It's important to recognize who we are, without being too egotistical or too humble. It is about living the middle path (balance). See a lot of us have a sense of who we are, we’ve observed ourselves in many different situations, and we have an idea of how we react, we know our habits to an extent and how we use our time, etc... And most of us have a vision of who we want to be, the type of body we would like to have, how much money we would like to make, how we would like to react to certain situations. These things that make up the vision of ‘who we want to be’ are called images. We will discuss more the images and internal pictures that we carry around, in another article but for now, let's explore why it’s crucial and how YOU can get to know yourself better.
To ask yourself an important question ‘Who am I?’ for without knowing who you are, it is easy to drift through life, unable to clearly sense nor interpret the energies around you. Knowing yourself is beyond figuring out your favorite color, what your stand is on a particular topic or what your favorite music album is.
It also goes beyond knowing your core values, knowing your dislikes and likes, knowing your dreams although that is a huge part of getting to know yourself. In this particular article, I want to dig a little deeper and take it to the next level.
Knowing ‘Who Am I’ is the process of understanding your emotions–on deeper levels than the surface, it’s about knowing your feelings, it’s about knowing why you do the things you do (your motives), it’s about being self-aware.
Knowing yourself is an unpredictable road into introspection that you must be willing to explore. It brings you face-to-face with your deep self-doubts, fears, and insecurities. It makes you take a serious look at the way you are living your life and put it to question. Which can be particularly uncomfortable for many, that is why most people do not take the time to explore themselves and ask the question ‘WHO AM I’ as that one question will open the floodgate to many more questions that will now need to be explored and answered...
But that question is undoubtedly critical to leading a life that’s on purpose... It’s easy to live in ignorance, to live unconscious it takes a lot of courage and strength to decide to live on purpose and in awareness.
So how can you get to know yourself better?
Science has proven, over and again that people whose actions are in sync with what they say are much happier than people whose actions differ from their words. Therefore, it is important to align our conscious and unconscious motivations in order to lead a happier life.
Let's start by...
Making a commitment to yourself means listening to your feelings from moment to moment and acting on what feels right for you at that moment. But in order to know what is the ‘right’ or ‘appropriate’ decision to make at the present moment, you must know your feelings. Many times you will find yourself saying ‘I know how I feel’, yet too often you truly do not know how you feel. And if you really do know how you feel, even more often than not, you do not align your feelings with your words and actions.
You can feel one way, say another thing and do something completely different from how you actually feel, and what you say.
For instance, if your parents tell you to study law because they feel you would be great at it, perhaps one of your parents is in law and they want you to follow in their footsteps, etc... You might feel, “This isn’t something I want to do, the law isn’t for me but I should do it because it would make my parents happy and proud” And you do it anyway, going against your feelings...
Here is another example, slightly more complex.
Say you are the type of person who identifies yourself as a generous and selfless person. So it’s in your nature to always give to others, for when you give to others in selfless ways, you are meeting the image (identity) you have about yourself.
Now let's say for instance your friend approaches you and asks you to help him or her financially, but you, yourself don’t really have the extra funds to gift them. In actuality, you’ve been struggling to keep yourself afloat for a while now. But when you think about it you feel bad as if you’re being selfish if you don’t help them out. And this, in turn, makes you feel that you’re not a good friend.
Yet deep down you know that you can’t truly help them out without it hurting you and causing you to struggle even more. But still, you go against your deeper feeling and you give them the money.
What has just occurred here?
Part of getting to know who you are and connecting with your Higher Self means you have to dig deep, you always have to look below the surface. In the case of the illustrations above, it would be crucial for you to explore this aspect of yourself, to explore your feelings and motivations behind your actions. This is the process of deep introspection which leads to becoming self-aware.
And you become self-aware you live less at the effect of your experiences and more as the cause of them.
So let's explore the psyche and break it down...
You don’t really have the funds to give your friend. As you, yourself have been struggling finically for a long time now and you’ve been depriving yourself of the things you really would like to bring into your life. Maybe you’ve even convinced yourself that you don’t need those things you want. And although deep down you know that in giving your friend a helping hand, you would be pushing yourself further down.
But you also feel that if you didn’t help them, you’d feel like a bad friend, a selfish person which if you explore that feeling deeper, you’d find that at the base is guilt.
So what has happened here?
