Yet knowing yourself may be one of the hardest tasks you’ll ever attempt.For many of us, a myriad of obstacles spring up when we attempt it.
If you tend to be intellectual or philosophical, you might get mired in questions such as: “Who is the me/self that is assessing the me/self?”
If you tend to be emotional, you might get bogged down in less-than-positive emotions around the issue.
If you are more likely to be spiritual, questions such as “Why am I here” or “Why was I created” can sometimes stymie self-knowledge.
But knowing yourself is important to all your relationships, helping you fine tune your sense of humanness. One aspect of Self is how you “take in” the world – how you experience life. (Check out the MBTI personality test for more about this)
Parents and Kids
Effective parents, for example, know themselves. Self-awareness without self-centeredness, is an important ingredient in any relationship but essential to healthy parenting.
In order to deeply understand what your child needs, to really “get” where your child is coming from, and how he experiences the world around him, it’s essential that you know who you are: what makes you tick, what brings you down, what uplifts you, what turns you off.
When we know who we are, we are more open to seeing beyond the surface in others.
But in order to understand who we are, we have to take the time to do so. By learning more about who you are and how you feel about yourself, your child, and life in general, you’ll be able to interact more effectively—and lovingly—with your child. (The Parent-Child Dance: A Guide to Help You Understand and Shape Your Child’s Behavior)
You have to know what makes you tick in order to find satisfying work. You also need to have an appreciation of what makes others tick in order to create satisfying work relationships. This can be on the smaller scale, for example, you don’t need to know everything about that person in another department who you meet once a month, but knowing the person you are teaming with on a project can be vital.
The best time to pay attention and really listen to your coworkers is during get-togethers after work.You may see a sense of humor you’ve never noticed before, or learn about the personal pressures they are under. Carry your knowledge through to your work relationship so you can be supportive, as well as tap into their talents and interests.
Friendships and Personal Relationships
Sometimes we can be a little obsessed with having our own needs met. And sometimes we can push our own needs to the background, so much so that we forget who we are. Striking that balance requires paying attention and learning all the ways in which you cope, deflect, or deny.
Knowing yourself doesn’t mean that you cannot change yourself. You have to know yourself well enough to sense whether change will enrich your relationships, emotional well-being, and life in general.