Knowing Yourself as the Hero and the Villain
You need to put effort into finding out who you are. Knowing yourself is essential.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the last 12 months, it’s that. Finding out who you are, and what makes you tick doesn’t just reveal itself. At least not in immediate and obvious ways. You need to put work in to get that information.
And most of that work will be painful because there are huge parts of us we know are there which we choose to ignore. We ignore them because it’s not nice to accept that there are imperfect parts of ourselves. Yet these parts are as much a part of us as the good attributes, so we must get to a place where we can, at the very least, look upon our flaws and actually see them, rather than pretend they do not exist.
Why is this important? Well if you know as much of yourself as possible, both the good and the bad parts, then there is nothing that will surprise you. There is no behaviour of yours that will shock you because you understand what you are capable of. And this knowledge of yourself will reduce your capacity for regret and shame, because when you know who are, you are more likely to act in line with this version of yourself. When you can actually aim at a target you are more likely to hit it than you are if you shoot into the darkness.
Knowing yourself also brings clarity. The clutter of life, and that what-ifs, and the comparisons all dwindle in the shadow of knowing as much of yourself as possible. Insecurities fall away once you accept the parts of yourself which you may not like, which means there is less capacity for insecure thought and behaviour. When you know who you are, your path in life will also reveal itself, because you will be less likely to try and fit in. When you are comfortable with yourself, trying to be like other people is no longer appealing, which means you will stop acting in order to gain validation from people you do not know.
Really understanding yourself takes time and energy and a lot of hard truths. It takes looking deep into your past to try and make sense of why you have done the things you’ve done. It means accepting yourself as both the hero and the villain in a variety of contexts.
You have been good, but this doesn’t mean you are good. You have been bad, but this doesn’t mean you are bad. You are both.
When we hide from this truth, when we refuse to believe our dichotomy, then our minds are in turmoil and this can cause anxiety and repression and depression. If we refuse to believe there are bad parts of ourselves then we are appalled when we do bad things. If we refuse to believe there is good in us, then we will never accept our accomplishments, and we will never feel worthy or good enough.
There is good and bad in all of us. Understanding that and working on knowing ourselves is fundamental to finding peace within ourselves. fi we can find this peace, we will no longer be distracted by the war raging inside, and then we can turn our attention to helping others do the same.