Walking down a shopping street at night, you spot someone in your peripheral vision walking in the same direction as you. It’s a few moments before you realise it’s you, reflected in the large windows. You looked different—in this light, at this angle, in this context.
Everyone changes over time. Most people get so used to seeing themselves, they stop looking. Really looking. Really paying attention. A surprise can jolt you into noticing and make you take a closer look, inside and out.
A box of old photos throws up a host of mixed emotions—nostalgia, horror, sadness, admiration, disgust, amusement. In a moment, you are transported back in time. You look different to how you look now, but also similar. You were different to how you are now, but also similar.
To become more of yourself, you need to get to know yourself differently, as you are now.
Who am I now? Who am I not?
What really matters to me? What doesn’t?
What am I good at?
What am I passionate about?
How can I be more of my best self?
People who pay attention to what is going on can adapt better to changing circumstances. People who act in ways that are consistent with their values are less stressed. People who really know their meaning and purpose are happier, healthier, more fulfilled. [i]
What is it to know yourself?
Bookshelves are full of materials on this topic – but don’t worry you only really need the Tripadvisor highlights.
There are a few truths to know straight away:
Self-knowing is a social activity—we don’t know ourselves better than others, just differently
Self-knowing is a team sport—we are more than one self
Self-knowing is a whole-body experience
Self-knowing doesn’t mean knowing everything—100% is impossible.
Self-knowing is multi-dimensional
There is no elusive true self waiting in the wings
To learn more, check out chapter 3 in Dancing with Fear and Confidence which is available from major book retailers.
Holden, Robert (2009) Be Happy. Hay House.
Markway, Barbara and Ampel, Celia (2018) The Self-Confidence Workbook. Althea Press.