When I became honest, my whole life changed. Here are a few of the skills I picked up from my commitment to honesty. It reads a lot like a journey… in point form, enjoy!
In my early 30s, a heavy cloud of depression settled over me. I stayed in bed for days at a time, binge-watching TV series, one after another, from my bed. I followed the storyline and watched the characters evolve through an impossibly slow progression over the course of 5-10 seasons. It was my way of continual distraction from my thoughts. I’d rarely move and I only voluntarily got up when I required food or water, the occasional shower, and to take a daily mindless dump (this was in the pre-mindful dump days). The most exciting time of day was before I slept, when watched a few fast-paced movies, and sometimes polished myself off.
It wasn’t all shits-n-giggles, though… I also did a lot of introverting. It’s like a combination of introspecting, reading, writing, reframing events, reminiscing, futurecasting… all in solitude, of course. I was trying to understand what the problems were, and what I could do to fix them. I was lazy and inconsistent at the time so I looked for something ridiculously easy to maintain daily. I purposely dismantled my belief system and identity, and let go of my attachments, and became a floater for a while, not really interested in anything except doing anything other than staying like this forever.
I was taking a double hit of crippling anxiety, self-doubt, worthlessness, lack of motivation, and was clinically depressed. I struggled so hard against life always to fall short of others, who seemed to breeze through life untroubled. I was ashamed of my ineptitude, and guilted myself daily for not amounting to anythin. To make matters worse, I was on the last season of Star Trek Voyager, so the wall of boredom was swiftly approaching, giving me a deadline. Finally, I was getting hopelessly delusional (as one does when depressed in solitude) and could predict insanity arriving somewhere in between boredom and just ending it manually.
I had to do something, fast. I needed a reality check, and reality wasn’t doing its job, so I took reality into my own hands.
The single commitment that overhauled my entire life
I decided to start up a new identity around the belief that lying in any form always had a net detrimental effect on the world, no matter how good-intentioned. So at 34 years old, I made a pact with myself to always speak my truth… truthfully. I adopted a new core value, radical honesty (or, as it was known back then, honesty) not because I had some perfectly conceived Superman-style morals, but because I was simply tired of suffering.
This doesn’t mean I’m perfect and suddenly stopped lying just like that. The choice I made to be always 100% honest meant I would force myself to admit any lies when called out (and later I called myself out) and I started conveying information to others in a way that was as honest as I could convey it without pedantically accounting for every insignificant detail and potential assumption. Still, my pedantry got so trained up, I eventually “acquired” a superhero nickname: Pedanticman! 🅿️
Little did I know at the time, but that decision started a ball rolling down a hill that got steeper lower down. This ball gained momentum and ended up smashing through every aspect of my life. It destroyed much, but transformed me, my life, my world view, and my identity in its wake. That ball is now in freefall.
We can not know the potential consequences of every decision we make or don’t make, but we all know how we are all a single decision away from a completely different life at any time. Choose intentionally.
RADICAL HONESTY and its Consequences on Me
- Honesty: I became honest, d’uh, and I owned all unconscious lying when made aware of it.
- Sincerity: my words came across as from the heart.
- Genuine: I got much realer, which made what I said more impactful.
- Direct Communication: I learned how to speak using words that conveyed the meaning I wanted to get across, learned to only say only what I meant, and I learned to mean what I said.
- Linguistically Perceptive: I noticed how much buffering goes on in the way people communicate: half-truths, warped perspectives, exaggerations, contextual omission, logical fallacies, and outright lies.
- Insight: from listening to what people said, I could determine their motivations and reasoning quite easily.
- Skeptical: I became skeptical about what my feelings and thoughts were actually telling me, questioned my intentions often, and got less delusional.
- Self-Criticism: I began to notice my inner critic was lying to me… a lot.
- Self-Monitoring: I started to seriously pay attention to my inner dialogue to catch places I wasn’t being truthful, and I’d replace those thoughts intentionally with honest and fair ones.
