Being honest with yourself is important. We tend to think we can only fool others, but as it turns out we can fool ourselves into thinking things that may not even actually be true about oneself. Learning self-honesty is a big step toward gaining clarity, fearlessness, healthier relationships, and more.

1. Envision your future self.

Research shows that many people view their future as a completely distal and different person than their current self. Visualization is a self-help technique that can help you conceptualize what your life may look like in the future.

It is basically a simulation created by your mind, and the more details the better. If your current self is in no way reflecting who you see your future self is, it may be time to explore some changes in your life to reach the truest version of yourself.

2. Be honest with others.

It is probably no shock that the more honest you are in general, the easier it is to stay honest with yourself. Those “little white lies” that are not necessarily harmful and maybe even protect others’ feelings sometimes may add up. If it becomes natural to bluff to others, what are you telling yourself? Even disregarding any religious or moral aspects, this is just another reason to train your mind to be honest the majority of the time.

3. Take time for yourself to reflect.

What is the easiest way to avoid being honest with yourself? Avoiding spending time alone altogether. Alone time and self-reflection are necessary for optimal self-improvement and awareness.

If you are uncomfortable being alone, that may be a sign that you are in fact in the most need of “me time.” Ideally, this time can be advantageous by reflecting on your thoughts and taking an emotional inventory. Many people find it helpful to use a journal or some other creative outlet to reflect on their feelings. It may be an easier way to step away from, and view your thoughts objectively.

4. Notice how you speak to yourself.

An internal dialogue can be a good addition to your thoughts, but it can also be a negative one. The narrative you tell yourself about yourself, can basically translate to how you present yourself to the world. If you are repetitively lying to yourself in your head, likely that lie will become your reality. A common example is, Person A constantly tells themselves he/she is bad at math when confronted with any kind of mathematical problem. Even if in reality, Person A is perfectly average and adequate in mathematical knowledge, that person’s reality becomes that he/she is a person that is and always will be bad at math. The first step in managing your internal dialogue though, is just to notice it and what it is telling you about yourself.

5. Seek help.

Seeking help may mean professional help like a therapist or life coach, or it could simply mean confiding in a close confidant. If you find it strange to ask yourself honest difficult questions, maybe having someone else ask the questions will get you thinking, and then perhaps talking.

A therapist is obviously specially trained to counsel you through self-discovery and possibly uncover what could potentially be holding you back from self-honesty. It is entirely plausible to want to seek therapy but feeling you don’t need it as much as other people need therapy, like after losing a loved one or battling cancer. But in truth, we could almost all use a bit of counseling to help us navigate through life at any time.