Food for Thought: Knowing Yourself

“You’ve got to know yourself so you can at last be yourself” – D.H. Lawrence

We know when we meet someone who’s at ease with themselves.  They know who they are and they’re comfortable in their own skin. There’s no need for them to impress, play games or apologise for themselves.

If all we’ve ever experienced is disharmony within, we might envy them. “I wish I were like that”, we think.  “Life must be so uncomplicated for them”.

The irony is that in order to be ourselves we often believe we need to be someone else entirely – someone better.  Or, at the very least, we must “fix” what we believe is “wrong” about us.

But Lawrence doesn’t say in order to be yourself, you need to change yourself.  He says you need to know yourself.

We often have an internal void where our relationship with ourselves should be.  Then, rather than getting to know ourselves, we do anything else to fill the emptiness.  We turn to food; spend hours on social media; keep so busy we never have a moment alone.  If our behaviour could speak it would say I cannot bear to know myself. 

And that’s a shame.

Because in getting to know ourselves we discover our sensitivity, our integrity and our individuality.

We uncover our strengths and vulnerabilities; our deepest desires; what values we hold dear and what makes our spirits skyrocket.

We identify our emotional needs and understand how to meet them.

In knowing ourselves, we can come to accept what makes us uniquely who we are and develop a sense of self solid enough to say “OK World – this is Me”.

Then we can, at last, be ourselves.

33 thoughts on “Food for Thought: Knowing Yourself

  1. Hi Julie, this is a terrific post, full of insight and beautifully written. To know yourself is really the basis of everything but almost so obvious, that it is overlooked. You have shone a light on to this difficult subject. I’ve always loved the quote from Aristotle ‘to know yourself is the beginning of all wisdom’. Lxx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I very nearly used that Aristotle quote instead of the D.H. Lawrence – I think it’s wonderful but the Lawrence seemed to fit better with what I wanted to say. It can be so hard to get to know ourselves but so rewarding when we do. Thank you so much for your comment, Lol.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I couldn’t agree more! Finding out who we are can be so challenging, especially if there are many obstacles in the way, but the reward – feeling at peace with ourselves – is worth it. Many thanks for your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. “The irony is that in order to be ourselves we often believe we need to be someone else entirely – someone better. “ – I think this is so true. Even a lot of self-help seems to be about ‘fixing’ things that are wrong. We’re all too often made to pick apart our flaws, look for ways we can be better. I agree that knowing and understanding ourselves shouldn’t mean changing ourselves is a requirement. Sure, we can change if we want, but that shouldn’t be a necessary part or even the first part on our journey towards accepting ourselves and liking, dare I say even loving, ourselves just as we are. Great post, Julie!
    Caz xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree that a lot of the messages around are about improving ourselves – “be your best you” sort of thing. But I’m not sure how we can improve unless we know ourselves well enough. That way, we can discern if our desire to change is coming from an authentic place within us or if it’s from a part of us telling us we’re just not good enough. Many thanks for your comment, Caz, lovely to hear your thoughts as ever.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Once again Julie, a nicely enlightening post – words of wisdom indeed 🙂

    Prior to my Dx of Aspergers l was living behind masks so often and for so long l had many a time forgotten who l was – l was always confused as and at who l was supposed to be? I married a woman when l was 30, that although l loved, l didn’t need to marry but it was to prove to my parents l was ‘normal’ in their eyes, and whilst l will not say all of my married life was hell on earth, sadly a good 75% was – l had tried to be someone else for someone else’s sake and not my own. i had forsaken my very soul to ‘fit in’.

    It is difficult not knowing who you are, where you belong, what you should be doing with who you are, a very difficult life indeed.

    In a relationship status, being with the ‘right’ person is a big advantage and more so if you both agree to not wear masks with each other and just be who we were meant to be by our own birth right. I am me, Suze is she, the way it’s supposed to be, you see?

    The diagnosis helped me enormously understand who l was, who l was supposed to be .. it enabled me to crack riddles and provide answers to long ago asked questions. The original diagnosis of bipolar helped me understand traits to me, whilst the Aspergers diagnosis finally was the last piece to my own complicated jigsaw puzzle of identity. at long last l was able to understand more of me to allow me to only be me – l am a better man for it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m was so moved reading your comment, Rory. “I had forsaken my very soul to ‘fit in'” – how many of this do this? A lot, I think. I’m pleased to read that your Aspergers diagnosis helped you to make sense of and accept yourself. I can only imagine how confusing life must have been for you. I couldn’t agree more that being with the ‘right’ person enables us to be ourselves – after all, isn’t that what we want for the people we love? Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and experience, much appreciated.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Always a pleasure Julie – but that is the beauty of your posted material in topic, you pose the provocative and how can one not answer when the question reads like it is aimed at the reader themselves? Like one of those paintings, where the eyes follow you around the room … 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. “Because in getting to know ourselves we discover our sensitivity, our integrity and our individuality.
    We uncover our strengths and vulnerabilities; our deepest desires; what values we hold dear and what makes our spirits skyrocket.
    We identify our emotional needs and understand how to meet them.
    In knowing ourselves, we can come to accept what makes us uniquely who we are and develop a sense of self solid enough to say “OK World – this is Me”.
    Then we can, at last, be ourselves”…………

    “Yes exactly. We need to, “Be Authentic as we each of us are Unique to each other and need to be, “Truly Ourselves. Our own personality” to lead a Happy and Peaceful Life” Excellent advice Julie. Thank you for sharing your views with us. Many Blessings 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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