How To Know Yourself?

Know Yourself

Do you know yourself?

Yes, I know your answer is positive but my next question is: How much?

If you really know yourself, try writing down ten points each about your personality, aspirations and relationships, to understand what I am trying to say.

As we shed off our childhood and adolescent illusions and step into the real world, we realize that life is much more than just dreams and expectations.

First we have to define those concepts, break them into pieces and perceive what is going to work for us. We have to anticipate the range of our flight. It is at such a time that that we start understanding ourselves.

Knowing your real self begins with a journey within – a journey we never dare to undertake! We invent excuses, delude ourselves thinking we have no time; sometimes we may be genuinely too busy to introspect.

We live in compartments, we perform different roles, sometimes we have to pretend to be what we are not and thus we don’t pay much attention to our true selves.

In one of the interview sessions, the one basic question we asked the interviewees was: ‘what are your strengths and weaknesses?’

Invariably, they stumbled upon this question. They paused to think and could only mention one or two of them.

As I smiled at them to ease the situation, a serious dialogue would emanate in my mind. I snubbed it at those times to introspect in my leisurely hours, to understand why this was such a difficult question.

While I could come up with many answers so far as my own strengths were concerned, weaknesses would elude me and I had to think deeply to dig them out.

Probably we try to push our weaknesses under the carpet.

To know yourself, know your weaknesses and your fears even before you know your strengths. Those monsters of fear that we try to shove into the deepest crevices become empowered and keep lurking around the corners. The shadows of those fears dissipate only when we pull them out into light and talk to them.

To know yourself, try to answer the following questions:

  • How many fears are still lurking around you and how many have you buried temporarily?
  • How many lies do you tell yourself to satiate your ego?
  • How much have you learnt from your mistakes?
  • How much wisdom have you picked up from your surroundings?
  • How much of your laughter is genuine?

To know yourself,

  • You have to understand your emotions and capabilities and how far you can go to accomplish your goals,
  • How well you can handle your failures and your unfulfilled dreams,
  • How much you would like to acquire in terms of material possessions,
  • What are your boundaries,
  • How much do you care for the people around you

“Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom.” ~ Lao Tzuknow-yourself

Self-confabulation for knowing yourself:

We often talk to ourselves to clarify our doubts, to form our views and overcome the difficult situations. It is this conversation, which acquaints us with our real self. Our opinions are usually shaped by people around us – our parents, teachers, peers, friends…our own perceptions are drowned in their guidance and control.

Self-reflection melts the mist of this guidance. It unshackles us and encourages us to think freely, to think differently so that we can take the reigns of our real self in our own hands.

How Sharing helps:

The next step is to share your thoughts with your digital partner, which just listens calmly and makes you think further. It doesn’t dishearten or criticize, it lets you relax and reach at a conclusion at your own will.

Earlier I used to write my wishes and doubts in a journal but with the advent of smart phones, we don’t even have to reach for a pen!

Some thoughts just come and go, some dreams are quite impractical and some may be beyond our reach but by writing them down, we can ponder over them, trying to figure out whether they resonate with us and exhort them out of our system to feel better.

Our true selves, our potential and determination get revealed at such moments when we try to dissect our thoughts and emotions with our own self.

How Introspection helps:

Are you capricious? Do you get influenced by others’ expectations? If you feel that you are walking the path, which makes you wonder where you are heading…introspection on daily basis, before you step into the land of slumber, can really help.

At such moments we don’t have the intolerance or the prejudice working against our colleagues, friends and kindred who may have wronged us. We just have a calm and patient mind, free from all ill feelings to understand our reactions.

That inner voice, which we snub in the presence of others, is most active now and we too are more receptive. You can discover the reasons of your indecisiveness; know how much you revere your values and what is your real passion.

Freedom of thought and action lies at the core of knowing yourself. They play a significant role in our development too. I didn’t know myself till I got these opportunities.

If you have liked the above excerpt from my book Allow Yourself To Be A Better Person, please click on the link to read more.

How did you discover your real self? How important it is for you? I am waiting to hear from you.

If you have liked this post, please share it at your favorite social networks.

Thank you for your support. Please share your valuable reflections, they are much appreciated.

-Balroop Singh

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43 thoughts on “How To Know Yourself?

