How to Be (brutally) Honest with Yourself | Lisa Steingold

How to Be (Brutally) Honest with Yourself

How to be honest. A walk in the forst with Lisa
This is the ultimate key to living a more peaceful authentic existence.

If I have to read one more article on “The future of AI” I think I’m going to vomit. I’m so over all of it. 

More of that for another day but it’s really why I decided to start writing this blog; because I felt like in a world of social media and AI there had to be some space to get real. 

I think this is probably one of the most important pieces I’ve written.

Mark Manson II

Why We Lie to Ourselves

The thing is we all lie to ourselves. It’s part of being human. But before you can start with being honest, you have to figure out why you lie, to yourself that is. 

There are a couple of main reasons we lie to ourselves;

  • If we admit the truth we may actually have to do something about it
  • To protect the image we have of ourselves and who we are – you’d be surprised how much energy we as humans invest in an imagined version of ourselves (good or bad).
  • It’s just easier not to have to face ourselves (Not sure about you but I’d way rather spend an hour on Insta than have to face my issues)
  • To protect our wounds – we don’t necessarily like to be vulnerable to others where our greatest wounds lie so we deflect by lying. 
  • Our simply to make ourselves feel better.

For instance, if you admit you aren’t entirely happy in your relationship, you may have to say something to your partner which would mean some difficult conversations. It may even result in you having to leave the relationship, and possibly your home. 

OR if you have to say sorry or admit you made a mistake, you’d have to acknowledge that maybe you don’t know everything or that you’re not perfect. 

Mark Manson

Examples of how we lie to ourselves

So how does this look in reality?

Well take a look at the following and see whether you can relate.


  • Don’t own up to the dreams in your heart because you feel like you’d never be able to achieve them anyway
  • Project your own fears onto someone else. For example, a person who is insecure about their loyalty might accuse their partner of being unfaithful.
  • Don’t admit your mistakes because you hate to accept that you may not be perfect
  • Focus on your partner’s faults so you don’t have to look at your own
  • Tell your friend how lovely her cooking was even though you don’t think so
  • Spend time with people in social settings even though you don’t really want to 
  • Rationalize unhealthy or detrimental habits by making excuses. For instance, someone might justify daily fast food consumption by claiming they’re too busy to prepare healthier meals.
  • Downplay potential negative outcomes. Like texting while driving or smoking, where the individual believes they’re the exception to the rule.

So why on earth would you be honest with yourself?

Stripping away the stories we have going on is bloody painful. I mean who actually wants to break down their own armour after taking so many years, decades even, to build it up?

We rarely do it on our own. Usually, life needs to give us a nice kick in the ass for it to happen. 

The thing is that I haven’t really found another way to live. Stopping lying to yourself will give you;

  • More freedom
  • Greater joy
  • More authentic relationships

The thing is that lying, protecting and masking all take a huge amount of energy. So if you want more energy and a sense of freedom in your life, then it’s time to take a good look in the mirror.

As human we like comfort. We spend a huge amount of energy trying to obtain and keep it. But it comes at a cost.

Mark Manson quote

How to be brutally honest with yourself?

If you’ve never done this before it can be really scary. Like a roller coaster, trying to surf 6-foot waves kind of scary. 

After having things under control, it can feel a little like you’re out in the ocean. 

Start small and go at your pace

Start with small truths like foods you don’t like. Or foods that you do. This can be a safe place to start. 

It’s small and unobtrusive. I’ve also found it helps to do this when creating space for yourself. Give yourself some soul time and room to breathe. This is not another task on your to-do list.

Later you can go onto things like why you have challenges talking about your deepest feelings or why you never put yourself forward for promotions or why you avoid being alone…

Or whatever your particular is.

Start with yourself

Don’t worry about having to tell your best friend right now, or your partner. Just start with you. 

It’s incredible just how much we, as humans, externalize things. If someone pisses us off, we will spend a half hour justifying to anyone who will listen, why they were wrong. Instead of asking ourselves why they pushed our buttons in the first place. 

Pay attention to the big feelings and things that affect you

Whilst we try to keep our wounds hidden with lies. The best and most real way to really take care of yourself is to be aware of your own wounds. 


Watch what affects you in the world and watch how you react. 

The key to being honest with yourself is learning to observe your own behaviour.

Ask why?

We typically ask ‘why me’? 

But what if we really got interested in things. You know? Like a two year old does when their question to everything is why. 

Try to develop your own inner psychologist voice who asks you why you behave in a certain way or why certain things trigger you. They don’t ask with judgment, only interest. 

If you can’t develop this voice in your head on your own, see an actual therapist. (Yes this is the part in the blog where I punt my sister).

The truth about being honest with yourself

I’ve got something to share; this is a lifelong practice. It’s a lifelong Camino as we say in Spain.

This never stops. You’re not suddenly honest with yourself today and your life is magically turned around and you carry on. Nope. 

This is a lifelong journey.

The thing is, the stronger your relationship with yourself, the stronger your relationship with the people and situations around you will be. But you’ll feel like a better human and you’ll thank yourself for it. 

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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