Getting to know you | Part 1
“I find, in general, people have very little understanding of who they are, and by lacking this understanding one has to turn a blind eye to so much of oneself to just get through life.”
In some ways, it may seem counterintuitive to have to learn to know yourself. Surely that should be a given, right? Well, not necessarily.
The idea to write this came up after I recently bumped into an old high-school acquaintance and after we exchanged the usual: “Woah, I haven’t seen you in forever! What have you been up to, where do you live, what do you do?”, the topic of living alone came up, soon followed by “I don't know how you do it, I'd hate it. I get too depressed if I'm alone for too long."
Now, of course, there's something to be said for introverts (who get their energy from being alone) vs. extroverts (who get their energy from being around others), but it also dawned on me how many people are truly terrified of spending time alone. In fact, studies like THIS ONE proves just how much it really scares people (spoiler alert: they'd rather give themselves electric shocks).
I find it quite surprising and a bit disheartening that people seem to be so uncomfortable when left alone with their thoughts. And I won’t deny it, I completely get the overthinking that comes with being alone because we're forced to confront our thoughts, which isn't easy (and probably the reason so many people don’t do it). But the real issue here isn't what we’re thinking, it's that these thoughts ultimately lead to us having to confront our true selves.
“The more we keep aloneness at bay, the less we can deal with it and the more terrifying it gets.”
Now, I'll be the first to admit that, at times, getting to know myself hasn't been fun at all. In fact, there are days where I might tell you to skip the whole process altogether and just keep sliding on through life. But how are we supposed to know who we are if we constantly surround ourselves with other people and distractions to keep our minds from wandering? As overwhelming as it may be, I’d rather confront those thoughts than live in blissful ignorance, because I believe the greatest care and gift you can give yourself is the profound pleasure and knowledge of being able to say: “This is who I am and this is what I want.”
By getting down to the foundation of YOU, you’re able to build a happy life. Or at least, that’s what I’ve come to find. The more my life reflects my real interests, values, and temperament, the happier I become and the more I get. By writing this, I hope I can make you realize that you can truly get anything you want when you choose to find out who you really are, by knowing, respecting and honoring your rare individuality.
But wait, what does it mean to “know yourself”?
It’s having an understanding of our feelings, motivations, thinking patterns and habits by getting to know why we really feel and behave the way we do. This will lead to you ultimately understanding why you’re making the decisions and choices that you are.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO GET DOWN TO THE TRUE YOU?
By getting to know yourself and what your values truly are, you’ll get to know just how powerful you really are.
The truth is, we live in a noisy, overwhelming world with a lot of opinions, opportunities and judgments. Opinions, opportunities and judgments that we get bombarded with since the day we’re born. Family members, friends, teachers, bosses, culture, the media- basically anything outside of ourselves- all project their thoughts, values and opinions onto us. They tell us how we should think, how we should act, what we’re suppose to want and ultimately how we should live. And we listen. We listen because it seems like it’s the right way or the only way to think about the world.
This leaves us vulnerable to accepting others’ opinions of us as truths. We end up looking out to the world, rather than into ourselves, to know what we should feel, think and want and we worry if we’ll get the approval or blessing from other people (mainly from that list mentioned above).
But here’s a truth bomb for you: the second you require the approval from someone else on how to live your life, cave to others’ opinions, or mould yourself to fit someone else’s idea of what success is, it’s no longer your life – it’s their life that you're just consumed with. This often lead to us allowing others to take advantage of us, waste our time and get away with almost anything, because we’re not sure who we are or what we stand for.
It’s important to get down to the true you because we limit ourselves with these opinions from others and ultimately, our own choices. And this leads to us moving further away from our potential and our true purpose in life. There's no coincidence that so many people are so unhappy with what they're doing in life, especially in their careers. When you truly get to know yourself you start chasing after the life that you really want, because it feels most authentic to you, you’ll be surprised how everything falls into place.
I just wish everyone would realize that the majority of us were created with everything we need to live successfully in this world; millions of emotions, thoughts and possibilities are inside each of us and honestly, that’s all you need.
If you’re ready to delve deeper, keep in mind that your journey to self-discovery is never-ending, but it’s so worth it because your relationship with yourself is a permanent one.