Having a sense of self is a slippery slope between being considered conceited and confident; it’s the thin line between narcissism and self-awareness. Many people do not know themselves yet try to communicate who they are to partners, co-workers, and thousands, sometimes millions of “friends” followers, and basic strangers. Knowing yourself is more than choosing your favorite color, vacation spot, and where you like to eat. It’s being in tune with the inner you and that takes a lot more than a one weekend retreat, a conference, or self-help book.
Pay attention. The term actions speak louder than words is fitting when getting to know others and yourself. Pay attention to what you do and what you think. The human being has managed to speak contrary to their heart; this leads to you not even fully believing yourself. Each time we say one thing yet do or think another (whether consciously or subconsciously) we are betraying ourselves. This is how one can find themselves in situations they said they’d never be in. Saying a thing does not equate belief. When we start to pay attention to the unseen parts of us, we are better able to understand and acknowledge who we are, even if we find attributes we may not like. Paying attention allows us to become aware of who we are in order to grow, shift, and flourish into who we truly are.
Acknowledge what you find. Again, we may not like everything we find but that’s all part of our evolution. It’s better to find a thing you don’t like and change it than making space for it to grow by ignoring it. Acknowledge how you think, behave, speak, and treat yourself and others. Accept the inner you for who that person is. This also includes all the good.
Society and culture has a weird way of knocking the confidence out of people and supporting low self-esteem. It’s as if pity is given more freely than applauds for healthy self-awareness. You may see this on a micro level, amongst friends and family. Thinking too highly of yourself is placing others beneath you; it has nothing to do with you believing in the greatness within. In all truth, the healthier you see yourself the more you are able to see the greatness in others. Acknowledge who you are without judgement. Work on the parts that don’t amplify love and hold on to what does.
The Inner Being. Take notice on how the former portion of this entry speaks nothing about what you look like (own, the degree you have, or what's in your bank account). Those things are not you. It’s because you are more than a body and possessions. It’s ironic that more people don’t consider this truth. You are more than flesh and bones. You are more than what you see in the mirror. The more you get to know the person inside of your body the more your view of the body you occupy will change. You will start or continue to accept and embrace the physical self even more. You will also realize what genuinely matters and constitutes as you.
This is a huge reason why people who do change the physical appearance rarely come to a place of satisfaction with what they see. It creates a cycle of constant change whether it’s losing weight, plastic surgery, or shopping incessantly. The same goes for obtaining status, financial gains, and even who one associates with.
The soul has to experience fullness because the flesh is never satisfied.
Really getting to know yourself is an ongoing process but the journey is truly worth it. While it is life work, you do come to a place of relationship with yourself in the process. It’s a space of wholeness. It’s not about getting it “right” because who really knows what that means anyway. It’s about being your authentic self with yourself. And being okay with showing up as that person every day, no matter the room you’re in. It’s standing flatfooted in morals, values, and the healthy version of who you are created to be.
LifeWork: Take at least one day of the week, for the next 3 weeks to check in with yourself.
Pay attention to what you say versus what you think versus what you believe. Then, without judgement (classifying a trait as positive or negative) journal about what you find.
For example, I said blank but thought blank. I did blank and really believed blank.
Do not consider your actions as good or bad. Dig a bit deeper and ask why you showed up the way you did and continue to consider and journal about the results of this activity.
This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.