- Self-Awareness: as I watched myself from a 3ʀᴅ person perspective, I became self-aware, and today am perpetually aware, even when asleep.
- Lucid Dreaming: since I stopped lying IRL, dreams became honest and my awareness took over whenever they didn’t, so I would constantly become aware I was dreaming, which meant I could control them.
- Metacognition: I had to constantly analyze how I was thinking, and why I thought that way.
- Narrative Construction: I noticed my narratives and caught my self-serving propensity to fudge the truth to myself. I started only telling stories to myself that were completely true, without exaggerations or half-truths.
- Reason: I got good at discerning “just the facts” (always true), from “what I made the facts mean” (my interpretation), which made me logically consistent and quite reasonable.
- Congruency: I developed an internally consistent belief system, life storyline, identity, and value system.
- Scruples: to behave congruently, I started developing internal boundaries on myself that limited the degrees of freedom from which I allowed myself to consider when making decisions to act. This limited all types of exploitation (i.e. manipulation, ego-coddling, triangulation, power games, trickery, cheating, theft, taking more than I deserved).
- Emotional Control: now that facts were separate from interpretation, I could clearly see how my interpretations/thoughts determined the way I felt at all times.
- Emotional Responsibility: this moved my locus of control inside myself, and I took my power back from emotional manipulators. I owned my feelings and no longer tried to get others to feel something.
- Sovereignty: I could easily discern other people’s emotional affect from my own emotions, which allowed me to sweep out their shit and break their spell over me. This allowed me to lay boundaries, speak up for myself, and honour myself.
- Independence: No longer emotionally controlled, internally or externally, I became an independent entity, with clear intent, clear in thought, and become emotionally independent.
- Self-Respect: I was legitimately proud of myself, started to esteem myself, and self-respect emerged naturally.
- Self-Worth: with self-respect and internally-generated true pride in my accomplishments came a feeling that I mattered.
- Authenticity: aware of my worth, I no longer needed to inflate my self-image. I was honestly living within a congruent world view that was fair to others, so my masks started melting away, and I became comfortable with being my unapologetic self.
- Confidence: with self-respect, autonomy and a sense of integrity came confidence that was not easily burst by another’s opinion.
- Self-Acceptance: my confidence stemming from a real source rather that what I tell myself, I became resistant to criticism and what other people thought of me became irrelevant.
- Serenity: there was a lot less war happening in my mind as it quieted down now that I was only contending with a single reality.
- Stillness: I became non-reactive, and able to hold space for others when they were expressing their feelings. I was able to absorb another’s full presence without reacting to it.
- Detachment: a quiet mind and non-reactive nervous system led to complete emotional detachment in the moment while still managing to maintain my full awareness of the moment.
- Presence: detachment without disassociation allowed me to stop resisting the moment, and instead accept every moment as it is.
- Vulnerability: I could accept the present moment with less shielding. My walls slowly came down, and I was no longer afraid of what others thought of me. This was another game-changer that spawned a whole list just like this one.
- Personal Responsibility: vulnerability allowed me to accept myself and take ownership of my shit when called on it. Assuming responsibility for myself was another game-changer with a similar list to this one.
- Empowerment: I got my power back once I realized personal responsibility allows an internal locus of control.
- Addiction: as soon as I started being vulnerable owning my feelings, my addictions started slipping away, one by one, without any extra effort on my end.
- Tranquility: no longer repressing emotions eventually led to inner peace. I could tolerate myself in complete silence without distraction for as long as I wanted to.
- Concentration: I found it easier to focus my concentration on whatever I intended.
- Focus: I mastered focusing due to continual ADHD squirreling and awareness. Basically everything I did became a meditation practice great at continual refocusing.
- Forgiveness: I’ve always had trouble letting go of certain things. Finally, I was able to let go of my past, my worries, my shame, my habits, my self-centeredness, and forgive past abuse, and most especially, I forgave myself. It also became very difficult for others to do anything I deem unforgivable.
