Updated: Dec 22, 2020
Embracing harsh truths about yourself will make you a happier, stronger and more likable person.
One thing I miss about my mom (she died 6 years ago) is her sharp tongue. You always knew where you stood with her and if you asked her opinion, you had better be prepared for the truth. 😝 She was loved by many, which teaches me that people appreciate hearing the truth.
What type of person are you? Do you speak truth or are you afraid of telling people what you think? If someone speaks truth to you, do you appreciate the message regardless of how or from whom it was delivered?
I'm not advocating spewing unkind and tactless words or advice at anyone. If we want to be heard and want to help others, it's critical we become more effective at our communication skills (that's a topic for a future post 😊).
I'm calling for a self-examination about the lies we're telling ourselves. Self-deception blocks us from becoming better neighbors, parents, spouses, friends, employers, employees and better humans.
In order to free ourselves from these deceptions, we must first be aware of them. No one is living life perfectly so don't feel bad. My purpose is to be brutally honest not to put anyone down.
33 Harsh Truths You Need to Hear
Harsh Truth #1
You've can't handle the truth.
Have you ever become offended when a friend told you a truth about yourself? Some argue that truth is personal and while at times that may be true, are we using the 'truth is personal' excuse to hide our faults? Truths often sound like insults. You're a show-off. You're picky. You're nosy. You're stingy. You're stubborn. You talk too much. You only care about yourself. Ouch!
Here's a secret to deconstructing criticism so you can better handle the truth without losing friends or self-respect. Gracefully accept the criticism and thank the person. Look for the grain of truth in it (it's there if you're honest). This makes you approachable, humble and you'll gain the respect of others when you need to deliver truth.
Harsh Truth #2 You're not as smart as you think you are.
Smart people can come across as condescending or snobby. It's good to remember there will always be someone smarter, prettier, wealthier or more talented than you. The best thing to do is to be grateful if you are any of those things. Never flaunt talents or make others feel bad for what they don't know.
Harsh Truth #3
You're not entitled to anything.
Other than air, food, water and a roof over your head, you aren't entitled to anything else. Were you born deserving more than anyone else? Do you feel everyone owes you something? Or that bad things should never happen to you? You'll never be happy if you think this way. If you can't travel to a third-world country, visit a hospital, nursing home, or a children's cancer ward. Fill yourself with gratitude for what you have, even the basic necessities because everything else is dessert!
Harsh Truth #4
You're not as humble as you think you are.
If you're saying, "Yes, I am!" 🙄 Then you're missing out on opportunities to become a better person. No one is humble in all areas of life because no one hits the bullseye of perfection. 🎯 We might be humble in some aspects but blind to ourselves in others. Accept you're not perfect and realize you'll always have something to improve on. Humility is a sign of strength, not weakness. A humble person not only seeks advice but follows good advice when given.
Harsh Truth #5
Most people don't want to hear what you think.
Have you ever complained to a friend and they tried to fix your problem by offering solutions? How helpful was that? Or have you ever given advice and the advice was ignored?
If you asked for an opinion, graciously accept it. But if it was an unsolicited opinion, most likely you didn't care much about what the person thought. Everyone has opinions on how children should be raised or schooled, or how medical situations should be handled. But unless you were asked for your opinion, it's best to listen and be supportive, unless there's a real need to speak up. It's not helpful to tell others how we think things should be done in their lives.
Harsh Truth #6
You're not taking care of yourself as you should.
If you don't abuse drugs, alcohol and don't smoke, way to go!!! 🌟 But could you be mistreating your body in other ways? Are you eating healthy nutritious food and avoiding processed junk foods as much as possible? Are you getting enough sleep? Are you drinking enough water? How much sugar do you consume? Are you living a hectic life or do you make time to be with your family or to be creative? We can go on and on. We all have bad habits that need replacing. Can you make one small change to take better care of the one body (and mind) you were given?
Harsh Truth #7
You really aren't special.
That's right I said it. Face it. You're an average human being. Your mom might have led you to believe you're special. That's her job, because to her, you are special. She can't repeat making you ever again. Even if you have wealth, talent, beauty, wisdom, intelligence or anything a little extra from the rest of us...you still are going to grow old and die. Your supposed superpower is temporary. The only thing that makes you special is that you were born and that should be good enough.
Harsh Truth #8
You're not getting out of your comfort zone enough.
We do what is comfortable and are creatures of habit. We make plenty of excuses for why we can't. If you want to grow as a person and develop new skills or qualities, it's a requirement to step out of your comfort zone on a regular basis. Make the opportunity, don't wait for it.
Harsh Truth #9
We are a lazy society.
When my husband moved here from Italy he made fun of me for parking as close as I could to stores. I thought he was nuts, but in Italy, they don't have the space we do and parking is a luxury. They walk everywhere. If you live in the city you might be saying "I do too!" But I also know my city friends order take-out, a lot!
We are a country of convenience; drive-through coffee shops, banks, pharmacies and weddings in Vegas. Stop and think about what your life would be like without modern conveniences. I would cry like a baby. My advice (if you've read this far I'm assuming you want my advice haha 😝), park a little farther away and get some exercise. Make dinner, it's way healthier.
