“Children start out being very honest. They are true to themselves and don't care about what others think of them,” says Alberta-based parenting expert and speaker Nola Peacock. “Then, when they start school, they start to notice what others do and that others are watching and judging them. They start to want to fit in and belong. They start to give up who they truly are.”
Indeed, it seems we often spend much of our lives after childhood trying to find our way back to that place of being so secure in ourselves that we live in the moment and dance like nobody is watching.
“There are a few reasons we find it hard to live our truths: a lack of awareness of our innate gifts and talents, a lack of faith in our ability to actualize them due to false limiting beliefs, and the most common reason – fear, in all its forms,” says Nina Taylor, a Toronto-based intuitive coach, yoga teacher and writer.
Though difficult to master, living your truth has a number of benefits when you finally achieve it – perhaps most notably, you become the best version of you.
Become the best version of yourself
“The ‘best version of yourself’ is the most authentic version of yourself, all your flaws and failures included. After all, there is only one you, and the world needs you just as you are!” Taylor says.
When we show up as honestly as we can, she explains, with our imperfections and vulnerabilities exposed, we create the opportunity for deeper, more heartfelt connections with others.
“In showing up honestly we are giving permission for others to show up in their authenticity as well, liberating them from the pain and suffering of trying to fit someone else's mold.”
Form better relationships
“As long as you put on the mask of who you think you need to be for someone to love you, you'll never feel truly loved and appreciated. Instead, you'd be building false relationships, which is exhausting! And laced with so much resentment because you'd always feel like you were working so hard to keep the relationships afloat when in reality, your effort would be coming from a need to keep your false identity afloat,” Taylor says.
She adds that the only way to have a truly fulfilling relationship is to practise what she calls radical honesty, with compassion and respect for yourself and whomever you're in a relationship with. And if you find that people can't handle your honesty, don’t worry about it.
“It is safe to say they are not a good match for you and you'd be better off without them in your life,” Taylor says.
Parent with honesty
The value of honesty comes full circle in one of the most important relationships we can have – that with our children.
“I believe that truth is vital in parenting,” Peacock says.
“Children are mirrors for their parents. If parents are unhappy or stressed, their kids will be, too. Kids are very intuitive and they sense when things are off. Parents often try to hide things from their kids, but the truth is kids sense things.”
If there’s a problem at home for example, it’s far better to be honest with children, Peacock explains – using age-appropriate language – than to try to pretend things are fine.
Children pick up on everything, and are always observing their parents.
“If parents are not living their own truth, kids won't either,” Peacock says. “If parents are going to a job they dislike every day and telling their kids they have to go to work because it's the only way to pay the bills, kids will take on the belief that the only way to make a living is to have a job that is not fun or enjoyable.”
Peacock believes strongly in the importance of everyone living their purpose and following their heart.
“Each one of us is here on the planet for a reason. We are not all meant to be accountants, doctors, lawyers – some people are here to entertain us, to create beauty in the world, or to teach.”
She adds, “I love when I am working with a young client and they realize that I see who they truly are. They light up and the sparkle comes back in their eyes. Kids are amazing and much wiser than we give them credit for. This is why I feel so strongly about truth. If each of us was true to ourselves, our world would be a much happier and peaceful place.”