Guide Know Thyself and Everyone Else

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The choice before us is how far along that continuum we are willing to go. This is how we get in the way of our own growth and happiness. Part of the problem is our propensity to fool ourselves.

Aeon for Friends

We hide things from ourselves. Denial and its companion, blame, are the leading causes of our lack of self-awareness. It is an ever present force that thwarts our ability to see ourselves as we are.


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After all, when we find out who we are, we might not like the person we find. Business professor Richard S. Further, denial can create irrational behaviors of its own. In the face of an uncomfortable truth, we sometimes think that by denigrating or finding fault with the messenger we can neutralize the criticism.

Thus we shoot the messenger, ridiculing and scorning him in self-defense. That, of course, is easier said than done and requires a special quality that does not come naturally to us either: humility.

"Know Thyself": A User's Guide

It allows us to accept the reality that we have weaknesses and underlies a teachable mind-set. A humble frame of mind and a willingness to learn make change possible. It also identifies our strengths and what is working for us. It encourages us to do more of the same and develop mastery in those areas where we naturally excel.

What Don’t You Like?

Without reflection, however, we never learn the strengths we can leverage or the weaknesses we have to manage. We tend to live our lives on autopilot, reacting habitually to every situation we find ourselves in. We can compare the self we want to be with the self that we are presenting to the rest of the world. It is in our relationships with others that we learn about ourselves. Coming to understand how we appear to others is a key aspect of reflection.

How To Know Yourself

Discovering what no one knows takes time and intensive tactics. And they know more than we think they do. The power of reflection lies not in the act itself but in what we do with the knowledge we gain from it. Reflection for its own sake accomplishes nothing. I started thinking there was something wrong with me. Fast forward to my first and only month at Cambridge. Thrust into a completely different environment, I experienced huge bouts of self-doubt and hatred, and suffered what can only be described as a complete nervous breakdown.

I had spent so much of my life working toward what I thought were my important life goals only to find out that they meant nothing. Instead of feeling a sense of pride and self-worth, I spent my month at Cambridge feeling like a fraud and an outsider. At my worst, I felt as though I did not truly exist. Who am I? What am I working toward?

I had no answers to these questions; I had nothing but negative thoughts for my identity to attach itself to. On leaving university, I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression. That year, I underwent a course of cognitive behavioral therapy, and while it works for many, it did not work for me. Almost feeling guilty for the fact that it was not aiding me to recovery, I would lie and pretend to my therapist that it was working. I was still aiming to please others by being what I thought they wanted me to be, even after all this time.

Knowing Yourself Quotes

The only thing that really helped me was taking time out to really understand and learn about myself. Through my struggles, I identified that I was always working toward goals I thought other people wanted for me. My journey to discover my identity is ongoing. Here are some thoughts to consider that continue to help me in this journey and hopefully might be helpful to you:. The truth is that everyone is worthy of love , respect, and kindness. What struck me after leaving Cambridge was that I had no idea what I actually enjoyed doing.

If someone had asked me this when I was at school, I would have spouted stuff that would make me sound like a model student, like being part of the debate team or public speaking. Of course, you can like doing these things, but in my case I was merely saying what I thought people wanted to hear. This was probably one of the most important things I did.

It was hard to let go of the idealized image of what university and my life were going to be like, which had been instilled in my head for years. But once I was able to, it was easier to accept things for what they were, without feeling like my whole world was crumbling before me. For me, this usually means getting lost in a great novel, having a warm shower, and getting at least eight hours of sleep. After this, my thoughts become less erratic and I feel a lot calmer and more ready to face any challenges ahead.

I could berate myself for leaving Cambridge and the great opportunity it presented to me. Any time spent regretting missed ones allows less time to enjoy the opportunities that are presenting themselves right now! Photo by slalit. Jade Yap is a simple soul who lives and works in London, England. She loves writing, aspiring to write and publish a novel in the not-too-distant future.

If you want, you can read some of her writer ramblings at jadewritesstuff.

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SECRETS OF SPIRITUAL HAPPINESS: Secret #3 - Know Thyself

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