How well do you truly know yourself? Have you looked at the darkest parts of yourself, or do you instinctively know they exist? Is the idea of knowing yourself just to damn uncomfortable? Do you hide away when you are faced directly with yourself?
Hand up if you can recognize any of the following distractions: playing on your phone, getting a snack, turning on the stereo or TV, getting sleepy, or finding another way to forget about your thoughts and feelings.
Consider this: If you talked with someone for 30 minutes, 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, sometimes, it can be way harder to figure out why your own life isn’t going quite the way you’d imagined.
Isn’t it interesting that sometimes we have a deeper understanding of someone you barely know than you have of yourself? Especially if times are hard and your feelings are unmanageable?
Here is a quick and easy process you can follow whenever you feel as if you’ve lost touch with yourself:
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 hiking 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, you’ll likely 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 face 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 critical step of getting to know yourself. Once you do, you’ll pave the way for creating a life that’s more meaningful and satisfying.