Know Thyself – Socrates
These famous words spoken by Socrates many years ago are still relevant and useful today.
Let me ask you this. How well do you really know yourself? Are you aware of your true beliefs, or do you rarely look beneath the surface of your everyday feelings? Do you think that this statement is true “you are never upset for the reason you think you are”?
Very often you can remain unaware of the real reasons that you are upset. For example, when some-one let you down, you may think you are angry because they didn’t perform the task you expected, but deep down, you are probably upset because you feel disrespected.
Imagine you were passed over for a promotion. You think you are upset because you performed well and feel that you deserved it, but the truth may be that you are really feeling fear because the promotion would have meant an increase in salary that would help pay your bills.
My neighbor recently told me how she tries to be brutally honest with herself. For example, she said “I know that I should eat healthily and exercise more often, but the truth is that I just don’t want to” I thought, well at least she is not fooling herself with the usual excuses… not enough time, fresh produce is more expensive…etc…etc… How often do you make excuses to cover up the truth of why you do what you do?
Ask yourself how influenced you are by others. Many of your beliefs may not be serving you well even if they are useful to others. Question your basic beliefs about life and existence in general. It is only by reflection that you can truly build up your own belief system. Otherwise you remain a clone of your upbringing and never have the advantage of your own truth.
Taking time to know your inner self can bring immense benefits when making life choices or interacting with your family and friends.
It is a life long journey learning to know thyself. Your perceptions of the world may be entirely different to mine. It is only by going inside your psyche and asking the right questions that you will gradually reveal who you really are to your conscious mind.
The easiest way to know thyself is to ask more questions. When you are upset or extremely happy, ask the why question! The more questions, the deeper you dig, the more your truth is uncovered. Self-reflection done regularly will give you the knowledge to live your life more peacefully and stop the destruction that the lies you tell yourself can cause.
Why not take time this coming holiday to spend some of your time, quietly, alone, looking within? Introspection and meditation can bring to the surface useful insights that can be invaluable to you.
A life lived being true to yourself is a life well-lived indeed.