjihardest…or maybe both.

It’s the easiest because  (and I am only going to speak for myself here; your mileage may vary) I have a built-in bulls**t detector that immediately flags things for me. I then have the opportunity to either listen to it or come up with ways to ignore/forget/”rationalize”/trivialize the flag.

What makes it the hardest, is the realization that as bad as it feels to deceive someone else, it’s 100 times worse to be deceiving yourself – you can’t NOT see your face, feel that queasiness. It takes little or no effort to deceive others in some situations, but it takes a lot more to deceive yourself. Again, I’m speaking for myself, so feel free to disagree.

The way this topic came up for me, was in re-reading my last topic and planning on writing a follow-up about one of the behaviors that both comes from and contributes to depression can really rob you of a full life – isolating. I was writing my blog post and realized that I wanted to pin isolating of being a guy. That is, I wanted to say that it was pretty typical of men to isolate. It certainly has been true for me to a great extent in the past several years and I certainly know a number of other men who suffer from the same behavior, but as I started to write it I realized that it’s not truly connected to gender. In fact, I had the opportunity to speak with a number of women who were “chronic isolators” as well as a number of men who are completely tied-in socially!

I did a wider survey and, bless the ‘net, poked around at a number of large studies and found other factors were far more likely to contribute to isolation – age, profession, health, being just a few.

One of the interesting factors that all of my “study subjects” shared – regardless of any other factors – was the ability to “yes, but” most any possible alternative to isolating. Ugh, damn it, I have been REALLY good at that technique lately!

What I have found lies beneath the isolating, beneath the “yes, but” excuses, is almost always fear. It’s subtle, it’s difficult to tease out most times, but it’s there.

Let me “out” some of my own fears which have led me to isolate. I have discovered that I compare myself to others and judge myself very harshly, which can leave me feeling inadequate and therefore not a good candidate for being with someone or some group. I am hard of hearing and though I wear hearing aids, they often do not perform well enough in social settings for me to follow conversations and as I lose the thread of a conversation, I fear engendering impatience or discomfort by asking people to repeat themselves. The list can go on and on, honestly (see? this does bite!) but those two are killers.

One last thing I’ll say, based on my personal observations, is that self-DIShonesty is all about staying in a convoluted but familiar comfort zone.

Well, I don’t know about you but all this self-honesty has made me tired and strangely energized – all at the same time!

Lots of different thoughts and threads here; I’ll be curious to see where this takes me next.

As always, I write these posts to evoke thought and conversation; feel free to comment or write to me. I may put my life right out there (because this is what I do) but I respect your privacy entirely.

I’d love to hear from you – honest!


About zolfw

I am an avid trail runner and fitness enthusiast, an accomplished cook, a lover of cinema and literature (although I read everything from graphic novels to professional psychology tomes, neither extreme being literature in the strict sense) . I am a retired Health and Wellness Coach. I am a husband, father, grandfather, and uncle.
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