Harsh Truth #10
You don't have what it takes to survive.
Maybe you do. I know, I don't. I could never live without a clean toilet or toilet paper (I promise not to make jokes about COVID toilet paper scarcity).
I've never had to fetch water from a well or milk a cow at 5 AM. I've never had to till, plant, water or cultivate food for my survival. Wilderness shows scare the heebie-jeebies out of me. I hope that if I were starving I would have the nerve to kill and skin an animal, without puking. Or that I would know some basic life-saving skills (tourniquet anyone?).
Most of us can't even survive the day without our cell phones! If you had to rough it in the wilderness, how many days would you last? I hope we don't ever have to find out!
Harsh Truth #11
You are ruining the earth.
Do you drive a car? Do buy bottled water? How many plastic bottles or plastic bags do you throw away in a month? This could be an entire post of its own. Suffice to say, as much as I hate the idea, all of us are contributing to pollution in one way or another and it's killing us. The best thing we can do is make conscientious changes in our daily lives to reduce waste. Green living is the way to go!
Harsh Truth #12
You're not failing enough.
If you aren't failing, you aren't trying. No one likes to fail or fall. Parents especially love to shield their children from failure. But this is one of the worst things we can do for our children and ourselves. It requires a growth mindset and not caring about what other people think about us.
Harsh Truth #13
Much of what you believe is likely erroneous.
So you don't believe the earth is flat and that monsters live under your bed. But what about other beliefs and traditions you follow? Are you willing to admit that you could be wrong about beliefs you hold dear? There's nothing wrong with questioning and seeking truth in everything you do.
Harsh Truth #14
You're not living up to your full potential.
I'm not talking about success the way the world views it. I mean YOUR personal potential. Are you striving to do your best every day? Are you working hard to be the best person you can be? Sometimes we allow the negativity of other people to drag us down. Or we might be depressed because we aren't living up to someone else's expectations. Life is short and difficult. Enjoy the journey. Make each day a happy one.
Harsh Truth #15
The world doesn't revolve around you.
Ever been late and stuck in traffic and wish everyone would get out of your way? I know I've felt that way. Well, we share the planet with 7.7 billion people (2019 stats from the United Nations). Our world revolves around the nearest star, not any person, no matter how much we wish it. We all have the same amount of time in a day, how do you use yours? What are your values? Is your position, money, or personal rights more important than anything else or anyone else? Have you faced injustice and would like to make others pay for it?
Harsh Truth #16
You can't do it alone.
In the U.S. we tend to think of ourselves as little islands with connecting drawbridges that we think can be raised and lowered at our discretion. Sorry to bust your bridges but let's build permanently open ones instead! We were born needing help and will need it for our whole lives, especially towards the end. So be nice to everyone, especially your family. They are the ones who will most likely be there for you. Mentor others. Accept help and give it generously.
Harsh Truth #17
You're blaming everyone but yourself.
This is my favorite. Those most discontented with others are not seeing their own fault in the bigger picture. It's easy to blame everyone else for our problems. Our parents were mean and abusive. Our teachers hated us. We were bullied at school. Horrible situations don't need to define who we are. If you're blaming everyone else you need to take a closer look at yourself. Often adjusting our own attitude is the first step towards fixing a problem. Take ownership of how you feel and react.
You're either part of the problem or part of the solution.
Harsh Truth #18
You can't please everyone.
We know this and yet we try because we hate to leave someone out. Or we want everyone to like us. This is impossible. By all means, pay attention to what others like and surprise them with a wholehearted gift. But don't live your life pleasing the crowd, for the crowd is fickle.
Harsh Truth #19
You're not as ugly or as dumb as you think you are.
True beauty comes from who you are within and how you treat others, not how you look on the outside. Beauty fades with time, kindness and love are FOREVER beautiful and FOREVER smart. The things that make us truly successful are priceless and anyone can cultivate them. If you really want to stand out in the world improve WHO YOU ARE and HOW YOU TREAT OTHERS, not what you look like or what the world expects you to look like.
Harsh Truth #20
You're inherently selfish.
You can't help it! It's ingrained. If you're irritated by this and saying to yourself "I'm not selfish!" It means you aren't being honest with yourself or you can't see yourself clearly. I don't mean to say humans are selfish all the time. But realistically, our thoughts usually revolve around our own comforts and desires. How is this going to affect me? Is this going to be good for me? Or, no one can tell me what to do, it's my life! This thinking is glorified in this world. Imagine if we asked ourselves; "How are my actions and decisions going to affect the people around me and around the world?
Harsh Truth #21
You lack self-discipline and self-control
Cause if you did, you'd NEVER have a bad habit, you wouldn't be easily tempted and you'd have no problem saying NO to yourself.
Harsh Truth #22
You trust in yourself too much.
I get it. You've been told over and over to trust your inner wisdom. I'm not against trusting your gut if it's alerting you to a potentially dangerous situation. However, the concept that you are inherently wise and all-knowing is dooming you for failure. Listen to your heart, sounds lovely, but our hearts are selfish and easily tempted as we've seen so far. It's not enough to do what seems right to you...you must search for higher ethics and principles than yourself. (See last truth)
Harsh Truth #23
You're trusting the wrong people.
