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Many self-help gurus advocate total honesty. Others advocate honesty in all situations except where it would actually cause harm. Either way, enough of these people—ones I respect and ones I don’t—advocate honesty that I figure it’s probably pretty important.

Thing is, it’s hard. Even being honest with oneself is really difficult. Self-honesty forces us to admit to ourselves that we hate our jobs, are bored with our spouses, are addicted to television or shopping or alcohol (or Skyrim), are so afraid of failure that we don’t try anything, and are desperately afraid that our family and friends will discover that we’re frauds. And those are just the most obvious entries on the miles-long list of things we lie to ourselves about.

Being honest with others is even more difficult. Hurt feelings are the least of our worries there. Try this experiment: imagine telling your boss how you really feel when he says “How are you today?” Yeah, that shiver you just felt? That’s how scared you are of people knowing the truth about you.

I woke up clenching my teeth so hard they hurt. I drove to work with my tongue between my teeth to keep from continuing to clench them. I deal badly with pressure and stress, and I’m under rather a lot of both right now—and the hell of it is, most of it is self-inflicted. I took on these tasks, committed to these deadlines, made these promises with my eyes wide open. I hate letting people down because I hate how I feel when people I like and respect are unhappy with me. It really stresses me out.

I’m writing this during my lunch break (hence the food reference in the title) from a job that I’m terrified to leave because I need the money. If I didn’t have to worry about where my next meal was coming from, I could concentrate on the things I’m really good at: writing, making music, and taking pictures of naked women. I hate living in a system that’s so broken that stockbrokers make more money than authors and lawyers make more money than artists. I hate living in an economy so broken that my nice but hardly spacious house is worth half a fucking million dollars.

I own my own mistakes. I shouldn’t have invested in property at the height of a real estate bubble that I fucking well knew was a bubble. I shouldn’t have bought a house in the first place. I should have realized that the relationship with my evil ex was done for when I started dreading her coming home. I’ve fucked up and I’ve fucked up bad. But you know what? Everyone does. Some people fuck up so badly that they ruin entire economies. And yet it seems that only poor people who fuck up have to face the consequences of it.

News flash, motherfuckers! Failure is life. Failure is how we learn. If every failure was punishable by loss of livelihood, loss of resources, or loss of life, the human species would die out in one generation.

Then again, not everyone learns from their own mistakes. Some people, when faced with failure after failure after failure of their ideas or efforts or values, will insist on doing the same thing again. The failure can’t be theirs; it must be because of [adverse conditions/active interference/other people not doing it right/other people not understanding it/the economy/the weather/the phase of the moon/the guvmunt/the enemy].

I don’t always learn from my own mistakes either. After all, I invested in property five times during that bubble. But I am at least trying to change, trying to recognize when I fuck up, and trying to learn something from the process. I wish I could say the same thing for most of the people around me. Most of my close friends are fairly honest with themselves when they make mistakes. I guess that’s a process of self-selection, because I tend to avoid people who don’t, even if they’ve been a friend in the past.

Yeah, this is getting too fucking long. And my jaw is hurting. More later. Maybe.


Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
ebenbrooks
Nov. 20th, 2013 06:54 pm (UTC)
Thank you. Hugs are always worthwhile and always welcome. :)
dieppe
Nov. 20th, 2013 06:58 pm (UTC)
For what it's worth *hugs* and yeah, mistakes are how we learn. We get up, dust ourselves off, figure out what went wrong, and try not to do it again. Most of the time we're good at that, but sometimes we end up back where we started again. It's life, we're humans, just try not to beat yourself up TOO much about it. :)
ebenbrooks
Nov. 20th, 2013 07:11 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I'm not beating myself up about it so much as making observations. In a foul mood, but just observations nonetheless. ;-)
neo_tanuki
Nov. 20th, 2013 07:28 pm (UTC)
"Fall down seven times, stand up eight."-Ancient Rokugani Proverb

"Fall down seven times, log in and beat virtual Sith about the head playing Star Wars to decompress"-Ancient Tanuki Proverb

:D
ebenbrooks
Nov. 20th, 2013 07:48 pm (UTC)
If I can brain when I get home, you're on. :)
Chris Wong Sick Hong
Nov. 21st, 2013 12:19 am (UTC)
I hope you're feeling better
Hey. I hope you're feeling better.

Most of those self-help gurus also say to be kind to yourself :-) Brutal honesty is...brutal.
ebenbrooks
Nov. 21st, 2013 01:06 pm (UTC)
Re: I hope you're feeling better
Yeah, true. There are ways to be kind to oneself without lying to oneself, though. For instance, last night, I had a small glass of Viking Blod mead (and no, that's not a typo--they really spell "Blod" with only one 'o'). It was really good, and it made me happy. And what made me more happy is the knowledge that there's a liquor store across the street from my favorite coffee house that stocks many different kinds of mead. This is a wonderful thing.
caprine
Nov. 21st, 2013 12:21 am (UTC)
I send you hugs. Don't know what else to say.
ebenbrooks
Nov. 21st, 2013 01:07 pm (UTC)
'Sokay. Hugs are always welcome. :) Thanks.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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