Self-Honesty is the Key to Lasting Happiness

March 27, 2023 Joanna Satterwhite

Generally speaking, I'm not a very good liar, but I am excellent at lying to myself. I count myself amongst the majority in this department. Most people value honesty and seek to use it in their relations with others, but when it comes to themselves, they may be so adept at deception that they don't even know they're doing it. But self-honesty and not lying to yourself matters.

Lying to Yourself that You're Happy Doesn't Make It True

The most common lie we tell ourselves is that we're happy. This is a pragmatic lie. It keeps the ball moving and life from falling apart at the seams. In the end, though, it always catches up with you. As far as lies go, this one doesn't hold up to scrutiny. 

Recently, I've been telling myself this lie. I haven't been doing it consciously; more likely than not, it's slipped into my identity as a very function of writing for this blog. I've assumed that part of the job description of contributing to Living a Blissful Life was being a master of bliss. Sure, I may have admitted to a little emotional stumble here and there to make my bliss seem authentic, but I've held tight to the assumption that I am a happy, perfectly enlightened bodhisattva.

The Benefits of Self-Honesty

Last week, I got in a car wreck, and as an inexplicable side effect, this lie has come out in the wash. The wreck wasn't all that bad, and I wasn't hurt, but it managed to shake me—enough to knock loose the lie I'd been telling myself. I'm not happy. What a relief it's been to admit that. I wouldn't go as far as to say I'm unhappy, but finally, for the first time in a long time, I dropped the label I'd been clinging to. 

Beyond just being a relief, self-honesty creates space for change. If you can't own up to how you're feeling, you can't change it. The minute you face the way you feel, you've created an opportunity for evolution. For my own part, accepting that I'm not especially happy these days has put me in conversation with myself about the reasons why I'm here and what I can do about it. It's helped me to realize that it's not a monumental shift in the direction of my life that I need in order to trend back towards bliss; it's subtle adjustments to my attitude. It's allowed me to admit, without shame or self-judgment, that I've let my priorities stray. It's given me back some hope, something I haven't felt much in the past month. 

I encourage you to be honest with yourself even when the truth isn't convenient. The more honest with yourself you can be, the closer to durable happiness you'll become. 

APA Reference
Satterwhite, J. (2023, March 27). Self-Honesty is the Key to Lasting Happiness, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 13 from

Author: Joanna Satterwhite

Joanna is a writer and teacher based in Atlanta. Find her on Substack and Instagram

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