“He who knows others is wise; he who knows himself is enlightened.” ― Lao Tzu
The only relationship that is guaranteed to last a lifetime is the one you build with yourself. Just like in any relationship, you need to get to know who you are and understand yourself. The process of self-discovery is not really something you get done once, but rather an on-going commitment. However, it is a commitment you definitely want to make. Here is why.
You will build a connection with yourself.
The more we get to know someone, the closer we become. When we see the good and the bad, the emotions and the experiences of another person, we can form a truly strong connection with them. The same is true of ourselves.
The better we know who we are and what we want, the stronger is our connection. How can we do this? Spend time on our own. Take a trip to a museum or a walk in the park and see what you think, feel, and experience.
Pay attention to what goes on inside you in different situations. Stay in touch with your inner self.
You will understand your needs better.
The second benefit is that you will better feel what you truly need. We often let ourselves be led astray by what others say about our wants and the necessities in life.
Commercials, celebrities, our friends and family can push us in certain directions. When we know ourselves, we are less likely to be tricked into pursuing something we don’t actually need and instead will focus on our genuine needs.
To make this clearer, ask yourself what truly makes you proud and happy. Don’t follow goals that don’t suit you and listen to yourself first.
Understand what you want and why you want it.
Going beyond your needs, you also might want to see why you want certain things and what are your goals, truly. For example, many think they want a fancy car or a new shiny watch. But if they go deeper, they will see that what they truly want is a higher social status or a sense of financial security or something quite different.
We need to learn to ask ourselves why we want something and what is it exactly that we want. When we find ourselves desiring a new purchase or an object another person has, it’s time to ask why.
Reduce negative influences.
Knowing ourselves better can help us resist and reduce negative influences from within and from our environment as well. When we know ourselves, we are less likely to sabotage our work, abandon a project, or do something we are going to regret.
Self-discovery helps us recognize who we are and what truly matters, so we are not as likely to fall for a passing mood or a bit of news. For example, if you see a depressing news story about a financial crisis for your generation, you can still find strength within to keep the hope and not get discouraged or give up on your plans. It’s like a compass that will steadily lead you to your very own true north.
Throughout the day, we might get very stressed over a lot of small and ultimately inconsequential details – traffic, a slow line, bad coffee, and so on. Understanding ourselves better can help us reduce this stress in two ways.
First, it helps us pay less attention to the irritating elements around us. When we have a deep connection with ourselves,it’s much easier to focus our attention inwards. It’s also easier to tell apart what truly is disruptive from a minor irritation.
The second way is that it helps us control our anger. If we overreact, we make the situation worse. If we become less prone to angry outbursts, our stress levels will also go down. We can promote this aspect of self-discovery through practices like meditation, mindfulness, and contemplation of the world around us.
Committing to a process of self-discovery is a great choice, no matter who you are. It will make your relationship with yourself stronger and much more fulfilling. See what you can learn about yourself today!