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Healing Follows Honesty #MondayMusings

Last week, I was reading a book in which a young girl struggles to reconcile the disharmony she sees between her parents and the ‘happy family show’ they put on in Church every Sunday. Naturally, she was terribly confused about love, religion, society and knowing what is the truth.

I remember one young woman who had so many problems on the home front. She would often come to me with her problems. Her family life was a mess with her mother leaving the family at regular intervals and friends having to convince her to come home. Imagine our shock when we saw an article in the newspaper written by this girl about her perfect family. To this day I wonder what made her write it. Self-deception? Wanting to project something to the world?

Long before we could blame Facebook for the fact that we often pretend to have perfect lives, putting on a good show for society has been a part of the world we live in. The only thing that Facebook does is provide us with an easy platform to showcase our not so perfect lives.

I begin to think of how hard it must be for people to show that all is well in their world. How much energy it must take to pretend. Surely, this has some negative impact on their health and well-being. I know, because I’ve been there – pretending that all was well in my world. In my defense I’ll say, that while I didn’t talk of problems, I didn’t go out of my way to show that mine was a perfect life either. Still, it took a lot of emotional energy.

healing follows honesty

Healing Follows Honesty

Self-deceit shows itself in all addicts, making them pretend that they can control their habits. The first step to de-addiction is admitting that there is a problem.

Self-deceit manifests itself in dysfunctional relationships – between partners, between parents and children, between co-workers and friends. I think we all, to varying degrees, struggle with admitting to ourselves that people hurt us. Also, admitting that we’re in a dysfunctional relationship takes courage. Often we have to break off ties, break up a marriage, and move away from these people and the drama. This is not easy at all. It  calls for action and change. And like the song goes, breaking up is hard to do……..

But if we want to start the process of healing, we must stop deceiving ourselves. Stop deluding ourselves that people will change. Stop telling ourselves that we’re all-loving and all-forgiving and that we can put up with disrespect and abuse in the name of love and friendship.

Only then can the process of growth and healing begin.

“Just as surely as distress must follow self-deceit, healing must follow self-honesty.” – Vernon Howard

 

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28 Comments

  1. Pratikshya Pratikshya December 22, 2015

    It is sad and true that we yearn for acceptance in facebook. And only cheer spreads, no one wants to listen to woes and laments.. Whatever you have written is so true.. healing comes through honesty… when we face it not when we pretend

  2. Mary Paige Hagen Mary Paige Hagen December 19, 2015

    In retrospect, I was needlessly mean to my ex. I did everything I could to pretend that he didn’t exist, that he wasn’t important to our daughter, that her time with him was secondary to my family events. I have never apologized. I wouldn’t know where to begin. Ironically, he had more influence on our child than I did, likes the same things her father does, dated men much like her dad. Moving from shame to honesty might be the more difficult transition.

  3. Sridevi Datta Sridevi Datta December 17, 2015

    A very thought provoking post Corrine. The larger part of the problem is people fail to accept that they have a problem. They are always in denial. In their minds, they are strong, funny and lead picture perfect lives. I personally found you can never help such people. But does the denial do anything to the people who keep showing their troubles under some imaginary carpet? I don’t think so.

  4. Mike Wilson Mike Wilson December 16, 2015

    What a great message: Healing does follow Honesty and we all know that know one has a perfect life. But we should all make the best of what we are given.

  5. Maliny Maliny December 16, 2015

    I have read somewhere that when in distress, it is better to sink in the misery, to absorb every bit of it, rather than to shy away from it, trying to interact with others faking a smile. The process mends the heart and soul absolutely because one tends to come up with solutions that way. Instead of directing one’s energy in trying to be calm and steady in front of others, one should utilise it to admit to one’s conscience that ‘I am affected’ which would lead them to the next important question- ‘Now that I know it, how can I make myself happy?’

  6. Laurie Laurie December 16, 2015

    I’ve volunteered at a group home for teenage girls. Many come from abusive situations. And yet in many cases, they’ll say how much they love their families and paint rosy pictures of life back home. Some will even run away from the group home to live with abusive parents. I’ve never understood that. Maybe its easier pretending than facing reality.

  7. T.O. Weller T.O. Weller December 15, 2015

    Honesty, like memory, can be confusing in some cases. Let me explain.

    Like memory, I struggle with the notion right now. My mother remembers things I don’t and truly believes that what she tells others is honest, when it isn’t.

    I find myself checking in with others after I’ve heard one of her stories: “Did that happen?”, “Do I have it wrong?”, “What do you remember?” It’s destabilizing and leads me down a path where I wonder if my memory has any validity. Could it be just as surreal?

    Can memory … and honesty … ever be concrete? Or, as with my mother, are they slippery things that can’t be pinned down? If two people see or remember something differently, can we say that one is honest while the other isn’t?

  8. Vasantha Vivek Vasantha Vivek December 15, 2015

    I totally agree with you, Corinne. For me, pretend and go off is very hating. For this reason, I used to get bad name some times. But I never cared for being truthful.

  9. Esha Dutta Esha Dutta December 15, 2015

    Great post, Corinne! Takes courage and willingness to see things without the shams that social norms enforce upon us in order to show that we are not victims! I do believe that truth comes out no matter how much we hide it, so one would do better to accept it openly (whether one talks about it publicly is another matter altogether) to oneself and then, instead of harping on it, let go and move on! I think a lot of the times, people so love to harp on that negativity that they lose perspective of life and where they should be going.