  1. Balroop, an insightful and thought-provoking post. Too often we let life run away with us, not pausing to consider our actions, motivations for them, what strengths and weaknesses we bring not only to our own lives but to others. How true that we have to find the time to reflect upon ourselves and also to find balance in such action. I imagine many will either find more strengths or weaknesses – both are an inherent part of us. But perhaps those weaknesses can be a form of strength? And vice versa?

    1. I agree with you Annika, life moves so fast that we hardly get to know ourselves, especially the imperfections that we keep pushing into the corners, adding afflictions and regrets till the pile becomes massive. Blessed are those who embrace their weaknesses to convert them into strengths. But it requires some grit to accept the former as ego overpowers most of the people.
      Thank you for sharing your perspective, much appreciated. Have a wonderful weekend.

  2. This is such a thought provoking post, Balroop. “Sometimes we have to pretend to be what we are not.” This line resonated with me. As I’m experiencing one of the most challenging seasons in my life, I find myself pretending that I’m a lot stronger than I really am right now. Thank you for this. ❤

    1. I know many such people who pretend to be happy and satisfied, who work under pressure and try to please others. Pretending to be strong is stressful but good for the personality and we learn many lessons, Jill. Wishing you peace and a calm season.

  3. Thanks, Balroop, lots of good sense there! When young (I’m quite ancient…) I thought I was a simpler person, but as I matured (and suffered a little…), I realized there were hidden depths and faults…Brought up by loving, sensible parents I was taught to respect and care for others, but grief over too many deaths at one time led to a clinical depression…I recovered, and strangely, learned a lot through the experience and it deepened the empathic side of my nature. We should all try and walk in each others shoes and not be judgemental. Often hearts are breaking behind smiles Tolerance, Patience and Understanding are worth more than gold. I’m a Humanist and proud to say so. Bless you. xx

    1. Many thanks for sharing your insights about life and people Joy. We pick up many life lessons as we move on the curve of life, and the best ones are those that we learn from struggles and suffering. We realize how the glory of a garden is enhanced by thorns around a beautiful rose, how negative people bring positivity in an indirect manner and teach us core values like love, kindness and forgiveness. Thanks for the blessings dear friend. Ditto for you!

  4. Wonderful post, Balroop, that made me pause and think about your questions. I do hope that as I age, I become more familiar with myself, though I suspect that the journey of discovery is a lifelong one… as we continue to deepen and change. Reflection is key for me, as well as asking myself questions that encourage a look inward. Have a lovely weekend. ❤

    1. Thank you for articulating my sentiments Diana…self-discovery is slow and we start understanding its value as we mellow down. Self-analysis becomes easier as we learn to accept certain imperfections of our personality. I hope your Nano project is going well. Thanks for taking out some time for me. Happy writing!

  5. Indeed, describing yourself or writing strength and weaknesses is a tough call and it is one the most commonly asked questions in interviews for course admissions and job. It is one of the most difficult things to answer and it is not just our shortcoming but also our strengths. Probably a Q and A set would make things easier.

    1. I think it is a good question as it challenges you to think about yourself and reveal yourself, as we tend to hide many aspects of our personality even from us, thinking nobody would know but the intuitive people can look into the eyes to understand that something is hidden. Have you ever come across such a person? Have you questioned yourself?

      1. I have tried to question myself, I don’t think I have tried hard but I certainly find it difficult. Only when you distance yourself from”you” that can be answered. I always felt that our intution and person’s face and body language can reveal a lot which is hidden. But yes, we can be at times wrong.

  6. You have covered a big area of our lives in this post. All valid point but to me they intermingle
    all our life. I wouldn’t like to say goodbye to the girl within who had such valid dreams. Just keep them
    and let them still be a light.
    Fears, they vary as we grow but very few totally overcome them all. To some degree they protect us from danger and many are made up in our imagination. Not easy.
    Every event, every person we meet bring something new to our understanding of life. With an open and listening heart
    we will grow in strength and courage. Smiling often.😊 .

    Miriam

    1. I am glad you think this short post covers a big aspect of our lives Miriam…strange and paradoxical as we often lament… life is short!
      Dreams can never be abdicated as life would become boring without them but they keep evolving and change their contours as we enter the challenging channels of life.
      Fears overwhelm till a particular age, they start receding as we experience and leap out of the darkest corridors.
      Thank you for sharing your insights Miriam, they are thought-provoking. Stay blessed.

