Know Yourself

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines
the course of your life.” ~ Proverbs 4:23
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If you could start over in life, what would you do differently? As a former life coach, I often asked my clients this question. The answer they gave would always provide a key to their current problem.

Most likely, you’ve heard the saying that hindsight is better than foresight. But what if foresight could work just as well as hindsight? What if there were a way to know what path to choose before choosing a path? The good news is, there is!

What is that way? It is the way of self-awareness.  Self-awareness is the ability to know what questions to ask yourself to discover what you need to know about yourself.  Self-awareness is being conscious of what is going on inside you. But here’s the rub: self-awareness requires the help of God and the help of others to reveal yourself to yourself.

If we depend only on ourselves to know ourselves, then we will end up deceived. Why? Because we can’t see the whole picture about ourselves from our vantage point. 

Did you ever hear the story about the men who were asked to describe an elephant?  Each man saw a different part of the elephant and described it accordingly.  Each response was very different.  So different, in fact, that their descriptions didn’t even sound as though they were describing an elephant!

So, how can you know yourself enough to make the right choices for your life before the fact? How can you turn hindsight into foresight? Here are a few keys that worked well with my clients:

1) Pray. Always invite God into the equation. After all, He made you, and no one knows you as He does. If you ask God to show you you, He will. He may not show you all at once, but He will show you over time.

2) Ask family and friends to describe you. Others often see in us what we cannot see in ourselves–both good and bad. Be open to the insights your family and friends give you. They usually have your best interests at heart.

3) Listen to your heart. Some of my clients struggled with finding their life purpose because they were afraid to listen to their heart. Your heart will speak to you if you allow it to do so. Don’t be afraid.  Yes, your heart may tell you something you don’t want to hear–like, that potential marriage partner isn’t for you. But deep down, if you are honest with yourself, you knew that all along.

And here’s a bonus tip: The better you get to know God, the better you will know yourself. It may sound strange, but it’s true. You are made in God’s image, and as you learn who He is, you will learn who you are.

In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Polonius spoke these powerful words that still resonate through time: “This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.”  When you know yourself, you will be honest with yourself, and when you are honest with yourself, you will be honest with everyone else.

Questions: 1) What is your biggest barrier to self-awareness? 2) How do you plan to overcome that barrier? You may leave a comment by clicking here. To receive these blog posts in your emailbox, please click here.
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Copyright 2015 by MaryAnn Diorio, PhD.  All Rights Reserved.