- Healing: no longer at war with myself, I started healing my childhood wounds and lifelong psychological damage I had accumulated. Cleaned out repressed feelings, and never again lost control or got clinically depressed.
- Energetic: without cognitive dissonance, I was no longer burning up my energy fighting a neverending, circular war with myself, I started a daily dancing habit with my newfound energy.
- Self-Control: I fought a power war with my bratty inner child. My ego fought me, reasoned with me, refused my attempts, but eventually, my stubbornness won out and I could control my impulses.
- Integrity: I started to value my integrity with myself a great deal, so I would not let myself live out of integrity anymore. I called myself out and assumed responsibility for all that was me. My outward behaviour was scarcely affected but my inner world became so inviting
- Trustworthiness: I became trustworthy. Others noticed, but more importantly, I could suddenly trust myself. That was another game-changer with a list just like the honesty list.
- Understanding: I was able to logically link arguments together and really think in new ways to understand reality on a deep philosophical level I never knew existed.
- Awe: at the depth of understanding I had there was great beauty everywhere that kept me in a constant state of awe.
- Inspired: I was quite motivated to continue on this trajectory, fully immersed in the pure awesomeness of reality. I started jumping out of bed early wanting to start every day right where I left off the previous night.
- Meaning: at such a deep level of understanding, everything becomes intertwined, systemic thinking took over, and I was struck by how consequential everything I did (or didn’t do) was.
- Self-Importance: an evolved type of selfless narcissistic mentality emerged that recognized my potential value to humanity, should I self-actualize.
- Sustainable Passion: from meaning emerges passion, and I found passion useful in many ways, so I’ve always created passion by generating meaning automatically. But with my new selfless self-important paradoxical awareness, anything I focused on would become intensely meaningful to me, not because of me, but because of global implications. In this way, passion became a self-emergent property of my focused awareness and I got passionate about everything.
- Personal Development: I focused on personal growth, paths to enlightenment & spirituality, and self-realization, got intensely passionate, and got addicted.
- Curiosity: with new understanding came new questions I was eager to research and think deeply about possibilities in a very childlike way, eager to understand and full of questions.
- Courage: with understanding came the courage to be heard, and possibly understood somewhat, but at least no longer enslaved, bullied, controlled, or subjegated by others unwillingly. I had the wherewithal to stand up for myself against oppression, I grew a spine and I stood up straighter.
- Empathy: I also had the courage to sit with my own emotions and feel them, which made it possible to feel the emotional affect of others. I leaned in to my empathetic side and was a lot less confused about others’ behaviour.
- Autonomy: I broke free from all forms of oppression whether external (i.e. other people, work, job, financial) or internal (i.e. egoic, emotional, judgementalism, insecurities around safety, security, or relational neediness) and became an independent agent free to self-determine my existence. My fears no longer limited me.
- Open-Mindedness: it became fun to explore my inner world in new ways. The openness to novelty and exploration into the unknown fostered a fully open mind that soaked up information without emobagging it.
- Perspective: I saw things from a wide-angle, objective lens that was unbiased with emotion. I removed self from the equation and became connected to something greater than myself, at the time, it was humanity.
- Self-Transcendence: as I learned about my own defensive strategies, perceptual errors, biasing, motivated thinking, and reality distortion, I took a serious look at who I was, why I was like this, what I could change, and started hacking my belief system, my habits, my identity and studying how I worked. Once I figured out the purpose of my ego and how it operates, I made a concentrated effort, and eventually broke into my unconscious, learned its language, and intentionally reprogrammed myself to my liking. My ego was now my bitch. Like a well-trained lapdog, it obeyed me.
- Aligned: learning to use new areas of my mind and body allowed me to train up new skills, which allowed for a focused cognitive flow I could attack problems with. Every problem solved created links in my mind which would synergize with other stuff, forming new levels of understanding I could traverse at will.