The media, church leaders, politicians, scientists, who do you trust? Some say, "I only trust myself." If you only listen to people that say things you like to hear or that agree with you, you're trusting the wrong people. Expand your circle and listen to the counter-arguments. You just might learn something.
Harsh Truth #24
You're too emotional.
The problem I often see in myself and others is that we allow our emotions to rule our minds. When I'm stuck in a situation I often ask; "What would happen if I took my emotions out of the picture?" Our emotions can be strong and blinding. Or I might ask; "Will this matter in one week or a month or a year?" These questions often put things in a better perspective. Emotions are necessary, life would be boring without them, but we can't let them get out of control.
Harsh Truth #25
You're easily influenced by others.
Are your opinions shaped by major institutions or do you consider yourself a free and deep thinker? Do you believe everything you read in books or hear on the news? Do you have to wear brand name clothes and drive a fancy car to feel like you fit in? Peer pressure is real and not just for kids! Think twice about the decisions you make and who the real influencers are in your life. Don't get caught up in the crowd. Do your own thinking and research.
Harsh Truth #26
You're talking too much.
How much time do you spend listening versus talking? When a friend calls needing a shoulder to cry on, are you quick to offer suggestions or do you patiently wait for the whole story? When you tell a story do you include unnecessary details? Do others seem to tune out while you talk? A conversation should be like a ping pong match, not a soliloquy.
Harsh Truth #27
You're too judgemental.
Some of us are too hard on ourselves and that can make us critical of others. If we are too busy judging, there's no room for compassion (including for ourselves). We don't know what other people have gone through or are going through. Judgments get in the way of understanding each other.
Harsh Truth #28
You're comparing yourself to others.
Have you ever been jealous of someone because you don't have what they have? Maybe it's beauty, intelligence, a beautiful house, a great sense of humor? Comparisons create jealousy and division. Be glad you are you, there's no one else in the world that does YOU better than YOU. We don't all need to fit into one mold or box. Let go of the notion that life should be fair, it's simply not.
Harsh Truth #29
You're not happy and don't need to be.
Do you think the most important thing in life is to be happy and successful? Happiness can be elusive in this world. Some people trick themselves into being happy pretending they live in a bubble. It's called ‘Toxic Positivity’ and it isn't healthy. It sounds like this; "Everything is fine! I'm fine, my family is fine, the whole world is fine, fine, fine!!!" Ok, watch me puke! 🤢
I'm not advocating getting depressed about world events but everything is NOT fine. The more you pretend everything is peachy, the sooner your world will come crashing down and it won't be pretty. You don't need to be happy, stop chasing it. You can't purchase it either. Cultivate gratitude, humility and good relationships. You'll be a magnet for happiness.
Harsh Truth #30
Your definition of success is unrealistic.
Who are you allowing to defines success for you? The media? Co-workers? Family? Friends? Teachers? Society in general? By all means, don't be an underachiever. Do your best at whatever you do, but be realistic. Don't kill yourself chasing a dream that leads to debt, poor health or a broken family. A small practical house is warmer than a mansion.
Harsh Truth #31
You're too sensitive.
Ever find yourself annoyed because someone spoke down to you? Perhaps they corrected your mistaken viewpoint and suddenly you stopped liking that person? That's happened to me and I've had to put myself in check! People aren't always going to respond in the way they should and are snarky for a variety of reasons. Desensitize yourself and remove the emotion from the situation. If you think with a clear head, you'll be in a better place to make a good decision and still treat people kindly. Learn to laugh at your mistakes and soothe your own wounds.
Harsh Truth #32
You owe everyone kindness and respect.
Even your enemies! Jesus taught that regardless of how other people treat you, it's your duty to show kindness and respect to everyone. If they don't deserve it, so what? Let it be on their conscience and not yours. You be the bigger person, you right the wrong by being kind.
Harsh Truth #33
You're not paying enough attention to God.
Whether or not you're religious or even believe in God, it's humbling to acknowledge there's a higher power to whom we are accountable for our thoughts, actions and feelings. The devil would have us believe that we are all mini-gods walking this earth. Do you see the consequences of this thinking? It's all around us in the violence and selfishness that's prevalent in the world.
We've been taught to rely on ourselves but have just considered 33 harsh truths that need your attention. If no one on earth is perfect nor more wonderful than anyone else, then why are we relying on ourselves to set standards? Get to know God better through reading the gospels in the bible. Jesus gave us much insight into how to be happy and how to please God.
Your Action items
You might disagree with some of these hard truths and that's ok. Disagreeing is not the problem, it's learning to express your disagreement without conflict. Feel free to leave me a respectful comment below.
If some of these truths were hard to hear, ask yourself why. Could it be an area in which you need improvement? If you're not sure ask a trusted friend or family member.
I hope you're doing all you can to become a better person. We are on this journey together. 🙂
Don't forget to check out some other articles you might have missed...
The Truth about Racism (my 2nd most popular post)
Harsh Truths From Your Introverted Friends (my most popular post so far 😀)