April 29, 2009
How well do you know yourself, I mean really know yourself? An essential aspect of our journey to live a more authentic, meaningful, and fulfilling life, is to know who we truly are at the deepest level. Knowing ourselves, like being authentic itself, is a life-long process. The more deliberate we are about this, however, the more we can grow and evolve consciously.
For me, knowing myself has been and at times continues to be a little tricky. For many years I thought “knowing myself” meant knowing about myself (my “story,” my issues, my drama, where I’d been, what I’d been through, etc.). While knowing about ourselves is important, it’s only a small piece of who we really are.
Being fully aware of ourselves is about looking more deeply within. This can be challenging, confusing, and scary for some of us, myself included. We often aren’t sure where to look, what to do, or how to deal with the aspects of ourselves we don’t understand or even like. There are times I find myself wanting to avoid or deny certain aspects of myself, rather than confront them and deal with them directly based on my own fear or self judgment. However, as Eckhart Tolle says in his book A New Earth, “Only the truth of who you are, if realized, will set you free.”
How We Can Know Ourselves More Deeply:
Knowing ourselves is an evolutionary process, not a destination. There are, however, many things you can do that will give you greater understanding and awareness of who you truly are. Here are a few ideas:
– Pay attention – Increase your awareness of yourself by paying close attention to the things you do and say, how you interact with others, what thoughts and feelings you have, how you show up in life, and your intuition and deeper guidance. The more conscious of yourself you can be – in a present and nonjudgmental way – the more you’ll be able to know and understand yourself deeply.
– Accept yourself – Self acceptance is an essential aspect of knowing who you are. Appreciate yourself for dealing with the challenges you have dealt with (or are still dealing with) in your life and also be aware of as many of your strengths and weaknesses as possible, in a positive and compassionate way. Accepting yourself is not about doing everything “right,” ignoring or denying aspects of who you are, or being resigned in any way – it’s about making peace with all of who you are, both light and dark, and choosing to appreciate yourself.
– Get feedback – Allow people to give you honest feedback – family members, friends, co-workers, and others. Be open to what people have to say about you and ask them to be honest. This takes real courage, but when you’re willing to listen to the authentic feedback of others, you can gain a deeper awareness and insight about who you are, how you show up in life, and how you affect others – both positively and negatively. And, remember the paradox – none of what other people say about you is “true” (it’s just their opinion), but it can be enlightening and empowering as it gives you an outside perspective of who you are and how you show up.
Knowing ourselves is an on-going process for us to engage in as we deepen our desire to be authentic in life. It’s not always easy and there are many ego traps for us to be aware of along the way, but when we make a commitment to ourselves, our lives, and our growth – knowing who we are is fundamental and always will be.