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This Above All: to Thine Own Self be True

–  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?

Spiritual Journey

Honesty keeps us free on the path to spiritual fulfillment.

 

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.”

–Parkenham Beatty

 

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.

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About Brandon Freund

Brandon enjoys helping businesses build and effective online presence at his home base Big Dogs Internet Marketing. He is an avid lover of self-improvement - mostly because he knows he has so much work to do! When not writing here, you can find him writing for the Big Dogs blog.

About Brandon Freund

Brandon enjoys helping businesses build and effective online presence at his home base Big Dogs Internet Marketing. He is an avid lover of self-improvement - mostly because he knows he has so much work to do! When not writing here, you can find him writing for the Big Dogs blog.

Comments

  1. Shakespeare has always been right in this…the true self is what we all strive for and look for

  2. the Eleanor Roosevelt is my personal favorite…the authentic self if the best self.

  3. There’s a lot to be said for periodic reexaminations of your life and your goals. You’re not the same person at 20 as you are at 40 or 60. Being true to yourself means above all, knowing who you are.

    K.

  4. Hey, no fair – you made me think!

  5. And some people consider it to be denial and burying your head in the sand…

    Cheers John

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  6. I know that for my self, it wasn’t until I was true to my self and what I was doing that I began working on my website the way that I knew I needed to do. I kept putting things off for a long time, but by being true to myself, I began putting effort and seeing at least some results from those efforts.

    Like what’s going on here!
    Grady Pruitt recently posted..How I’m Achieving My Goals In Life — And How You Can, Too!My Profile

  7. I like to use a phrase when I’m exercising, and I feel like walking instead of running .. no one else is around, so no one will see me .. it would be easy to stop. But then I can hear myself say “Todd, you’d only be cheating yourself”.

    I’ve never consciously thought about applying this to other areas of self-development, but upon reading your article, it makes sense that I should. Thanks.
    Todd Morris recently posted..Do You Like Pizza Or Hamburgers?My Profile

  8. You know it’s very interesting that both blogs of the great contest of ours fits me just great. The one from my team which theme is “authentic writing” and this one which is what I might call “self-development” fits me just fine too. Great work, guys!!! I’ll be coming back.
    Sylviane Nuccio recently posted..Is Success Really Easy To Attain?My Profile

    • Sylviane! Thank you for dropping by. Yes, I think both have the potential to be great blogs – both have themes that are a good fit for many of us, in fact. Hey, if we weren’t on opposite sides of this “Surviving the Blog” contest, I could say that out loud. Whoops – I did, didn’t I? 🙂

  9. I believe swallowing one’s personal thoughts or belief are OK for the good of the cause whether it be family, a group of friends or maybe a work meeting–but it should be the exception.

    The problem for me is allowing that behavior to become a habit. I think it’s beneficial to have a few close friends in real time or online that know us and aren’t afraid to help us out with some thoughtful humility.

    I’m the most gullible person I know when I’m lying to myself 🙂

    Dave

  10. Great points! As Les Brown said: “Stand up for what you believe in, or you will fall for anything.” Stand strong, it is only through a triumph of correct principles that we can truly find peace.

  11. I really enjoyed this post. Thanks Brandon.

  12. I just saw Mindy’s comment and actually had to respond with – I JUST read that quote again this morning. How appropriate for this post. LOL
    Dawn recently posted..The other me is on tour…My Profile

  13. This is a very thought-provoking piece, and in honesty has made me pause to reflect on my own somewhat criss-crossed journey of spirituality and faith. My obstacles? A good question – and something for me to consider.
    You write well, Brandon.
    Dawn recently posted..The other me is on tour…My Profile

  14. Mindy Carter says:

    “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” – Dr. Seuss

  15. “Lest anyone misunderstand, being honest with one’s self does not mean selfishly indulging in every whim of the heart.”
    An important distinction. Great post.
    Bridge Social Media recently posted..Round 3 of SPIRITED contest starts today!My Profile