How well do you know yourself?

 Knowing yourself at a deeper level, is the only way to live authentically. 

Nowadays, many people struggle with issues related to self-worth and self-esteem.  Throughout my clinical practice with clients, I have noticed multiple times, how people tend to struggle when asked: ‘Who are you?’

If you are one of those people who struggle with this question, then this article is for you.  Why is it so important to know who you are?  Knowing yourself at a deeper level, is the only way to live authentically.  Living authentically leaves us feeling happy and free.  So how and why do so many people struggle with this?

As many things concerning our psychological health, the root of the problem may often be found in childhood. Dr Gabor Mate put it very simply and accurately when saying that humans have two basic needs – Attachment (to be able to connect with others) and Authenticity (to know ourselves at a deeper level, acknowledging how we feel and what interests us, and then behave in a way that aligns with both).

So how do these two concepts relate to one another?

As children, we completely depend on our parents/ caregivers for survival.  Therefore, if we are upset and cry, and our parents/caregivers try to stop us by saying things like: “Stop crying!” or “Stop being so sensitive” as children, we suppress our emotions and ‘behave’ so as not to lose our attachment with our parents. In order to survive.  As a child, it’s easier to sacrifice our authenticity than to lose our attachment with our caregivers/ parents. 

Unfortunately, this doesn’t stop in childhood.  Once we get used to operating in this manner, this mechanism is carried with us into adulthood, even though it would no longer be serving its purpose. As an adult, you might accept to do things that you don’t want to do, or attend events you don’t want to attend, all because you’re used to prioritising attachment over authenticity.  Or maybe you could be struggling to set boundaries with people who leave you feeling unheard and unworthy; once again, prioritising attachment over authenticity.

So how can you get to know yourself?

First and foremost remember that you are worthy of love, kindness, acceptance.   Also focus on becoming aware of yourself – your likes, dislikes, thoughts, feelings and emotions.  Recognise what ticks you off, what helps you feel fulfilled, what comforts you.  The more you get to know yourself, the more you can create the life that you deserve.  A good place to start would be to reflect on your past and try to remember what you used to enjoy as a child.  More often than not, going back to your roots will lead you to your authentic self.

Moreover, it’s helpful to avoid any distractions, such as social media.  In today’s world, social media is constantly bombarding us with ideas on how we should look or how we should behave or what we should possess.  Don’t let this distract you from getting to know the real you.  Only you can know who you truly other – other’s people perception of you is only that – a perception.

In the end, we always learn new things about ourselves as we grow and change as life unravels.  Treat yourself with kindness and get to know the awesome you!

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