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.