That feeling that is dominating you, is based on guilt. And it is occurring because the image you have about yourself, places a limit on you.
For instance, since you see yourself as a generous and selfless person, you will either have to be generous all the time or judge yourself harshly when you are not. Which is where the guilt stems from, and which is why more times, then not, this type of individual will always find themselves helping others at the expense of themselves.
It feels much ‘better’ to struggle themselves while lifting another person up. This way they are meeting their own internal image rather than feeling the guilt and self-judgment that will occur when they don’t meet their own internal images...This is what some spiritual teachers call a discord.
Which again is why getting to know yourself through introspection is crucial, in understanding who you are, uncovering the motives behind your actions, knowing what you really feel and learning how to act based on what you feel...
Sometimes it happens that we genuinely mistake the causes of certain behavior. This is essentially because our mind is not capable of perceiving every single causal factor behind our behavior. The physical and emotional symptoms that we notice may suggest one type of motive for our actions, while the truth may be something entirely different. While such misattribution is only genuine, it cannot be completely eliminated. However, if one sets out to seek the answer to the question ‘WHO AM I’ you will have to work towards becoming highly self-aware and try to uncover the right motives behind your actions, each time. This means you have to take the time and make ‘knowing yourself’ a priority in life. Remember knowing yourself is a conscious effort; you do it with intention and purpose.
No one can surprise us as well as we can ourselves. We all have set opinions about ourselves. We think we know exactly how we will react in a given situation. However, when the event actually occurs, our behavior may completely surprise us. In such cases, we must not jump to quick and immature conclusions. For example, if a person instantly dislikes someone just by looking at them, it might be because that person reminds him of an old acquaintance that he disliked. However, this reason may not be very clear at the beginning. Therefore, one must spend time in analyzing unexpected behavior and actions. It can only help know oneself better.
While its important to be centered on yourself and know who you are, making your life a priority, it also important to be aware of your effect on other people. It’s about not living in any one extreme but finding the balance between being aware and centered upon yourself while also be aware of the effect we have on others. We are more powerful when we can understand the effect our actions have on others, then we can choose what actions we want to take. This approach will help you find the balance between knowing when to pay attention to your needs and when to be selfless.
Studies have shown that strangers are better able to predict the actions of a couple even more accurately than the members of the couple. While this may sound surprising, it does make a lot of sense. People, over the years, form very complex ideas about themselves. This burden restricts them from seeing things in front of them, clearly. However, strangers have no such restriction and call it as they see it. It is very clear from this that one must make a conscious effort to observe his or her own actions with utter objectivity. Being judgmental about any observations will only hamper the entire process. All that needs to be done is to evolve our theories about ourselves. This ultimately helps in battling cognitive dissonance, a unique disconnect between our conscious and unconscious motivations, that leave us mentally uncomfortable.
It’s important to get to know other people at a deep core level, understanding others allows you to see and understand yourself more clearly. Look at others not through your own judgment and beliefs but through their beliefs and perspectives. Many of us think the world revolves us, existing too much on the center stage of our own life blocks us from connecting with others on deeper levels and makes us more concerned with what others think about us. Rather than what you could learn from them.
Spend time alone, sitting quietly, allowing yourself to rest physically, emotionally and mentally will give you an increasingly clear sense of self. In those quiet moments you are not playing out any roles nor identities and this makes space for your Higher Self to speak to you more clearly. Spending time alone being reflective is a source of energy revitalization, of clear seeing, ideas, and inspiration. Stillness is the doorway to connecting with your Higher Self opening your intuition.
Journaling is a great way to get to know yourself better and to understand your psyche. Through writing, you can get a more clear picture of yourself, emotions, motives, themes, and overall life. Journaling can also be a great tool that allows your higher self to seep through from time to time and guide you through your words.
We must understand that the answer to “How to get to know yourself” is not very simple. It takes a conscious effort that involves modifying our earlier perceptions about ourselves, identifying the true motivations behind our actions and not jumping to conclusions when we surprise ourselves, finding a balance being between centered upon yourself while still being aware of the effect YOU have on others. It’s about seining the world through the eyes of another and taking the time to be self-reflective. If one can implement all these steps, one-by-one, you will start to know more of who you are and open the connection between YOU and your Higher SELF.
May you keep Growing and Connecting!