Self-Knowledge Is an Endless Ocean
Self-knowledge represents wisdom. It’s not a goal to achieve, because you’ll never get to know everything about yourself – not because of how determined or not you are, but because you’re constantly changing. But what is self-knowledge? You could say that it’s a journey through which you have the option to learn and grow, flowing with the passage of time and experiences.
We’re constantly preoccupied with the image that we present to others, focusing on the most superficial aspects of ourselves. It’s like we lose sight of our deepest roots, of who we really are.
As you’ll see below, the process of getting to know yourself requires bravery, honesty, love, and responsibility. This is because self-knowledge involves freeing yourself from prejudice, blame, hate, and resentment, in such a way that you get closer to your core.
“Of all knowledge the wise and good seek most to know themselves.”
Self-knowledge will bring you peace
The path towards self-knowledge is not one to rush through, impatiently and anxiously yearning to arrive at something that will never come. When you learn to listen to yourself and pay attention to your needs, then you will start getting to know yourself and maturing through each experience.
“Because the more you know yourself, the more clarity there is; because self-knowledge has no end – you don’t come to an achievement, you don’t come to a conclusion. It’s an endless river. And, as one studies it, as one goes into it more and more and more, one finds peace. And only when the mind is tranquil, through self-knowledge, not through imposed self-discipline, only then, in that tranquility, in that silence, can reality come into being.”
We’re used to mental noise, to distracting ourselves by paying more attention to what other people do and how they behave. We’re experts in judging, criticizing, giving advice, blaming, and seeing in other people what we’re incapable of seeing in ourselves. In doing so, we fragment ourselves by not wanting to look at every aspect of who we really are.
Let go of distractions
Interacting with other people is always a double-edged sword, and which side you use depends on the attitude you have towards the situation. One one hand, interacting with others is necessary for self-knowledge, because you can discover more about yourself through interactions. On the other hand, unconscious actions only distance you from others and your ability to know yourself.
Getting to know yourself through your interactions with others involves listening to yourself during the interaction, observing what you say, how you feel, which emotions are awakened, and which attitudes you like and dislike. And above all, understanding that everything you see is coming from you and has to do with who you are.
“So, to give full attention to something, there must be integration of your whole being. Because, at one level of consciousness you may want to find out, you may want to know, but at another level, that very knowing may mean destruction because it may make you change your whole life.”
Nobody has the power to make you feel a certain way without your consent. You have to understand that you’re always complicit, you’re not a victim of how you feel. This is true for both pleasant and unpleasant feelings. When you feel love, it’s something that arises within you through interaction with another person. And like love, rage also arises within you following an interaction. In every case, your emotions are exclusively related to you.
Self-knowledge will always bring you to authenticity, to presenting yourself to others, and especially to yourself, in a more honest and genuine way, avoiding self-deception. You separate yourself from the need to please or blame others for what happens to you.
“He who is authentic assumes the responsibility to be who he is and recognizes that he is free to be who he is.”
-Jean Paul Sartre-
When you know yourself better, you increase your ability to be truly authentic. You’ll be more transparent, clearer, closer to love and wisdom. On this path, you’ll explore the depth of meaning that each experience has.
And you’ll discover how self-knowledge is an endless ocean that you can travel your entire life, learning to understand and love yourself. And then you’ll be able to share who you are with others through love and authenticity.