It’s that simple. Be honest, all the time. With yourself and with others. Your problems will go away.
We lie because we feel the truth is unacceptable. Whenever you lie, you diminish yourself. You send yourself a signal that you matter less than the feelings of the person you’re lying to. You help neither of you. You create problems.
There are many ways to lie. Every time you tell yourself you have to do something you don’t really want to do, that’s a lie. If you work at a job you hate, that’s a lie. If you’re with a person you don’t love — or if you feel you can’t tell him or her anything about you — that’s a lie. You betray yourself — by acting like you like someone you don’t like, pretending you don’t feel violated when you do, saying you don’t want something that you do, keeping your mouth shut when you have something to say — and when you betray yourself, you chip away at your integrity, your boundaries, your wholeness as a person.
Don’t tell any lies. Start small: don’t tell any lies for an hour. Hold yourself to it, and see how freeing it is. Because all the decisions have been made for you. You don’t have to apologize or feel guilty or feel sorry — you made a pledge to yourself. You’re being honest now. Then do it for an entire day. Then take it from there. What you’ll find is everything else falls into place — because you’re no longer conducting your life as a negotiation of other people’s needs and feelings and opinions but instead as an expression of your own.
Tell the truth in your writing, and your writing problems fall away. Cliche, lagging, dullness, explaining, vagueness, awkwardness, predictability, wandering, flatness, imprecision, thinness, weakness, laxity, jerkiness, wordiness, passivity, exposition, choppiness, boring, talkiness, slowness, undefined, static, tired — these are problems of not telling the truth. The minute you force truth front and center into every moment of your story — every moment of your life — your writing leaps off the page. You don’t have to worry about all that other stuff.
Don’t tell the truth, and it shows up on the page and in your life. Fix it in one area, and you fix it in all areas. Don’t settle for any less than you deserve — full honesty, full integrity, vital boundaries, pages that live.