Know Thyself: A Short Essay on The Importance of Knowing
Stop for a moment.
Take a deep breath in, now breathe out slowly.
Take a deep breath in, now breathe out slowly.
Be mindful of your surroundings and begin to look around the room that you are in. Do you notice anything that you haven’t noticed before? Focus your mind on the noises that are ambient in your environment. Are there any sounds that draw your attention?
Take a deep breath in, now breathe out.
Begin to look inward, feel your heartbeat throughout your body. Feel your breath as it rises from the bottom of your stomach, makes its way up through your chest, and the warm air leaves your lips. Be mindful. Be present. Be you.
Take a moment to find yourself. Take a moment to get to know yourself and who you truly are. By being present within the now, it allows us to disregard everything that is outside of ourselves. We rid ourselves of the past, we stop looking into the future, and we disconnect from the external world and society that plagues our being.
Know yourself, know thyself, and be yourself.
But what exactly does that mean? Is it some cliché Instagram post or Facebook status? I’ll tell you what it isn’t, to find yourself, isn’t a consequence of any outside forces, actions, beings, or persons. There is no-thing outside of whom you are that is the key or gatekeeper to whatever lies within.
The ancient Greeks traveled to the Oracle at Delphi to seek wisdom and knowledge. Before they entered the Oracle, there above the entrance, was in scripted “Gnothi Seauton” or translated “Know Thyself”. This saying was purposefully placed above the oracle, and would soon after be a prominent hashtag, as those who seek wisdom must first know who they are before obtaining any wisdom and enlightenment from outside forces.
If you know yourself, you will come to realize that everything that you need is within you. All of the power in the world lies within each and every one of us. It is deep within, waiting to be unburied.
“We say act yourselves, not acknowledging some have never met themselves”.
Those who truly know who they are didn’t always have the easiest path or journey to self-actualization. They fought with society and the image that they were told to be, and, to play the part. They had battles with their emotions, some they won and many they lost. They went to war with their insecurities, a victory often hard won.
We don’t meet or get to know ourselves just by being born. Birth is something that is gifted, a gift that is unknown to us, at least until we have enough self-awareness to realize the blessing of what it means to be alive. However, being alive and its accomplice of what is called life, is still incomplete if you never find your reason of why. Of why you are who you are, of why you were gifted life and to know what it means to be you.
“Maybe it’s dumb to look for signs from the universe. Maybe we don’t need the universe to tell us what we really want. Maybe we already know that, deep down”.
Let’s just be who we really are. It takes continuous self-reflection to get to know who you are. If you are like me, this self-reflection is often un-voluntary and begins to force itself from the deepest cracks of your internal being. But, it is also a sign of your internal power, which is, at the very least, a sign of order. That life is okay the way that it is. Everything that is outside of your own being begins to show itself as it truly is. They are things that you can mold, bend, and adjust accordingly to fit into your reality.
Nothing outside of yourself has any dictation on who you are and how you go about your life. When you know yourself, you will realize this, that life is so simple and that you control your own destiny.
Knowing who you are will always be more important than others knowing who you are. Some people will never get it; their egos won’t let them. Ego is the main threat to self-awareness; it is the evil villain in your superhero story. We rid ourselves of ego through practice, such as mindfulness, and as a result, we begin to be at peace.
When we get to know ourselves, we get to know the world. We start to see other people as our brothers and sisters. We begin to see life in the way that it is, that we are all truly connected and infinite beings. Knowing yourself is the greatest weapon that you can have in your arsenal. Its power lies in your strength and the confidence gained when you truly, know you.
Focus on who you are, block everything else out, nothing else matters.
As a kid, my dad was into dropping quotes and musings like confetti, particularly when I was looking for parental advice and reassurance.
“To thine own self be true” he would reply, when I failed to persuade him that having each ear pierced three times, really was the only way to be liked and popular at school.
“Listen to your heart”, he would whisper as I begged him to help me choose supporting subjects at uni.
I guess that’s part of why I am such a lover and collector of quotes, and why I began searching for my own meaning of life, while still in my teens.
The importance of knowing yourself
What is the meaning of life, to you?
So much of who we think we are, is shaped by what we have been taught.
We are part of a collective mind – programming that influences what we wear, the places we shop, our ideas of success, love, and what we are most likely to stand for, or against.
It takes time to separate ourselves from the societal mould of how we have been taught to think and act. To begin to learn that conformity is not necessarily the best way to live your life. To brave your own adventures and make your own mark, whatever it may be.
I don’t have the answers for you, but in the process of trying to understand others and the world we share, I am gaining an inkling into what my own life is truly about and discovering that self-knowledge is most definitely one of the greatest gifts.
– I understand that every time I speak (or hit publish) on something that is an integral part of my personal truth, I experience a twinge of discomfort, wondering how it will be received and if people will ‘get me’.
– I am learning that not being able to control anything, or anyone, other than myself is a pendulum of frustration AND empowerment!
– I have finally learnt to accept and embrace the fact that I am deeply sensitive. I’m done with trying to ‘toughen up.’
– I place the utmost value on my health and wellbeing. The healthier I am on the inside, the more energy I have to experience the natural cadence of life, and the more productive I am. This means I devote a lot of time to exercise, meditation and eating well.
– I still run away from conflict but am getting better at negotiating.
– I value manners and genuine courtesy. It’s something that was instilled in me at a very young age and something I am intent on gifting my children.
– I know that I am never going to be a fan of the ‘drop by visitor’ or those who call twice in a row, but fail to leave a voicemail. Being an introvert, I like to screen my calls and I like to choose when to entertain visitors.
Why is getting to know yourself so important?
Getting to know yourself doesn’t just happen. It takes conscious effort and a lot of stripping back the layers, one by one.
It also takes a lot of courage. (But it’s worth it!).
You gain a deeper understanding of what makes you tick, how you relate to the world, what you truly value, your strengths, weaknesses and your triggers or hot spots.
The people that inspire you and motivate you to do better. The tasks and jobs you lose yourself in.
Self knowledge and success
The beauty of living consciously is that it increases the likelihood of creating the results you desire.
Learning and developing your passions provide you with tools for tapping into your happiness.
Learning what you hate can be just as powerful. The personalities and things that make your hair stand up on end hold lessons!
Self knowledge helps you figure out what you want to work on and what you are willing to let go.
If you understand how you are most likely to react when you things don’t go well, you can then identify which thoughts and behaviours are serving you, and those that are not.
You can then choose to learn better ways of managing conflict or improve communication skills.
Really getting to know yourself, moves you to a place of self-acceptance and increased self-worth – acknowledging that we all have weaknesses and imperfections and that we can be totally ok about it. Or, we can change!
The world is a better place when we take the best of ourselves and make it better. That’s what self-improvement is about.
Filed Under: Self-Knowledge