Some people don’t have any use for the ancient advice, “know thyself.” They see it as self-evident and wonder how anyone could not know who they are, but something about the phrase brought you here and I’m glad it did!
It’s an idea that’s lingered around the peripheries of my life for a long time and I slowly began to see that in many ways it matters more than I ever imagined.
Everywhere we turn people are telling us who we should be, how we should feel, and what we should think, as if we should all be the same. On the internet and in real life some of the things people say and do can make us feel terrible.
Of course, it’s true some of us are not the most thoughtful people in the world, and maybe we haven’t been able to forgive someone and don’t see why it matters. Maybe we like our quiet spaces, only have a few close friends, and are not the life of the internet, so we wonder, “Perhaps there are some things we could change, but what, and how much?”
The claims many people make about “who we are or who we should be” go even deeper. Some people suggest that the degree of kindness we express is a reflection of our spiritual nature and that if we constantly express our love to everyone we’ll reap immense benefits. Others tell us that if we’re not the right kind of people we will destroy our lives and the possibility of being accepted by God when we die.
As you can probably tell I’m not an outgoing, service-oriented person who is constantly sharing messages about being kind, loving, and happy.* Of course those are good things for some people, but we’re inundated with the idea that everyone should either be that way all of the time or that should be everyone’s goal. But I’ve discovered information and experienced a number of events that have shown me that our differences are important, and instead of trying to tell everyone to be the same, I believe we should seek understanding.
When we increase our understanding of human nature and our life journeys, we begin to see that there are many different kinds of goodness. It becomes easier to love and forgive others. We can be more supportive of people as they work through various types of challenges because we start to see that many events serve some kind of purpose.
On the other side of things, when we increase our understanding of people’s motivations and the methods they use to try to tell us we’re not okay, that we need to change, we can stand up for ourselves and our decisions, even if only for ourselves.
I believe that everyone has been created just the way they are for a reason. I believe the information we share will help everyone find peace with everything and everyone in their lives — from the nature of who we are and who we long to become, to the people who are suggesting that we should stop thinking the things we are thinking and doing the things we are doing because they think they know what’s best for everyone.
I created a Facebook group called Books Everyone Should Read to Know Thyself (& Others)! It is a small group and more like a reference page right now, but I hope it will become more active. Please feel free to join and check out the books listed so far, and feel free to share books that have helped you get to know yourself and others!