Being honest about your feelings is unproductive, and to a degree, dishonest.
Yup. Heres why:
When I say “I am sad about X” I am talking about an unpleasant feeling I had an instant ago. But the statement “I am sad” refers to me now. In reality, how I feel now is up to me.
It’s a decision I make in the present.
I have two main options: I can say “I am sad” and give that unpleasant feeling continuity. Or I can say “I am fucking great” and kill that feeling. That feels like lying because the unpleasant feeling is likely to keep rearing its head. Doesn’t matter. Keep killing it anyway.
It’s worth it for two reasons.
1) My subjective happiness increases when I insist I am fucking great. I don’t wallow in vicious cycles of depression. I talk myself into feeling better. And perhaps more importantly
2) My objective happiness increases when I insist I am fucking great. Walking around with a smile and a reservoir of positivity attracts people. People want to spend time with those who love their lives. They don’t care if they love their life as a trapeze artist or a consultant. If I go out and talk about how much I love my amazing job, people will be much happier to see me — and more likely connect with me 🙂 That makes me happy.
So, back to the question: how to be honest with yourself?
You start by remembering that honesty about feelings is impossible. You can’t say “I AM” anything. What “I AM” is a choice that changes as I finish my sentence. So screw honesty. Aim for useful. Happy is more useful than sad, so choose happy.
One warning. The negative feelings DO have a purpose. At least mine do. They are a stick chasing me away from my current life into a better one. That is the only positive use of my bad feelings. But if I can replicate that incentive without the negative side effects of the bad feeling (namely, feeling like shit) I’d be far better off. And I can. I just say I am fucking awesome and at the same time, I will not be complacent in making an even better life possible.