To know thyself
For the past couple of years, a week before my birthday, I sit down with myself in a very introspective way and have a conversation; to figure out “where I’m at” and where I’d like to go. This is more commonly passed around as taking stock of the year that’s passed (in these lovely self help kind of circles). I prefer to see it in a different light. If you were to have a more literal approach, it’s like emptying out your backpack, doing some spring cleaning, and seeing what weighs you down and what you still need to take with you in the next year, and if you need the backpack at all.
I’ve transformed birthdays from being this morose realization of aesthetic and body aging, to more of a celebration; I’m glad I’m alive and healthy to have a go at whatever dreams, projects, ideas, and insane firsts I’ve not tackled yet. I’ve written a lot about aging and “getting” older recently because frankly it’s something that concerns me; and not in the way it concerns most people.
I find that each year we get to create, evolve, try something new, rediscover who we are, (if we really knew in the first place), and take risks to expand and remap our horizons.
I was never a fan of: “well that’s it I’ve done it all, time to hang the towel.”
In the days approaching my birthday I sit down and do a litmus test of my path so far and where I’m headed; while asking the hard questions of myself that many others would not dare ask. This process brings out some guideposts for: How to get to know yourself better.
Upon learning ourselves better, we then establish what we’re capable of. All too often we adopt labels, philosophies, societal constructs, norms and limitations (self imposed or otherwise), causing more confusion and far less clarity about who and what we want and who we really are. Without making a huge fuss, I write down what I want to work on and what I feel has run it’s course; be it with work, passions, relationships, projects, ideas, philosophies, and personal traditions. In the past I’ve taken up reading books like
and the list goes on and on, but at the end of the day these are just mere suggestions. We have to look within for our own wisdom and truths and not be pushed or pulled in directions that we don’t fully comprehend. Knowing something and really understanding it, has been my focus for the past few years, because a lot of the philosophies or ideals that I’ve adopted over the years either don’t serve me anymore or have become a roadblock to further self discovery.
I’ve written a lot about aging and “getting” older recently because frankly it’s something that concerns me; and not in the way it concerns most people.
Self knowledge and self study, requires patience, practice, risk and above all willpower. We have to want to know ourselves better to take the first step. Sort of like admitting you’re an addict is the first step to combating addiction. Getting stuck is part of the human condition, but what we possess is the innate ability to question, rephrase, recapture and reassess, in the ever winding journey to knowing ourselves fully and not just better.
This technique of course isn’t just for once a year. Taking the time to take stock, find a quiet space and reconnect with who we are (rather than who we want to be); will lead us much faster to letting go of who we are NOT.