The following is a short excerpt from the book….
Who Are You?
“He who knows others is learned; He who knows himself is wise.”
~ Lao Tzu, father of Taoism
Trying to understand others when we don’t understand ourselves is quite difficult. That is, how can we put ourselves in someone else’s perspective if we can’t do that for ourselves? How can we improve the way we appear to others if we have no understanding of ourselves?
I concede we can never completely understand ourselves or others. The human psyche is vastly complex and ever changing.
Call it what you want, enlightenment, self-awareness, personal insight, the names aren’t as important as the concept.
I know beyond any doubt that the more I study and consider myself, my feelings, and how I process my perceptions, the clearer the world becomes to me and the easier it is to understand my own thoughts and reactions. Is my view of the world clear yet? Of course not. I have days that are cloudy, just like everyone. However, there are fewer cloudy days than I used to have.
It is not uncommon that Nerd-to-English Gaps exist within each of us. That is, if we are not paying attention, our own cognitive distortions create huge gaps of understanding between us and the reality around us.
“Our own cognitive distortions create huge gaps of understanding between us and the reality around us.”
One key to understanding ourselves is to let go of the fear of who we are and what others may think about us. This is hard and it takes work. It requires we understand our own automatic thoughts and prevent them from working against us. While challenging, progress comes from continually looking at ourselves with the honest intent, not to be right but rather to be better.
Another key is the ability to listen to others who trust us enough to tell us what they see when they look at us. Appreciate this candor and embrace it. I even encourage it by explicitly and cheerfully giving people permission to tell me if they think I’m wrong.
Whether I agree with the response, I usually learn something, and sometimes it is something important and useful.
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