– Shakespear, Hamlet Act 1, scene 3
Many people consider the journey to spiritual fulfillment and the journey to inner peace to be one in the same. Whatever you call it, the ofttimes lost art of honesty can be the boost you need to find what you’re looking for. It seems that most of us don’t have to be convinced to be honest with others, but how often do we neglect honesty to ourselves?
How are we dishonest with ourselves?
This type of dishonesty can manifest itself in a variety of ways. On our spiritual journeys we often set goals or standards for ourselves that we know we won’t achieve. Sometimes we strive to live a set of standards that we don’t truly believe in. Other times, we don’t live up to the standards that we know we should. The journey to spiritual fulfillment is ongoing and in order to succeed, we have to be open to anything that may nag at us and interfere with the peace available to us.
The Importance of Being Honest with Ourselves
“By your own soul, learn to live
And if men thwart you take no heed.
If men hate you have no care.
Sing your song, dream your dream,
Hope your hope and pray your prayer.”
When we realize where we’re dishonest with ourselves, we can start making a change. It has been my experience, that disruptions to self-honesty arise when the pressures of the world (or those close to us) steer us in directions we would rather not go. As humans, we want to please people. We don’t want to be seen as weird or “behind the times”. Being true to one’s self takes courage. It takes a steadfast devotion to one’s standards. Remember, there is no substitute for the feeling of a clear conscience.
Lest anyone misunderstand, being honest with one’s self does not mean selfishly indulging in every whim of the heart. No lasting happiness can ever be found in an amoral lifestyle. Excluding psychopathic criminals, we all have a moral compass whether we’ve discovered it or not. For some it comes from religion, others discover it through cultural values. Eventually we will cross a boundary we personally wish we wouldn’t have crossed, and remorse sets in. If we ignore that remorse, it eventually fades away. And that’s when self-dishonesty takes its hold.
Peace comes from knowing where we stand and living up to those standards – whatever they may be. If we deny ourselves of that, we will never live up to the potential spiritual fulfillment we’re capable of. Our journey will seem long and arduous and it will lack any real sign of progress.
Start with a New Beginning
More than once we will find ourselves off the true path. Don’t worry, all is not lost. Many times a quick self-assessment is all that it takes to clear up anything keeping us from true inner peace. Other times it might seem as though you’re steering an ocean barge. Only determination and a firm resolution to your own principles can get you there. But rest assured you will get there.
“Do what you feel in your heart to be right, for you’ll be criticized anyway. You’ll be damned if you do and damned if you don’t.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt
Look to others who share your values for support. Friends worth having won’t stand in the way of your spiritual journey. Have courage and you will be successful.
Have any thoughts or experiences you’d like to share? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.