To Know Oneself

Over and over and over, we give ourselves messages from ourselves.  We talk to ourselves in our minds.  We think to ourselves.  We assure ourselves.  We comfort ourselves. We chastise ourselves.  We criticize ourselves.  We are instant messaging ourselves all the time – telling ourselves all kinds of things about the world and ourselves throughout the day.  We communicate more with ourselves than any other being in existence – all happening in all the different levels of our minds.

And we’re always honest with ourselves, right?  The one person who we would think would be honest with ourselves would be our self, right?  There’s no question that what we tell ourselves is always the truth, right?

Not really, and that’s putting it mildly, isn’t it.

In all honesty, we’re just as likely to be dishonest with ourselves as we are with anyone else.  In fact, sometimes it’s easier, isn’t it. Many times, since we’re the one who judges whether it’s okay to lie about something, we are mostly okay when we lie even to ourselves.  Aren’t we.  We do it so often, that we often don’t know the truth when we hear it, or say it.  Isn’t that true?  We have a version in our minds which we say is true, and which we tell ourselves is the absolute truth, and which we would swear to in front of any other person who asks, right?

That “truth” that we call “truth” to ourselves – we know that very well.  That’s the version of truth that we’ve worked out inside ourselves to be called “true.”  In our subconscious and in our day-to-day consciousness, we go about our day deciding what is going to be the truth and what isn’t.  Isn’t that so – not always consciously, but then sometimes consciously, right?

And how does this serve us?

It serves us by not requiring us to feel all the feelings and emotions which go along with acknowledging the actual truth.  Many times the actual truth that we don’t acknowledge comes connected to sadness and sorrow, grief and disappointment, anger and bitterness, hatred and aggravation – feelings we don’t want to be experiencing or acknowledge.

It also serves us by giving us a different view of who we think we are – or a view of how far we think we’ve grown on this spiritual path or in any way whatsoever.  Sometimes, subconsciously, these are factors that we think may determine whether we get loved or not.  After all, everyone wants to be loved, and maybe the “better people” are the ones that get loved.  And if I’m a “better people”, I should then be loved, too.  Right?

The actual truth doesn’t come with all of these aspects and factors all the time, but still, the actual truth that we want to not be true, many times does in truth come with heavy, painful, and disturbing feelings and acknowledgments as well as those subconscious messages which we tell ourselves related to being loved in the world, (a formidable source of motivation, since after all, everyone wants to be loved.)

Yet, this actual truth can come forward within us, but only if we allow it and only if we allow the emotions to come, also.  It can knock on the door, but it comes in only when we open the door and welcome it in.

This actual truth often comes with an assessment of ourselves.  It sometimes points out how we need to change something within ourselves or how we may have acted inappropriately in how we related to someone.  It can come with regret or sorrow, shame, guilt or embarrassment.  Or it can come with a chance to heal.

There are times that we can really benefit from knowing the actual truth.  There are times that we can heal when the actual truth is acknowledged.  Counseling helps that process.  Talk therapy helps a person find their way to clean out their closet filled with all kinds of stuff that we fill closets with.  Yet, that’s only one way of many ways to figure out the truth within ourselves, though.

Sometimes, it helps to just be willing to accept the actual truth, regardless of what comes with it.  “Willingness” to allow the actual truth to come forward is the single strongest quality that helps it come forward.

Yes, we can lie to ourselves about being willing.  We can tell ourselves that we want the actual truth, and then not be willing to open the door for it.  Sincerity is a big key, but then sincerity includes willingness and comes with one of the deeper forms of honesty, doesn’t it.

What has helped me many times is to pray to God – “God, help me be honest with myself.”  If I’m really wanting honesty and truth, who better to ask for help to gain honesty and truth.  When we’re truly sincere about working to be more honest with ourselves, it’s best to start with the one who can actually help make that goal a reality.  When we pray for God to help us be honest with ourselves, we are “standing in front of the face of God.”  We are placing ourselves in front of the face of the One who knows Truth about ourselves, about our thoughts, our feelings, our actions, our behaviors, our pain, our suffering, our shame, our guilt, our disappointments, our grief, our hopes, our dreams, our loves, our hates, our healing, our needs, our crying out in the wilderness, our courage and our fear – our whole selves – our deepest parts of ourselves and our shallowest parts of ourselves – our honesty and our lies.  It’s not that easy to do, but again, all we need to be is “willing” in order to move forward.

“God, help me be honest with myself” is a gentle prayer, but can be an effective one if what we seek is the real truth about ourselves and our lives, and to be honest with that real truth about ourselves and our lives.

It’s a challenging “row to hoe”, and what I describe here is in no way the whole truth and nothing but the truth, because I don’t have a lock on ‘Truth’.  But the effort we make to dig for the truth – to dig for being honest with ourselves – pays off with a greater understanding and knowledge of ourselves, and to know our self, honestly and truthfully, is an ever greater thing to know.  “There’s gold in them thar hills” – or in this case – the priceless jewels of who we are await us when we come to know ourselves.  Getting to know our self is one of the greatest things in all existence.  When we do this, we then come to understand more of our relationships with God, with others and very importantly, our relationship with ourselves.

Surprising, but true.

*******

 

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2 thoughts on “To Know Oneself

  1. I am new to your site and absolutely love what I have been reading and learning so far. My question is pertaining to knowing one’s true self and truth. How do we know we are making the right decisions and being true to ourselves and not just making a wrong, selfish decision? God is telling us things all the time, but how do I know which voice It is? The one that says “be true to yourself and go for what you are feeling right now ( this feeling overwhelms me)” or the one that says “are you sure you want to do this, the grass may not be greener on the other side, and people will get hurt in the process.” Its like a battle. How do I know the right way to go? Which voice is right?

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    • Through practice, practice, practice, practice and more practice. Life is not just a process of learning what God wants of us. It is a process of learning about our own self, in addition to common sense, understanding, wisdom (eventually), and even with all this, learning that mistakes can be learning opportunities also.
      Think of this process, even this life as a “school-like” opportunity, not a tight-rope that one has to get perfect or else lose everything. This is why Jesus is more recognized as a teacher rather than a judge, jury and executioner. He is a gentle yet persistent teacher.
      Our life is more like a school that gives us many, many opportunities to learn about how to live our lives with love from our hearts and what we’ve learned in our minds.
      Some advice I encourage is:
      Continue to practice having an open mind and an open heart. God can fill both of these. Continue to practice the Fruits of the Spirit – like kindness, patience, mercy and more. God comes into this world in those moments that these are expressed. When praying and meditating, pray for sincerity in one’s prayers. And another: it helps to regularly ask ourselves, “Am I willing to learn, to love, to live, and to practice? Am I willing?”
      “If you can’t decide between the left hand choice and the right hand choice, then throw them both out and pick from the third hand.” The Rainbow Cards, ©, 1993, Jodie Senkyrik

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