  7. As usual, Balroop, you have me thinking. I had a girlfriend a long time ago who couldn’t stand to look at herself in the mirror. For her, it was because she didn’t like her appearance. I didn’t get it then but the older I get, the more I am like that. Mine though isn’t that I don’t like my appearance. It’s that I don’t care. I accept it. Why do I need to see it?

    Does that make sense?

    1. Escapism has never helped anyone Jacqui. Unless we make peace with our own self, with the way we look and behave, we can never grow into a better person. Real beauty lies within and I hope that friend of yours has understood the wisdom of eons…acceptance is the panacea for all self-doubts.

      1. Such wise words, Balroop. I’ve lost touch with that friend. She did a few things I couldn’t abide, that I considered a danger to my family, and I withdrew. Still, I do hope she’s come to terms with her past enough to look kindly upon herself.

  8. My true first step in this process was my decision to end my marriage. The decision itself was a year long introspection and questioning who I was, who I had become and what I wanted to be. It was HARD! It also caused a ripple effect with others and not just in my immediate family. So you could say this process of getting to know yourself is contagious. 🙂 Excellent discussion here, Balroop. Your tackling this topic is so complete and thoughtful. It isn’t something we do in life very often. It’s like shedding a skin.

    1. “Shedding a skin” is such an apt expression to define this topic. Nobody likes the painful process of shedding Lisa. Most of the times people choose an easy path of hiding away the harsh truths of life. Even when questioned they pretend nothing is wrong till their whole personality changes and they fail to recognise their true self!
      Thank you dear friend for sharing a nugget of wisdom from your personal life. Stay blessed.

  9. I thoroughly enjoyed this post – excerpt Balroop. Spot on, some people may think they know themselves, denying parts they don’t like about themselves, or covering up, pretending to come off as someone they are not. I’m happy to say I know myself well – flaws and all lol 🙂

  10. Knowing ourselves is like a lifetime discovery Balroop. Your questions are interesting, a good way to stop and look inside. It’s not an easy road but definitely one worth taking.
    I think I know myself better than yesterday. I still have to dig within to know more.
    Take care and thanks for the inspiration today.

  11. What a great, thought-provoking post, Balroop! I suppose I would have to say that I know myself pretty well, and definitely don’t sweep the weaknesses under the carpet. I know what they are and I work through them. I also know my strengths, which keep me afloat. 🙂 I do believe that occasionally we’ve all worn the mask, hiding our true selves. But I think with age and life experience, confidence also grows stronger. Thanks for sharing your wonderful thoughts and advice, my friend. ❤

  12. I know myself better than I ever have, and I thought I knew myself pretty well until most of my life was totally upended. There is also more to learn and discover about ourselves. There have been times when my therapist attempts to tell me not to think about this or that too much, but telling me not to analyze something is impossible!

    1. Self-analysis may be a little uncomfortable, even painful at times but it reveals that we are stronger than our expectations. Thoughts help us eliminate the superfluous and move on. Let the thoughts flow Jeri, they leave us healthier.

  13. Loved this Balroop… Yes the real work begins when we journey within and dig deeper into the crevices of our dark corners. That when it can become uncomfortable. You have to like all the unlikable bits too 🙂 ❤
    Great post Balroop

  14. Excellent post… the ability to handle our frustrations and achievements both define us, I’d say. I agree with your points here. Great post, dear Balroop. Sending love and wishing you a great weekend 😘💛

  15. I know there are many people who think they know themselves but they really don’t. There’s so much food for thought here. You’re very insightful and have natural psychology which is probably why you’re so good with posts like these and why your poetry touches our very souls. Great post, my friend! ❤ xo

  16. A very thought provoking and insightful writing, Balroop. This is the first time i am visiting your blog and it’s great to know you are an established writer :). Yes, I fully agree with you, that knowing your inner strengths and weaknesses are essential for better self development and lead a life of empathy, kindness and virtue. And I feel that being fully aware of yourself in totality makes you more humble. Though I am not much into poetry, but I would love to read your posts. Thanks also for visiting my blog 🙂

    1. Thank you for your lovely words Anindya and welcome to Emotional Shadows, where all emotions are discussed. Humility may have taken a backseat in this digital driven world but basic values continue to inspire. You would find many more such posts in the archives. Happy reading!

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