By: Keyshawn Duran
Knowing ourselves is incredibly important if we are to be psychologically healthy and to get the most out of life. To know yourself is to know what you really feel about certain topics, to be aware of your weaknesses and foibles, and to know what you want out of life. Often these things can elude us though if we aren’t prone to introspection and if we haven’t been given the right tools to explore our minds. Here we will look at some of the ways you can learn more about yourself.
Sometimes all it takes to know ourselves better is a little quiet time to think. You can use this to think on a range of topics and ask yourself questions to see what your beliefs really are. This might be something straight-forward but huge in scope (‘do I think there’s life after death?’) or something smaller and more personal (‘what things would I change about my life?’). Simply thinking on these topics though can tell you a lot either way.
Another form of reflection is called ‘mindfulness’. Mindfulness is a form of meditation in which you don’t try to ‘quiet’ your thoughts, but rather try to listen to them and let them flow naturally. Sit quietly and let your mind take you wherever it wants to go, and then just watch your thoughts float past ‘like clouds’. You’ll find that this way you see the things that are really on your mind and this can be very insightful.
There are a range of different exercises you can use to learn more about yourself. One of these is to write your own eulogy. Here you imagine that you have died, and that someone is giving a speech at your funeral. The idea is to write the ideal eulogy you would like someone to give, and that means thinking about what you want your lasting legacy to be. Do you want to be remembered as an innovator? Or a family man/woman? Once you know this, you can better decide how to live your life and recognize what’s important to you.
Another one is to imagine that someone you know or love is sitting in a chair opposite you, and then to tell them everything you really would want to say to them without fear of repercussion. This can be highly cathartic and you may be surprised by what comes out.
Having someone who is paid to listen to you and to guide you though can be more effective still. An obvious way to learn more about yourself is just to talk with a counsellor or a psychologist. Talk to a psychotherapist for instance, and they will help you to plunder the depths of your unconscious mind, and to excavate buried memories, thoughts and feelings.
Other professionals can also help. For instance if you speak to a psychic, then you’ll find they are able to give you hints about your likely future based on their intuition and techniques, and that your reactions to this alone can be highly informative.
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