“Knowing others is intelligence, knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength, mastering yourself is true power.”
I have been reflecting on this quote ever since I came across it. It has set me thinking. Many times we are exalted to know our friends, our peers, our workmates, our subordinates and our bosses.
Acres and acres of space have been devoted to writing about the virtues of knowing others well. We are constantly urged to know others.
We are asked to connect with others in our interpersonal communications. We are asked to take every opportunity to network with others if we are to progress in our careers and in life. It is said that the better we know others the better our relationships will be.
The definition of success even includes the quality of our relationships with others. For us to know others better, we need to take time to be with them. We need to arrange dinners and lunches with them; we need to attend networking events and social functions.
It takes a great deal of effort to know others. Rarely do we give attention to knowing ourselves. Knowing yourself has now been accepted as a starting point on the road to success and fulfillment.
But what does knowing yourself mean?
Knowing yourself does not mean knowing the type of food you like, knowing your favourite pastime, knowing your hobbies, or being aware of your favourite colour or music genre.
Although knowing your favourite food, sport, colour or music can certainly be a pointer to who you truly are, it is way too superficial to be termed completely knowing yourself. When I talk about knowing yourself, I mean knowing yourself at deeper and meaningful level.
I mean knowing yourself to the extent that you develop compassion for yourself. I mean knowing your values, your fears, your aspirations, your life purpose and the reason you inhabit this earth.
Knowing yourself means taking time to be by yourself and searching inside yourself for your core values, your hopes and dreams and discovering your true calling.
Knowing yourself is that journey that allows you to check how you live your life, asking yourself whether the manner you are living your life is in alignment with your core values. This is not a one-day process. You need not kick yourself if you do not yet know your life purpose.
Knowing yourself is truly a journey. Not knowing your life purpose is all part of the steps in discovering who you truly are. The value in this process is accepting and acknowledging your vulnerabilities.
Your core values may change from time to time. You need to be aware when you have some self-doubts, as you will inevitably have. The beauty is you will always be with yourself all the time.
The only person who will always be with you is YOU.
You, therefore, have time to study yourself and know yourself intimately without having to make an appointment. You need to pay attention to your thoughts, feelings, the things you like and the things you dislike, you need to ascertain your boundaries and limitations as well as the things you are prepared to tolerate.
When you know what knowing yourself is all about, it is now up to you to decide whether it is important for you to know yourself. It is pretty obvious to me though, that knowing yourself is a journey that is arduous and that takes courage.
It is apparent too that to know yourself, you have to search not on the outside, but inside yourself, for knowing yourself is an inside job.