I was sent an article not too long ago entitled “Welcome to Your Quarter Life Crisis”, — the time period in our 20s when we realize that THIS is life and we need to get comfortable with it. The article explained:
“The Quarterlife Crisis is a kind of anticipatory crisis: ‘How is my life going to turn out? I don’t have a clue; I don’t have a map; I don’t have a vision for it.’ The mid-life crisis is a kind of ‘Is this it? I had a big plan, I had big ideas. Now I’m 48 and I guess I won’t get to do those things.’ The mid-life crisis is understood as one of resignation. A Quarterlife Crisis will resolve itself by hooking itself into a plan.”
The article is chock full of pop psychology that leaves mainstream thinkers slightly more comfortable because they realize their depression is common but also leaves them with no fucking clue how to get happy.
Fortunately for us, humans have been trying to get happy for thousands of years and keep writing books on the topic. I summarize their conclusion as act honest, act dignified.
It’s common knowledge in the West that each of us needs to self-actualize to be fulfilled. The difficulty for most of us is figuring out what activity we should perform to self-actualize.
This is where honesty becomes essential for happiness. If you’re lying to yourself or others about anything, that lie is going to obscure your view of yourself, your reality and what you need to be happy.
Most of us have been telling ourselves lies for years about our past, our future, our relationships, and our values because we didn’t know how to cope with the experiences reality presented to us. The origin of these lies are most often in childhood when we are, both physically and mentally, more vulnerable to trauma. These lies, whether they’re meaningless white ones or profound whoppers, quickly compound themselves and get repressed, creating more complex problems that are increasingly difficult to solve. These lies will prevent you from being happy because they obscure your view of what happiness really is.
Solving this problem is, in a way, really really easy. All you have to do is stop telling lies. Just as one lie leads to another, one truth leads to next. The more you tell the truth, the more the truth will want to be told. You’ll quickly become aware of lies you didn’t know existed and the relationship between those lies and your irrational and negative emotions. Once you’re aware of an individual lie, all you have to do is tell the truth (do it out loud, even if you’re alone) and the lie will start to disappear. Even the scariest, darkest lies can be overcome through simple awareness because reality is more comforting than illusion and, no matter what happens, reality will always be there for you.
When you begin to trust reality (a.k.a. the plan, the path, etc.) and accept that you deserve to live completely honest and free of guilt, then you’ll be able to discover what you love very quickly and surround yourself with it. As you engage with that love you’ll automatically start self-actualizing and, once you do, the marketplace will reward you handsomely because you add the most value to the world when you’re passionately doing what you love.
So, start today on the path towards core happiness by eliminating your use of white lies: either tell people what you truly think or don’t say anything at all. If you don’t stop lying to others you won’t be able to stop lying to yourself. If you’re lying to yourself you’ll never be able to discover what you truly love. If you don’t know what you truly love you won’t be able to self-actualize or find authentic happiness.
As they say: ‘the truth will set you free.’