  10. Rena McDaniel Rena McDaniel December 15, 2015

    I think when things are not going well I tend to turn inward and not say anything. It was drilled into our heads to not keep what goes on at home at home because my father was a minister. There really wasn’t anything crazy going on, but I had one brother who always seemed to get in trouble. At home, at school and it drove momma crazy. I don’t pretend things are perfect I just tend to think positively…most of the time. Very thought provoking Corinne.

  11. Carol Cassara Carol Cassara December 15, 2015

    Yes, I think that is very true. In my culture, we’re very open with emotions but we also hear the adage as children “don’t air your dirty laundry outside the home” which pretty much guarantees a cover up. But no healing without honest is so right.

  12. pins & ashes pins & ashes December 15, 2015

    I don’t know what to say, except that, people who pretend need to realize that they are harming themselves, and themselves alone.. I hope they understand that there are easier routes if they want it to go away.. fb is some kind of a consumer game, where one is trying to ace the other.. scary it is.

  13. Jennifer Jennifer December 14, 2015

    We do need to admit our problems before we can make any improvement. It requires so much effort to put that perfect false front out there. All while wasting time we could be using to heal and move on.

  14. Shantala Nayak Shantala Nayak December 14, 2015

    I agree with you Corinne. Honesty to self is overlooked, but it is very important. I for one, can’t fake a relationship, and as I have grown older, I have even stopped trying. Mostly because even if it is well-intentioned, it is fake, and that makes it tedious, so what is the point of it anyway?

  15. Vinitha Vinitha December 14, 2015

    You know Corinne, there are so many problems in my family and my extended family. It is far from perfect. But I am forced to fake it which I can’t. People say to just forgive and get along as if everything is alright. And that’s one reason I don’t like to stay in India. It’s one thing to accept the faults and flaws within the family and to ask for forgiveness and to care for each other. But to pretend that it’s all okay, I just can’t.

  16. Laura Lee Carter Laura Lee Carter December 14, 2015

    Yes Corinne, and I have found that hitting bottom in your life can be quite effective in forcing us to face our unhappiness with our own reality. Breakdowns do lead to breakthroughs when we look honestly at our lives and decide to change. Whatever you are are not changing, you are choosing!

  17. Anamika Agnihotri Anamika Agnihotri December 14, 2015

    You know Corinne when I wrote that post in which I mentioned my depression rooted in post-partum distress and terrible lonliness and the part that I healed myself, I knew I was to let go of that disturbing phase and it did happen too. Healing followed honesty for me. But when it comes to breaking ties of friendship, marriage, relationships I cannot decide what takes more courage – staying in those relationships or breaking away. I have heard it from my elders “Mushkilon se bhaagna bahaduri nahin hai, mushkilon main reh kar rishte nibhana bahaduri hai”. But why should anybody need a certificate of bahaduri for leading a life in difficult situations?

  18. Haralee Haralee December 14, 2015

    Corrine this is so true even before the whitewashing that happens in Facebook. I almost fell down when I heard a friend talk all glowing about her husband at a party because this was the same woman a day earlier had told me how unhappy she was with him. I really didn’t think any glowing remarks were necessary so why? Presenting a happy happy face in public?

  19. Anita Anita December 14, 2015

    Agree with you, Corinne. Honesty is much needed.
    Upholding self-respect is our responsibility.
    Have you been through abuse?
    Thanks for sharing & for your reminder about this pertinent issue.

  20. Dr Roshan R Dr Roshan R December 14, 2015

    I can’t deny it… I have been there. Lying to myself just to get over some moments. Now when I look back, I agree with the thoughts here and by Vernan Howard.
    Forcing myself to be honest TO MYSELF was necessary to accept I was flawed and hence move forward… till then, the lies just end up holding you back in a facade.
    Acceptance… that’s one of the key steps to healing, is it not?

  21. Tamuria Tamuria December 14, 2015

    We really need to be honest with ourselves if we are to grow and achieve what we want. I don’t think we have to share our sad truth with others unless we are comfortable doing so. Great post with an important message – healing really does begin when we start to be honest with ourselves.

  22. richa singh richa singh December 14, 2015

    Corinne at times I don’t know what to comment on your posts because they literally open a pandora’s box in my head. It is so tough to be honest about yourself and your life in todays world. So much brand and image running in our minds.. no?

    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues Post author | December 14, 2015

      I think the first thing is to be honest with yourself. Branding and dishonesty are not synonymous in my mind, but I get what you’re saying, Richa.

  23. anks anks December 14, 2015

    Those are deep thoughts Corinne. I suppose self deceit is needed sometimes when you are trying to beat nervousness or anxiety – to fake confidence sometimes. But when it goes deeper, it messes things up. As to that girl who wrote about the perfect family, she was probably manifesting a desire…

    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues Post author | December 14, 2015

      I see what you mean, Ankita, but it’s a fine line to walk, no?

  24. Mahathi Ramya Mahathi Ramya December 14, 2015

    Agree with you on this Corinne. How difficult it is to pretend and show off. Even if I am sad, I can post something positive, but If I am depressed, I can never post a happy, positive one. That’s how I am.
    I know, there are many people who show off love, happiness in facebook even though it’s opposite in reality, pretending might be the part of their lives.

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