Know thyself. I’m sure you’ve heard this a time or two for well-meaning people. How does this sit with you? It seems profound and for the most part a very terse way of passing on some simply or maybe confusing advise. It’s brevity makes it elusive. It’s simplicity is what I find to be it’s difficulty to put into action. I suppose it eludes me and leaves me asking “what does that look like?”
Certainly it means taking inventory of our values and wants and pushes us to understand ourselves completely. However, if this leaves you soul-searching only to end up confused, you certainly are not alone. But part of understanding yourself is key to finding peace in that understanding. To those of you who feel truly connected and have a strong sense of self already, I praise you for your gift. But for some of us, we struggle with our identity. Guilt, depression, uncertainty, difficulty making decisions and regret are feelings almost everyone deals with from time to time. There is people, however, who manage to live life without questioning themselves – certain in their actions and do not experience these feelings or at least make them just a passing thought. I know because my father is one of these “lucky” people. He goes through life with such strength and self-assurance that I wonder how he became this way. I would give anything to lead a life of unquestioning my actions. He is but a unusual person in my opinion. And I am so impressed with the ease that he moves through life. He can do anything. At 71 years of age, he climbs roofs, writes poetry, was a teacher who has mastered the English language, he can predict the outcome of movies, fix up cars and do just about anything he wants to. But I’m not like him. Knowing myself comes down to one thing that I can say never changes. I know I’m a good person and I would do just about anything for people. That’s really all that I never question. But the rest is up for debate for the most part. I know that conviction can easily be thwarted. I have the tendency to think too much. I’ve written about this and really while it is good to be introspective to a degree, sometimes we find ourselves questioning who we really are, what we are capable of, what moves us. On one hand, it keeps us accountable. On the other it is damaging to ultimately “knowing thyself.”
So how do you get from self-doubt to firmly trusting in and acting from a point of true understanding and acceptance – even unwavering certainty that everything you do comes from the simply stated yet difficult to attain knowledge of who you are at the core. Further, being satisfied with this self-understanding to the point that things that plague those unfortunate souls who have for whatever reason, have not been blessed or actively sought and found their center. I like to think of it in terms of your center. I think it is a worthy endeavor to know and trust your center. It’s very easy to go astray. I think those of us that are more concerned with others tend to have a weak center. People pleasers I suppose. Women tend to fall into this category. I know I do. I have always been the peace maker in the family. I thought if I could ensure everyone else was happy, then I was content. This is a terrible way to live. Be a little selfish and take care of you first. Let go of the unrealistic idea that you are responsible for others happiness. As I’ve learned the hard way, you will just get farther away from you.
To be truly successful in life, whatever that means to you, you’ve got to put yourself first. And by putting yourself first I mean establish your standards, be kind to yourself, learn what your essence is and take action accordingly. Getting to know thyself is a worthy endeavor. I can’t think of anything more significant in lowering anxiety, depression, rumination about decisions and feeling pulled in any direction only to appeal to others at the time.
What does it feel like to know thyself? It will create inside of you a person who moves with certainty, unapologetic. Guilt or remorse will not haunt you. You may not make everyone happy – people may not like your new found peace. They are insecure as well. Anyone who grasps the concept of unapologetic living because everything they do is done from a solid center, will enjoy freedom that is the greatest gift a human could possess. I would love to naturally have this gift such as my father has, but I’ve had to find it. And it feels amazing. I’m still not all there. It’s sometimes difficult to not question my actions or doubt myself, but at least I’m working on it. I know you’ve maybe heard this before and maybe it sounded like advice that was just overused or sort of void of any real effort on the deliver of the message – so simplistic that it seemed like they just really repeated something that they heard without much thought. I mean can anyone explain to you how this will look to you, what changes you may need to fix your thinking? No it is truly yours to determine.
I’m trying too. Like those who throw out this advice. I feel I’m not doing this justice myself. And how many articles can you read about being your best self. I will admit sometimes I get frustrated with the advice about absolutely everything. Health and wellness are booming business. It seems people will do anything to find happiness. And ya know what people are really not all that happy in this time. So knowing thyself may be a simple statement that begs for more explanation. I tried to cover that a little here. It certainly has nothing to do with perfection – what a frustrating way to try to live. Believe me, I was one! It is ruinous to be driven by perfection. That is not what this is about. It is truly about honoring the person that you are, solidly moving through life with conviction as your mentality. It’s beautiful and attractive to witness – and you will know – when someone carries themselves in this manner. I watch my father. I’m lucky to have an example so close to me. He is the most amazing person I’ve ever met.
How close are you in knowing yourself? I’d love to hear your take on this. It is a worthy undertaking in my opinion. As I grow closer to this I feel pride and I’m more certain in my judgement of my personhood. And I can see this reflected back to me in a dramatic way. From dating to quieting the doubt about decisions has been rewards that have brought me closer to self-understanding and even more, self-love. Keep searching till it sticks!!