- Clarity: confusion melted away with revelation after revelation. Collecting and connecting dots became my hobby and all my acquired knowledge started coalescing into higher order complexity, which synergized with other higher order information into a heirarchical ordering system going viral. I used my newfound clarity to solve all my problems, which generated more clarity that kept the system fed.
- Intelligence: with so much new knowledge I was passionate to learn about, lifelong-learning became a priority, which powers a strong intellect unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before. TMI became a fallacy and I stopped filtering information.
- Hypersensitization: I was always very sensitive, but until I stopped, I had no idea I was fighting my sensitivity my whole life in an effort to mitigate sensory input. With TMI no longer a problem, I became much more sensitive than ever before. I saw such rich detail in everything, heard everything, smelled and tasted everything, and felt everything. I also conceptualized everything deeper, saw nuanced changes earlier, became precise in my behaviour and interpretation of other’s behaviour, and pedantic in my language proficiency. I was able to glean more information from what wasn’t being said than what was. I also resonated with certain ”vibrational energies” such as emotional energy, intentional and expectational energies, connective energy, and other spacetime-independent energies much more deeply. Increased hypersensitivity was huge, if one is able to handle the information load without overwhelm.
- Compassion: as I started to read people like books from my more detailed analysis and sensitivity. I began to see people all at once, their whole life, past and future at pivotal moments projected onto the same spot in space. I saw people as layers of entrainment, self-protective, and wounded… each with their own challenges, wiring, thinking, beliefs, and style of being. I saw each person as a walking infinity entropically unfocused into disorganized fragments. I saw their childhood wounds manifest as entrenched beliefs and behavioural patterning, and I saw them as lost, asleep, checked out, at war with themselves, entranced, busy-bodies, addicted, spiritually dead, hating on themselves, or just scared shitless. As I could understand the struggles of each individual, I developed a deep compassion for them.
- Nonjudgementalness: I detached emotionally from information to gain objectivity. I understand information is just opinionated data, it says nothing about me and I needn’t take anything said personally. I stopped emobagging information into me or out of me, and it was no longer necessary to place value judgements on anything. I had realized every value judgement is relative to the frame of reference and every criticism is inherently wrong from the get go.
- Humility: I realized the profound depths of my ignorance, and the hierarchy of assumptions on presumptions I was unknowingly making at all times. I became very comfortable with uncertainty, which allowed me to learn and grow along even more dimensions that were previously blocked with arrogance.
- Claircognizance: as deeper layers of understanding unfolded in my mind, the abstract interlinking of systemic nodes was all pervasive. This allowed for a deep “knowing” and what I didn’t know could now be interpolated from associated knowings a lot easier.
- Wisdom: having been through a lot, knowing much, learning like crazy daily, and honestly articulating my truth has turned into deep sagely wisdom I’m able to convey to others.
- Equanimity: I acquired a zen-like unperturbability by accepting all perspectives as inherently right. I categorized the subject/object relationship into a tripartite unity that invalidated the polarization. I was able tomaintain a passionate calm through temperance.
- Mystical: allowing superimposed paradoxes, logical contradictions, and conflicting perspectives to coexist has allowed me to project a powerfully realistic reality for myself that I live in daily. It’s a deeply spiritual spacetime-independent “place” that’s connected along all layers of reality I’m aware of with tendrils exploring the unknown. It’s an inclusive philosophy which shuns the “us vs them” mentality, and it radiates profound meaning to anyone having the emotional intelligence to resonate with it.
- Purpose: Today, I create ripples in the fabric of conceptual reality and reinforce them at opportune times to project a resonant pattern of healing energy. I change people’s perspective on life, allowing their paradigm to shift into an accepting, trusting mode that resonates with some of what I radiate. If they are willing, they will dismantle their old beliefs in favour of integrating their fragments into a whole human being with a purpose involving harmony. I change people’s lives, if they’re willing to accept the challenge.