Know Thyself

Knowing thyself comes in layers and waves.

There are two aspects covered.  They are easy to miss, hard to figure out and vital to an authentic relationship with self and others.

Part One: coming to terms with your mistakes + being at peace with your quirks. Being able to do the same in regard to others.

Part Two: We use definitions as ties to “self,” even if they’re just words or no longer align. In valuing inauthentic presentation, we get in the way of our raw, relatable humanness.

Part one: Perpetually Flawed

When you look at yourself, all of your flaws and mistakes, and still recognize the themes that keep surfacing, you can keep yourself humble. Part of why that acceptance works so well is because your strings of mistakes are private. No one else knows it all. It’s easier to forgive yourself without onlookers, reminders and judgment.

When It Gets Tricky

Sometimes people see bits and pieces of your mistakes and they are far more forgiving than you toward yourself.  You can be especially hard on yourself when you have such a connection to the past and the things you used to do.  Or, you are self-deprecating and maybe even perceive all the ways your actions still impact others.  You should never allow yourself to be defined by others  You should never accept yourself as stuck.  Those are all not true.

Guilt is “I did something bad.” You focus on behavior rather than a a bad self.  Shame is “I am bad.”

The weight of guilt doesn’t last (you work toward improvement) and shame is NEVER good.  You must come to terms with mistakes as mistakes, not definitions.

Personal Relationships

We are all so different.  Some arguments and issues don’t even come from something that’s so easy to follow or understand due to all that crap that lies beneath the surface.  When it comes to personal relationships, it’s necessary to recognize and regard personal characteristics with understanding.   Sometimes “mistakes” arise due to caring to control too much of a person you don’t understand.  A divide is born… or exists again.

You must recognize “flaws,” maybe stop seeing them that way and  accept certain ones ad infinitum. Instead of fighting back against certain proclivities, you must learn to take what you can and accept, just like you hope to be accepted.  Don’t stifle yourself just because you’re not in control or things are not going your way. 

Self Example

I am deeply “flawed” in a way that’s hard for many to pinpoint. I am nostalgic, have high standards, and have a striving tendency. It’s in me whether I am alone or with people. Often with people, I strive even harder, NOT finally relax and take comfort. I’m not at all competitive, but due to my need for reflection as a reprieve and means of creating space, I become more goal seeking or motion oriented. I want to suck the life out life. I walk around with buckets of conviction.

This is really hard for people to deal with when it’s so easy to just sit back, not be SO impassioned and enjoy the ride. Alas, I turn more to the closest people in my life- who can accept the above, understand that it’s not something to change, but maybe even nurture.

My mistakes are countless. My regrets too. But what can you do with all that aside from say “I was so young,” “I was having a hard time,” or “That wasn’t even so wrong, but it sure was affecting! Glad it’s done.” The point is to be kind. Forgive, as you must. Forgive others for things that may not even be “mistakes,” often and repeatedly.

Part 2: Definitions and Authenticity

When you define yourself, you may look at all you exhibit, and say all the things you love and do… or used to love and do. You may like to write, take pictures, travel, cook, paint, make furniture, hike, run, build furniture, etc. You may be incredibly kind, high reaching, won’t settle for anything less than all you want. You present that via social media profiles, dating profiles, websites and upon meeting others. You bring up your resume of sorts and share who you’ve been to shape a person’s perspective of who you are.

But, how connected are you to those words and ties as definitions of you? How connected are you to calling yourself a painter when you haven’t painted for a year, and even then, not regularly for five? We identify with the words and descriptions we use so much, but what happens when we stop doing those things “we are?” How long before you stop aligning yourself with those descriptions?

Perhaps, you are no longer goal oriented. You haven’t been for years, but you still “get it.” You still know it’s in you. Isn’t it still you? It sounds good. It’s stomachable (versus the perceived alternative). It’s maybe you a little?

Vulnerability comes when we can say things as they are. No trying to be something you’re not. No trying to use the clichés that constantly surround us and “sound good.”  I’m not talking about being self-effacing, but for the same reasons you are able to stomach being distanced from that once-desire, another should be able to take it and get it too.

To me, the most powerful sentiments from the people that inspire me most are not those that represent themselves “the best,” but say represent themselves “the truest.” No matter how hard, or stomach-turning, that initial ownership was, owning who you are or where you are is the most raw representation of humanity. Those are the words we don’t hear. Those are the words we don’t think. Those are the modes of living that are the most inspiring, with the most potential.

When you are working from a lie or a distance to your words, you always know it. When you walk hand in hand with your truth- you share it, you’re humbled by it, you build upon it- you’ll be free. You will actually find success, even though it may not look like what you thought.

Write your thoughts. Be kind & play nice.

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