Odds are that you don’t know yourself that well. You don’t know the darkest parts of yourself, though you instinctively know they exist. You avoid knowing yourself, because the idea of it is just too uncomfortable. Whenever you’re faced directly with yourself, you retreat.
You retreat by playing on your phone, getting a snack, turning on a streaming service, taking a nap, or finding another way to distract yourself.
Consider this: If you talked with someone for 30 minutes (and took sincere interest), you would have a solid handle on what they were all about. You’d know what their weaknesses are and why their lives are less than ideal. However, you can’t quite figure out why your own life isn’t going as well as you’d like. Isn’t it interesting that you could have a deeper understanding of someone you barely know than you have of yourself?
Follow this process and you’ll get to know yourself intimately:
1. Spend some time alone with yourself each day. This can be 20 minutes at the end of the day after everyone else goes to sleep, or you can go off by yourself. But, you need to be truly alone.
2. Avoid any distractions during this time. No books, electronic devices, or anything else you find amusing. It’s just you and yourself. The ideal setting is sitting in a chair while facing a blank wall. Now you have nothing left to do but converse with yourself.
3. Have a conversation. What do you say to yourself? Say the same things you would say to another person you were trying to get to know. You know how to do this. Ask yourself questions and answer them.
● What do you do for a living? Do you like it? Really, you don’t like it? Why do you stay there?
● What’s most important to you? Why?
● What are you afraid of? Why?
● What are your strengths and weaknesses?
● Talk about your childhood - the good, the bad, and the ugly (and so on)
4. Be thorough. Ask yourself the tough questions. Review your life from the very beginning. Think about your childhood. Think about the painful experiences you suffered and how those affected you. What would you tell yourself if you could go back in time?
● Think about what you want for the future. What are the challenges in your life right now? What should you be doing? Have a conversation with yourself about the things that make you cringe.
5. Stay with it. At some point, it’s likely you’ll say to yourself, “This is stupid. I’m wasting my time and have other things to do.” This is just you being a chicken. This is no different than turning on the TV or playing with your phone. It’s avoidance.
6. Learn to meditate. In conjunction with having intimate conversations with yourself, learn how to meditate and make it a regular part of your life. The truth will come out.
● Avoid judging your thoughts. Just observe and accept them.
Few of us have taken the time to examine our life or ourselves. We can look at others and point out their weaknesses quite accurately, even if we barely know them. Yet, we can’t see the things that others can see in us immediately. We’d rather distract ourselves than know the truth.
You’ll continue to struggle in the same ways you’ve been struggling all your life if you’re not willing to take the important step of getting to know yourself. Once you do, you’ll pave the way for creating a life that’s more meaningful and satisfying.