What was so important about the concept of self-awareness that it prompted Socrates to implore us to “Know thyself” and to declare that “the unexamined life is not worth living”?
Do you know yourself? Do you even want to?
God designed you in a special way–don’t you want to know the real you? Only by being who you were designed to be can you reach your greatest potential and achieve the most contentment. The process starts by realizing we all have weaknesses and strengths:
- Everyone has issues. Are you human? If you answered yes, then you have issues. But can you recognize and improve on your weaknesses, or do you hide them beneath a layer of denial?
- Everyone has strengths. Understanding your strong points is a good thing, as long as you approach the process with practical humility rather than self-serving pride.
You can use both your issues and your strengths to improve your life. Then, and only then, can you learn to truly be yourself, and become the best “you” possible.
“To thine own self be true …” (Shakespeare)
For much of my life, I spent too much time over-thinking and worrying about how I was perceived by others. Excessive self-analysis turned into perfectionism, which I inflicted on both myself and those around me. That was me, but many people also seem to err in the other direction, and don’t like to think about how they think much at all.
We need to have a balanced approach to this process of self-awareness rather than:
- Too much self-examination:
- Critical of ourselves, consumed by worry, lacking proper self-esteem.
- Obsessive self-analysis versus taking positive steps to improve things.
- Not enough self-examination:
- In self-denial about our weaknesses or avoid facing our issues.
- Unaware of how we think or why we do what we do.
“Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are.” (Malcolm Forbes)
Taking a balanced approach can lead us toward a healthy self-awareness where we:
- Understand our issues and weak areas:
- Find areas where we can do something positive to improve.
- Accept our past mistakes and understand we can be forgiven.
- Understand our talents and strengths:
- Learn how to leverage our talents in order to get better.
- Seek to be confident, yet humble, and comfortable with who we are.
“One can have no smaller or greater mastery than mastery of oneself.” (Leonardo da Vinci)
Good companies analyze themselves to get better. The best sports teams study their strengths and weaknesses in order to improve. Doesn’t it make sense for you to learn to develop a healthy self-awareness?
What is a weakness you could improve? A strength you can use more effectively?