The more you know yourself, the more patience you have for what you see in others.” – Erik Erikson
Knowing who you are is a very crucial aspect of healing yourself. How can you avoid a disaster if you are simply floating through life with no clear sense of what you stand for, and what you refuse to tolerate?
There is a reason why the small town girl with big dreams, who gets to the big city, often ends up in some miserable and dare I say, compromising, situation. Think too of the unhappy Doctor who is only a Doctor because his parents decided that he needed to become the first Doctor in their family. What about the hen picked mama’s boy who dates a girl he cannot stand because it makes his mother happy?
These three have a lot in common. Their problem can be explained in the old saying that points out that if we do not know where we are going, any road will be the right one. And better yet, ‘if we do not stand for something, we will fall for anything.’ In other words, if we do not understand ourselves, this includes our hopes, dreams, and aspirations it will be easy for just about anyone to push us into a decision we will regret for the rest of our lives.
Living down a choice you regret, especially if you have to face its consequences on a daily basis, is going to be one of the hardest things you have ever had to do. Living with the burden of these choices is part of the reason many people are so bitter and unkind. This is not the way I want you to navigate through your life.
When we take the time to understand who we truly are, the intricacies of our own personalities, we will have the keys to unlock our true potential. You cannot become your best self if you do not know what that entails. When you understand yourself, you are more likely to end up choosing a career that you love. And it is quite easy to be passionately driven to achieve great things when you are pursuing a career that you love.
Additionally, when you are at the top of your game, you will seek out the kind of partners and friends that will make you happy and thus bring out the best in you. They will understand the way you think and may very well think the same way you do too. These are the kind of people who will not laugh at your dreams or be jealous of your success. Being surrounded by loving, supportive people, will make you a kinder, happier and dare I say, more successful person.
Individuals who have a deep understanding of themselves, are often more decisive and optimistic. That is because these individuals are in full control of their life choices and they chose well. They are more likely to see opportunities where others see setbacks. It also takes far less effort to be productive when you enjoy what you do. Additionally, the fact that you enjoy your career will give you a competitive edge and you will not depend on the praise of others for motivation. The satisfaction of a job well done will keep you pushing forward.
I know that these may seem like ideal circumstances, where our choices are not dependent on the desires of our family and where we are all strong enough not to succumb to the pressure they will put on us to make a certain decision. But believe me, knowing and truly understanding yourself will open doors to opportunities you would have never seen coming otherwise. It will be easier for you to stand up to the pressures around you when you know without a doubt what the right decision for you will be.
I am not encouraging you to shrug your responsibilities of providing for your family, I am encouraging you to understand who you are and be true to who you are at all times. You will be much happier as a result, and far easier to love, when you are not carrying the heavy weight of a bad decision around for the rest of your life.
How to Get to Know Yourself
This is easier said than done, but it is not impossible. You can start with some objective assessment. This does not mean simply asking the people around what they think of you. Your interactions with them, whether negative or positive, will prevent them from being as objective as you need them to be.
A better option would be making use of a reputable personality test. One of the popular options is the Myers-Briggs Personality type test. This test will determine which of the 16 personality types of this theory best describes who you are. It has gained popularity in recent times because its results can be used to determine the environment you work best in and even how you interact with the people around you. Plus whether you like the results or not they tend to be surprisingly accurate.
Career aptitude tests are another great option. These are designed to help you understand your skill better and how you can use these skills to select the right career. It is never too late to start a career that you can love.
Once you have a carefully thought out plan that will allow you to care for your responsibilities and still venture into a field that you love, go for it. It might be a case that money is tight and you are already strapped for time and may not be able to make a move right now. But I would encourage you to continue preparing yourself. Keep learning all that you can about that career online or from the people around you. That way, if the opportunity should arise, you will be in a position to take it.
Written by: Juliana Jonathan