Fully understanding ourselves is quite tricky.
We can have this image in our heads of who we are, how we interact and how we look. But fully understanding ourselves and our satisfaction/happiness with our lives and then sticking to the big picture of what we want on a day by day basis is much easier said than done. It takes time, confrontation and will power.
In a three part series I want to walk you through three areas: yourself, your life satisfaction and your life goals.
We would like to think we know ourselves pretty well. Some of us probably do. But most of us, including myself, have pieces that are challenging to acknowledge and manage, pieces we are only semi-aware of as they reside in the corners of our personality, and which we don’t really want to deal with.
Here are some tough questions to think about to get the feel for really knowing yourself. This is simply to scratch the surface. Only you can decide how brutally honest you want to be in answering these questions. You only have yourself to answer to, but you will get the biggest results through being brutally honest.
- What you are doing when you compromise? Do you compromise often enough or too much?
- What you are doing when you are scared, in fear or playing it safe? Investigate these answers and think how you might be able to use the fear as fuel, how can you growth from this?
- Do you know how you act when you are angry and are you able to manage those feelings?
- Do you know how you react when you are hurt and are you able to manage those feelings?
- Do you take lessons and learn from each experience?
It is really up to you how well you want to get to know yourself. I often find myself working within, sometimes even thinking I am almost there, when someone comes along, like a building inspector, and points out ways that I could knock down a few more of my emotional barriers and really open up the place and let some light in.
And so I have continued on. I have done simple quizzes, more studied questionnaires such as personality type indicators, and even a 10 day meditation camp. All to try to get to know the real me and manage myself.
I don’t want to be just feeding the easy, surface happiness. I want to feed the happiness of my soul. I want my life to radiate happiness. When I think about what I wanted to be over a decade ago in my life, I recall that I simply wanted to be happy.
So I have been learning and challenging myself, constantly exploring what happiness means to me and what that looks and feels like in my life. I haven’t quite got there yet. I am happy but I have a few personal goals that I also want to achieve, long-term goals I am working towards. While I may reach them in the next few years, I won’t be ‘finished’ in my quest. However, I will be entirely satisfied with my life and can live completely happy. Happy in all the areas of my life as best I can be within my control. That is no easy feat. But I will focus on these different areas in part two of this three part series.
If you are interested this journey, now is the time to think about you. You can do some research using personality tests, such as Myers-Briggs, think about practice of meditation or the like, and think about the pieces of you as in the questions above, the difficult stuff. Then research how to manage the actions, reactions and thoughts in your life.
Only I can sit myself down and understand who I am and what I want. Only I can decide to go left or right and how that might serve me, and then I live with my choice. I know my values and how I want to live my life. I know I often fail but I keep trying, pushing on and I ask for help. For I want to help others, and therefore I know I must also help myself.
Really taking the time out to get to know yourself isn’t easy. It means facing your failures, your hurt and your challenges and accepting them, using them for growth, looking for the silver lining and applying this to your life. It requires honest answers and we are all too good at avoiding ourselves in pressing times, and it requires pushing through the fear.
Enjoyably, it is also understanding what is important to our life and making time for it so that to keep on track.
In my experience and continued efforts, I would advise you to listen to your head, listen to your heart and let them write your plan. Then let your determination push you through and let your strength keep you true.
Continuing to share my experience and what has helped me, in my next article I will look at this confrontation in the key areas of your life to help you understand your life satisfaction and happiness.
Photo: Jorunn Lorenzen