What happens when you get to know yourself? | Part 3
“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.”
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. However, I truly believe the greatest gift you can give yourself is getting to know yourself down to your core and gaining the knowledge of being able to say: “This is who I am and this is what I want.”
What else happens when you get to know yourself better?
You start saying “no” more.
Or rather, you'll start prioritising the things that actually matter to YOU.
By not being sure who you are or what you stand for, or even what you like, you keep giving your time, resources and energy away, let people walk all over you and allow them to get away with almost anything.
We're often so afraid of saying no because we fear rejection, disappointing or hurting others, or coming across as unkind or rude. But by becoming more comfortable with yourself you realise your value and start choosing your own opinion of yourself above others', because when you depend on other's approval, you basically say “your opinion of me is more important than my opinion about myself.”
By knowing yourself, and ultimately your worth, you know what you stand for and who- or whatever doesn’t meet those expectations gets a clear “no”. If you don’t want to attend an event, you don’t go, if you don’t agree with something, you speak up. it’s that simple.
And whilst it is a human tendency to say yes to the people who matter to us, it's as the saying goes... “you have to stop setting yourself on fire to keep others warm.”
2. On that note, you stop people-pleasing
Once you get to really know who you are, you stop caring about what it is that others expect from you. You’ll stop trying to fit in a certain box, you’ll stop caving in to the opinions of others and you’ll just live according to who you are. The judgments of others no longer matter to you, because you come to learn that your opinion of yourself matters the most.
3. You might notice some relationships end.
And this is okay. Just be prepared for a little bit of that - depending on how shitty your friends are.
Once you realise that over-drinking on a Tuesday night doesn’t really sit well with you anymore (and eats into your budget), you’ll probably cut it out. And if the only time you hung out with a certain friend was over a couple of shots (and they’re not interested in accepting your invite for brunch to the new coffee shop you’ve been dying to go to) then yeah, you probably won’t see them again. Oh, well.
Ask yourself if these people are all really important to you. What benefit (or joy) do YOU get in return from each of them?
4. You get to know (and own) your true values.
A lot of us have what I like to call “idyllic values” given to us by society, our religious beliefs, our parents– values that sound good on paper, values that we "should" have, but that's not what I'm referring to here.
The values I'm referring to are the ones freely chosen by you. Your true values are not given to you from external sources. They come from listening to your heart and tuning in to what matters the most to YOU. By starting to live a life that is true to you, you start t get completely honest with yourself about what you value most in life.
When you get to know yourself you get clear about what's true to you, you get to know your deepest values and what's truly meaningful to you.
5. And your goals might change because of it.
Once you've identified your values and what's truly important to you, it might turn out that you’ve been chasing the “wrong” dreams this entire time. Once you make that switch, your goals will transform in front of you and you might end up somewhere completely different than you originally thought! Somewhere better, and more true to you.
6. You’ll stop defending your decisions, over-explaining your choices, and apologizing for all of the above.
Once you start understanding your decision-making process and choices, you no longer have the need to justify them. It’s nobody else’s business, your choices are worthy simply because they exist.
Think about it: how much time do you spend apologizing, explaining or defending your choices, actions, and decisions? Your excuse over WhatsApp message to say you won’t be able to make it tonight probably took you all day to type, right?
You need to know the whatever choice you make is the right one for you (if done according to YOUR values), so why do you feel the need to explain yourself? You’ll start to realise that there’s no need to justify your worth.
7. Your self-Confidence will grow.
You’ll stop keeping tabs of how you "measure up" to everyone else, because you realise it was never a competition in the first place.
8. You’ll make more time for you.
Once you learn all of your quirks and values and the boundaries you require to be a well-functioning, happy human, you’ll learn just how powerful taking time for yourself actually is. Like I’ve said before, the world is noisy. There are a lot of opinions and opportunities and judgments out there. It’s necessary to spend some time with yourself to allow your own voice to shine through.
Take some space from what’s ailing you and get your confidence flowing again. And do this OFTEN.
To conclude; by getting down to the foundation of YOU, you’re able to build a happier life overall. 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. 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.