Friday Wisdom: Polonius Was Right

This above all: to thine own self be true;

And then it must follow as the night the day,

Thou canst not then be false to any man.

— Hamlet, Act I, Scene iii

That entire soliloquy has some excellent life advice in it, and it’s worth committing the whole thing to memory. Everything Polonius said is still true and relevant today. I’m going to focus, though, on the statement above, because it’s the keystone in the arch of fulfilling relationships.

In this context, “true” doesn’t mean “in line with your values”, although that is also true. It means “honest”.

Being honest with yourself about yourself is hard, because there are going to be things about yourself that you don’t necessarily like. The good news is that you’ll also find things about yourself that you do like. You don’t have to like everything about yourself to know that you are still a worthy human being, that you are a child of the stars just like everyone else, and that you have the right to be here. That you are still deserving of love.

Self-honesty is the basis of emotional health, of self-confidence, and self -respect. From self-respect comes good boundaries, from good boundaries comes trust of others, and from trust of others comes love. Without self-honesty, honest and healthy relationships are impossible.

In short, a happy life begins with being honest with yourself about who and what you are — and are not.