Good afternoon fellow readers !
The other day I stumbled upon a quote by Aristotle saying “knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” This really struck a chord because I believe that too few people actually know themselves. Sure, you might be able to identify your favorite meal, color or season, but here I’m talking about what really constitutes you as a person at a much deeper level.
If we think about it, from the age of 3 or so, we’re in school, and most of our time is spent there. Sure, we have our weekends and holidays free until we start getting homework to do, so we are in a sense free to play what we want. During those time, we can let our nature express itself.
However, too quickly, responsibilities and daily worries arise and constrain our true self. We try to build our identities around role models – whether they are at school, work or celebrities – and act in a way that would make us closer to them.
Dying our hair a certain way to look like this person, getting involved in a specific club at school or trying a new activity because that person is doing it too… Does this seem familiar? For me it certainly does. I remember I used to copy the handwriting of people I liked and tried to find pictures of my models’ bedrooms in order to organize mine like theirs was ! It is crazy if we think about it, isn’t it ?
It seems we loose our true, inner self to our envious proclivities in the hope that by literally becoming another person we admire, we will end up being better a person. What is so twisted with that kind of thinking is the way we distort reality by wanting to change who we are as if we were not enough or worth it, as if our happiness depended on those necessary changes. Because indeed, that is what lies behind this reflexion : happiness. It is because we will look like our model more and more that we will finally experience bliss we have been longing for.
However, things do not usually work out: we fall off the wagon trying to resemble someone because in reality it is too much effort to work against our nature by seeking to be someone else. That person exercises for 1 hour daily ? He or she reads only classical masterpieces of literature that he or she somehow manages to read every week ? I mean, do not get me wrong, if that is what they want, good for them. But is it what you truly want ?
Instead of asking yourself who you want to become, rather think about what version of yourself you want to be. It is all in your hands. By shifting your way of thinking and actually giving yourself a chance, you will see far more progress and be far happier than if you had managed to be the exact replica of someone you are not.
Why is that ? Because by exploring your true likes and dislikes, by listening to your undeniable passions you will thrive without effort. All you need to do is to accept that you might not be made for working out 1h a day, especially if you already work 60h a week ; that you might prefer reading thrillers instead of Dostoyevsky ; that you feel better wearing flats and sneakers rather than high heels every day. And the wisdom of accepting all that is realizing that it does not mean you will never do a 1 hour long workout, or read Dostoyevsky or wear high heels.
What works for others might not work for your because we all are different from one another, with distinct dreams and aspirations. In fact, the truth is, we all look up to someone else we deem better than us until we realize that we don’t have to put ourselves down like that.
Discovering what you are really interested in is a long process and it might not come easily to everyone at all. Identify what you like to do during your spare time, like what you did as a child as I talked about in a previous article. What do you wish to achieve in a few years, just because you want to, and not because someone else is doing it ? Ask yourself the correct questions and you will get the appropriate answers.
Once you have identified your interests, now is the time to embrace who you are, because you are finally on the right path to actually be able to improve yourself. Now you are actually aware and mindful of your inner self, and chances are that if you are willing to invest some time and effort in your passions, life will help you along the way (you can read more about this in my article about the law of attraction by clicking here!)
You are the key of your own empowerment. That does not mean that people cannot help you, on the contrary, they can even be helpful in pointing out what you are good at, what your strengths are ; that does not mean either that you cannot find inspiration in someone else, just know the boundary between what will help you and what will not. Being the key of your own empowerment simply means that you are the only person in charge of your personal development and your happiness through the choices you make and the way you decide to think.
Nothing is set in stone. And when you finally get on the path to know yourself, this will be the beginning of all personal wisdom.