“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” — Aristotle
Meditation, journaling, thinking, walking alone in silence, observing, hiking, travelling alone, feeling my feelings and asking where are they coming from, learning from mistakes, improving on lessons, trying, failing and forgiving…
It took me longer than most people and I still don’t know if I already know myself. Many years ago when asked to tell about myself I used to stumble. For interviews, I’d prepare a text and memorise it. For dating sites, I’d say something basic, which would sound really stupid right now. Or sit and think, who the hell am I?
Right now, if I have to answer the same question, I can give a myriad of different answers. No, I don’t have a multiple personality disorder and I am not faking. I learned that in different circumstances, with different people, on different moods, in different locations I am slightly different. We all are. That’s why I love to see the person I am dating in situations I don’t usually get to see him, especially – in his work environment. That’s a new person. Just like I am.
Except, I no longer suffer for my inability to put a finger on my personality. I used to think there’s a single line, like a manual I can write and it will always work. But humans change, evolve, adjust.
Knowing yourself is important. Maybe it’s a never-ending task, but it’s necessary for a happy life. If you know yourself well, you are able to look for a job that suits you. You can avoid partners that are wrong for you and find the right one. You can easily say “no” to things you don’t want to do because you are sure of yourself, your values and your needs. It’s more difficult to drive you: you take control of your life.
And here’s a very simple example from today:
I went to sleep really late but woke up quite early. My body is more tired, I feel cold and I crave more food. Lately, I’ve been eating healthy: proper shopping, no sugar or snacks, food prep, nutritious meals. But when I am tired, I either want sugar or potato chips. Today it was the later one. I did go to the store, looked around, but nothing pulled me. Left empty-handed.
I still had some cravings and instead of visiting yet another store to find what I like, I went back home, knowing, that I have plenty of food and need to resist my urge for salty crunchy food. I am tired and this is the only reason I am craving. I’ll get to bed (currently writing from it in my pyjama), go to sleep early and tomorrow I will be not just proud and happy that I resisted, but also won’t have the craving.
That’s how I know myself.
I’ve just finished my 30-day workout routine. Knowing myself, I had to attach it to my current routine: I need a change of pace when I finish work. What’s better than an exercise right after I am done working? So my workout happened every day after work, sometimes during – if I need a break or to wake up. My exercise became my rest.
When you know yourself, you are in control. You are the driver of your life. And you are able to gear it towards the things you want to have. Getting to know yourself takes time, effort and, of course, experience. And maybe 5 years from now, I will be laughing about my naivety today. But that only means one thing: the steps I am taking today are making me smarter so that today-me is silly compared to 5-year-from-now-me. And that can’t be bad.