Know Thyself, admonished the ancient Greeks, failing, however to provide instructions on how to do it.
Of course they meant the inner self, the true self, the one that’s hiding underneath all the masks, beliefs and neuroses that we call our personality.
How does one get to know oneself and why should one bother?
The answer to the ‘why?’ is simple: happiness.
You cannot achieve authentic long-lasting happiness until you truly and clearly see, know, understand, value and honour yourself.
All the ‘stuff’ in the world, all the luxury, fame and fortune will at best provide temporary distractions. You cannot escape yourself.
So ask yourself this question: Do I really, really, really know, understand value and honour myself?
If the answer is ‘yes’, congratulations and please go spread the love.
If ‘no’, keep reading.
The answer to the ‘how?’ is complicated and can be different for different people.
The first step, however, is the same for everyone: self-examination.
What are your values, beliefs, hopes, dreams and heartaches in all areas of your life?
Have you ever looked at the entirety of yourself, as opposed to focusing on particular aspects?
Have you ever spread the content of your mind in front of you like a map and looked at it?
I have, and it is by far the best thing I ever done for myself.
Having taken everything out of my head and neatly arranged it in a thick binder, I felt like a huge load was taken off my shoulders.
It gave me an opportunity to look at the whole of what makes me – me.
I was able to look at all the various parts of my life together and prioritize them – consciously, deliberately.
No more circular thinking. No more anxiety that life is passing me by.
I no longer feel at the mercy of circumstances when it comes to what I’m thinking.
I gained some measure of control over the thoughts in my head. For the most part, anyway.
The result of it all is that I’m now able to look at myself and others with peace, calmness and compassion.
I feel genuinely content, even if my life is less than ideal by common standards.
I’m beginning to recognise the wisdom of ‘Know Thyself’.
Although I still have a ways to go in that department, I offer help to others who wish to go through the same process I went through.
I devised a system, called MyLifePlanner, which divides life into four major areas: SELF, FAMILY, WORK and MONEY.
Self is all about you – mind, body and spirit, Family is about your loved ones, Work is about your life’s work or your legacy, and Money is about your finances.
In each of these areas, the system leads you through a structured process of eliciting your values, your hopes and dreams, your ideas, goals and plans.
Completing this elicitation process will provide you with a comprehensive view, which will allow you to consciously evaluate your priorities. That, in turn, will help you create a complete manual for a focused, disciplined and balanced approach to managing all areas of your life.
You’ll end up having a neatly structured repository for the content of your mind – one you can instantly refer to, update and add to, and use it as a roadmap to achieving what you want in life – be that health, wealth, great relationships, enlightenment or simply peace.