Are You Real with Yourself and How You Relate with the World?
The first guideline for relating with the world and loving yourself is non-harming (ahimsa), which extends to your thoughts, words, and actions. The second guideline we will explore is truthfulness (satya), which I like to plainly call “getting real with yourself.” Just as the previous post on non-harming, I have framed this lesson for moms with young children. If this does not relate to your life circumstance, the lesson can still apply to any area in your life, if not your life’s journey overall.
Truthfulness and sincerity is the practice of being truthful and sincere with your thoughts, words, and actions. More than that, it’s about getting real with who you are and what you want. Deborah Adele teaches, “Real comes from the center of our unique essence and speaks to the moment from that center. Real has a boldness to it, an essence, a spontaneity. Real asks us to live from a place where there is nothing to defend and nothing to manage” (The Yamas and Niyamas p. 45).
Do you find yourself defending your choices to yourself as if trying to convince a deeper part of yourself that your choice is the correct one? Or do you work at managing a lifestyle that becomes exhausting?
Truthfulness teaches that when we get real, we strip away what we do not need. For example, perhaps we don’t need all of the services we’ve hired to keep up a quality of life that may not even be an honest reflection of our real selves.
An examination of truthfulness begins with you. How consistent are your thoughts, words, and actions with one another? Do you say one thing to yourself but do something different? For example, do you say you will track your spending habits for the next week and only buy absolute essentials such as healthy groceries, diapers and wipes for the baby, and gasoline for the car? But then you find yourself buying a five-dollar coffee drink every morning as you run errands? Can you get real with your inconsistency?
Are you truthful with your expectations of what you can accomplish? If you fold in non-harming, are you kind to yourself when you fall short? Nicholai Bachman advises, “When [truthfulness] is practiced with nonviolence, the remaining yamas and niyamas become much easier” (The Yoga Sutras Workbook, p. 107).
Are you truthful and sincere to your families and community? Truthfulness requires a high degree of responsibility and follow-through, but it opens you to a lifestyle free from burden and harming yourself energetically. It sets up clear intentions.
Practicing truthfulness affects our relationships directly. Are we in groups that support our real selves? Do we allow people to be real, or do we judge, micromanage, or control others to suit our preferences? Every group has its unspoken rules for what is acceptable and what creates its culture.
As hurtful as it might feel, did your group leave you when you had your baby? What would it take from you to be real with this situation? Can you invite members of the group over to socialize and meet your baby? Of course, the social dynamics will be completely different and any expectation to do the things you used to do before the baby was born unrealistic. If you or they believe things should be exactly as they were with the baby adding a “plus one” to the group, that violates truthfulness. Instead, ask how the group can evolve to support you in your new phase of life. If the individuals in the group cannot, then make peace with this. Trust that you will find a new group embedded in the new parenthood culture.
Any attempt on your part to act as if “life is as normal as it was before the baby” goes against the reality of your life. Everything is different with a baby, right? It’s okay to get real with this.
Parker Palmer writes in Let Your Life Speak: “‘Seasons’ is a wise metaphor for the movement of life, I think...The notion that our lives are like the eternal cycle of the seasons does not deny the struggle or the joy, the loss or the gain, the darkness or the light, but encourages us to embrace it all—and to find in all of it the opportunities for growth” (96). We go through changes in life that move from difficult to barren, to vital and energetic, to sustained and content. Find what this season is for you and put forth your best, honest effort to support yourself this way while also practicing non-harming. What can you do that is healthful and nurturing while also nurturing your true desire?
Comment below how you incorporate truthfulness in your daily life. You can opt-in for my email list here to receive your Get Clear + Feel Dynamic toolkit for practices that set you up for practices that allow you to get real with how you feel. You can invest in yourself once you discover tools for wellness!